Top Five vintage wine buying tips

Dick Burge is wine consultant to Sworders Auctioneers. His next Fine Wine and Port sale is on 1st December, where the stars are two Lots of Domaine Romanée-Conti, being five magnums of La Tâche Monopole, 1991, estimated together at £10,000-15,000, and ten bottles of Richebourg, 1991, estimated at £3000-6000. Here he shares his tips for buying vintage drinks in time for the festive season.


  1. A great Christmas present. Bordeaux prices fell for three years, but have been stable for the last year. However, the quality of the wine remains the same, so if you are buying to drink or as a gift, there are some fantastic bargains to be had.
  2. Vintage port may have a bit of an out-of date image, but it has been performing well in the past year or two. It may be worth laying down a case after all.
  3. Champagne, Burgundy, Italy and Rhône have attracted a lot of attention globally and are still capable of healthy returns. Top Californian wines have increased enormously and I feel that this increase must slow down.
  4. In general, wine attracts no capital gains tax as it is seen as a deteriorating or wasting asset with an expected shelf life of less than 50 years. Port is another question, however.
  5. For private buyers’ Christmas consumption, I strongly recommend looking at our mixed wine lots as the vast majority of our sales go into the wine trade and generally merchants are interested in whole cases or high quality single bottles.

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