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Dear Dr. Vinny,
I am a high-school senior participating in a scholarship. I would love your expert advice on this before I continue on my presumptions. The question is, “In 200 years from now, your descendants will dig up an item that you buried, and the item’s value will be so much higher that it would relieve them from economic stress.” The only rule is that it must be $500 or less and purchasable in stores. Would it be possible to bury wine, so that in 200 years the value of the wine will have increased dramatically and can be sold as a great investment? I’m looking at challenges such as practicality and keeping the value of wine (preventing it from becoming stale and worthless).
—Alexander R., New York
You might be on the right track. It’s certainly possible to bury a bottle of wine and expect it to be in good shape in 200 years.
Some quibbles are worth pointing out, however. The first big one is that not every single bottle of wine is going to increase in value—in fact, the vast majority of them will not. Without a crystal ball, it’s pretty tough guessing what’s going to be a big seller in 200 years. I suppose there’s a chance everyone will be eating wine in pill form and anything liquid will be valuable, but otherwise you’d need to be more strategic.
Today, high-end Bordeaux and Burgundies have some of the best reputations at auction, as do some California cult wines. A bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti sold for $123,899, and a Château Lafite made history with its $233,972 price tag. Our Collecting section has more examples of wines that have shown the potential to become investments.
Therein lies another quibble. Most of these wines do well in auctions because there’s some documentation of how the wine was stored, and typically auction houses prefer to deal with larger collections rather than individual bottles. I’m not sure how an auction house would feel 200 years from now about your descendants digging up a bottle and presenting it for sale.
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