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How to make money from wine

It's the tastiest stock market in town

How to make money from wine
25 October 2010

Much like oil, gold and first editions of Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel, wine is a commodity that won’t wobble in the face of a dour financial climate. “The wine market was only in the recession for 6 months and is very healthy at the moment,” reveals Tom Portet, chief UK wine maker for Penfolds. And if you’re interested in making some moves in the wine market, we’ve got Mr Portet to tell you exactly how to make that profit.

1. Do your research

Sample a lot of wines and get a taste of what fine wins are. You need to know what the major brands are and where the best vines are. You’ll need to be able to list a variety of wines from various regions. You don’t need to jet off to Italy or France, though. The UK is one of the best places to buy wine in the world. Talk to specialists instead of brand representatives as they often have more passion and can offer a more honest opinion.

2. Red wine makes better investments

Red wines tend to last longer so there’s more chance of turning profit. Great white wine does last a long time but reds on the market go to 50 years plus. Speculate to accumulate is a good thing to remember, the more you spend the more likely you to make good money. Penfolds Grange is the perfect investment right now, it's Australia’s most iconic wine. Penfolds also offer re-corking clinics where an expert will take a look at your wine and check its progress; this even adds value to it.

3. Presentation is everything

You’ve got to store it correctly. The cellar should be a dark, cool space where the bottles are in a constant state and there’s no change in temperature. A static look is vital. If Christie’s are valuing it you need to show that it hasn’t moved in a while. Throw some dust on the bottle if you have to!

4. Follow what the critics say

Critics have an awful lot of power and if they get behind something then their readers will go out and source the line and then the price will inevitably go up, so you can make proper cash from that. Trends are crucial; the art is picking something up cheap and seeing its popularity rise.

5. Play the stock market

Investing in wine is the same as playing the stock market; you need an idea of what the prices are and what people are paying for your bottle. Become familiar with, it tells you what is up and what is down. is pretty good, too.

6. Wine doesn’t always get better with age

Wine is a living thing. And like a talented footballer, people are willing to pay above price when it’s young because they know when it matures it’s going to be worth that initial investment. But eventually it’s going to go down. To get a decent age depends on the wine: if you use the best vineyards or producers it could last 100 years plus.

7. And if you’re looking to invest in a vineyard…

You want a vineyard with a Mediterranean climate and little autumn rainfall. Most importantly, the roots have to have had 15 years to settle into the ground - that’s what’s needed for fine wine quality. For profit you’re going to have to go to the new world, places like Australia, because the prices in the top European spots - what we call the Grand Cru - have extremely high prices.

Iconic businessman Greg Dyke will be sharing the secrets of his success and talking more about his vintage year at the Penfolds’ Vintage Years event on 2nd November at The Hospital Club, London at 7pm. His talk will be followed by a wine tasting from the makers’ of Australia’s most iconic wine, Penfolds Grange. To share successful vintages in business and wines at the event, register for a ticket at [email protected]