Whether you’ve just inherited an entire cellar’s worth of fine Bordeaux from a grandparent, or you’re a budding wine investor wondering what to do with your first few bottles, selling wine from home is the most convenient way to profit from a wine collection. However, selling wine isn’t as easy as throwing a few photos up on an auction website and shipping the bottle off in a cardboard box to the highest bidder. There are strict laws governing who is and isn’t allowed to sell wine online, and most of the time, the average investor isn’t legally allowed to do so.
But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to sell wine from home. There are convenient (and legal) options for wine investors looking to profit from their bottles. In this guide, you’ll learn the simplest and most reliable way to sell wine from home so you can start seeing a return on your investment.
Can You Legally Sell Wine From Home?
The legality of selling wine online varies from state to state, but the most important thing for investors to know is that all states ban the sale of wine by unlicensed consumers. Unless you purchase and maintain a liquor license from your state of residence, you cannot legally sell wine from home on your own.
However, getting a liquor license is not going to solve wine investors’ problems. For one thing, the process can be costly and time-consuming. Another hurdle is that some states strictly control who can get licensed. These licenses are primarily designed for wineries, grocery stores, wine shops, or other retailers to sell wine to consumers on a mass scale. They’re not typically meant for someone who inherits a few dozen bottles from a relative or who wants to sell a pristine case of 2018 Château Montrose after it ships from the winery.
Sellers who ignore these strict laws could face hefty fines or worse, depending on the jurisdiction. Selling just one bottle of wine on an auction website without a license is a potential legal land mine. Most postal carriers are also trained to look for illegal wine shipments that aren’t properly licensed or labeled. It’s simply not worth the risk.
This is why most investors opt to sell wine from home legally using a licensed reseller. These resellers have already gone through the process of acquiring the necessary licenses. They will sell your wine for you in exchange for a small fee or percentage of the sale. It’s the safest, most reliable, and only legal way to sell wine from home.
So, if you have a few bottles you’re ready to sell right now, here’s how to do so using a licensed reseller.
The Best Way To Sell Wine from Home
Every reseller has slightly different rules and processes to sell wine from home. In general, here’s how the process works from start to finish:
- Ship to the reseller: You send your wine to the reseller for inspection and processing. The best resellers offer shipping services to make this process seamless. You can even insure the bottles to protect your investments en route to the reseller. This is an especially useful option for new investors or people who have inherited wine and haven’t shipped fragile bottles before.
- The reseller inspects the wine: As a seller, it benefits you to have a reseller carefully inspect your bottles before auctioning them off. That’s because experienced wine collectors are often only willing to pay top dollar for wines they know are authentic and in good condition. The best resellers have a reputation for selling only the finest wines, so they attract some of the industry’s top buyers (which may mean a higher return on your investment). Some of the qualities the best resellers look for in the wine include:
- The ullage (fill level) of the wine inside the bottle
- The condition of the wine label
- Whether the label looks authentic
- The condition of the cork and capsule
- The wine’s coloration
- The reseller prices the wine: Experts on staff appraise the wine based on its condition, current market demand, professional reviews for that vintage, and proprietary data trends. These experts know exactly how much your bottles are worth, which may help you sell wine from home at the highest possible price. Or, you may decide on the price yourself, based on your own research.
- The wine is uploaded to the marketplace: Experts may take professional photographs of the wine. In addition, they’ll often include a detailed description of the wine alongside critic reviews and average scores. From here, buyers can easily find the wine on the website. Experts may even recommend your bottles to specific buyers they know who are interested in that vintage or producer.
- The reseller handles bids and payments: All bids and payment processes go through the reseller’s website. The wine remains in the reseller’s secure storage warehouse until it’s sold.
- The reseller ships the wine to the buyer: Once your wine has sold, the reseller handles all of the shipping details. You then receive your share of the sale.
Although your wine is being sold by a third-party reseller, in practice, it feels like selling wine from home. In fact, it’s even easier. You don’t have to worry about taking photographs, looking up prices, negotiating with buyers, or shipping the wine safely across the country. It’s a convenient way to turn a profit from your wine collection in as few steps as possible.
How To Find a Marketplace for Your Wine
Finding the best reseller for your needs is an important step if you want to sell wine from home. There are two key questions to ask before you decide who to work with:
- What is the reseller’s reach? They should have a stellar reputation in the fine wine industry. Resellers that are invited to exclusive tasting events (like Bordeaux en primeur week) usually fall under this category. The reseller should also have years of experience selling wine and an expansive audience of buyers–for instance, Vinfolio has a base of more than 30,000 direct wine collector contacts. The more reach a seller has, and the greater the reputation, the better.
- What does the reseller charge for its services? While Vinfolio offers its lowest rate of 15 percent, 20-23 percent is more common for white-glove service.
There are three specific options if you want to sell wine from home:
- Self-Service: You have full control over which wines in your collection you choose to sell and when. You don’t have to sell a specific number of bottles and you can leave the bottles up for auction as long as you’d like. When using Vinfolio, any wine that you have stored in our warehouse can be sold immediately with just the click of a button on the VinCellar app. Wines not currently in the warehouse can also be shipped to Vinfolio and put on the marketplace after arrival. With as low as a 15 percent fee, this is a cost-effective and flexible option for investors.
- Consignment: This is the best choice if you want to manage as little of the process as possible or if you’re trying to liquidate a large collection. With this option, everything is handled for you, including the pricing. You also have access to special marketing channels connected to serious wine enthusiasts looking to buy your wine. Vinfolio’s experts can also work with you to ensure your wine sells at a specific pace.
- Full Cellar Acquisition: If you’ve inherited a full cellar of fine wine from someone or you’re simply ready to liquidate your entire collection at once, Vinfolio offers buyout services. This is an ideal option for those who have large collections of in-demand wines like cult California producers, First Growth Bordeaux, and Grand Cru Burgundy. After appraising your wine, Vinfolio will then purchase the entire collection upfront. This is one of the fastest ways to sell wine from home in a single step.
Even if you know next to nothing about fine wine, these services are designed to make the sales process as straightforward as possible. Anyone can sell wine from home legally with the right resources, and this is a great way to dive into the exciting world of wine investing.
Whether you inherited a full cellar or are looking to resell a few bottles, Vinfolio is your partner in selling wine. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine market.