Q: I have an Opus One vertical (1996, 1997, 1998) in 6-liter bottles, properly cellared. Would there be a market for such a vertical and an estimated price? I also have a six-bottle vertical (from 1997 to 2002) in the 750ml size. The wines are packaged in a wooden Phelps six-bottle box. —Bob Higney, Leawood K.S.
A: Normally, the auction expert decides how to package mixed lots of wine, or whether to sell them individually. There's no harm in asking, especially with regards to your 6-liter bottles. Bear in mind that horizontals and verticals occasionally sell at a discount to the value of the individual bottles—just one of those quirks of auctions. As to the individual prices, according to the Wine Spectator auction database, in the second quarter of 2008, a 6-liter bottle (called an imperial) of Opus One 1997 had a value of $1,800, up 8 percent from the previous quarter. The price for an imperial of 1996 was unchanged from the previous quarter at $1,560. There are no current prices in the database for the 1998. The six bottles of Opus in 750ml format (1997-2002) have a combined value of $1,119 (the highest price is $231 for the 1997 and the lowest is $156 for the 1998). If you plan to sell these wines, I would take them out of the Phelps box to avoid confusion.
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