Q: In 2006, I purchased a futures contract for a full case of 2005 Chateau Margaux in magnum format for investment purposes. My wine storage facility picked up the case from the dealer and told me that it would seriously deflate the value if they opened the banded original wood case to inspect and take bottle photos. Is this true?
A: According to Jamie Ritchie, head of Sotheby's North American wine auction department, the plastic bands that many Bordeaux chateaux are recently placing on their wooden cases are not to be confused with the metal bands employed by Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and do not materially add value. He says that it's more important to inspect your wine to evaluate condition and to ensure there are no signs of seepage, etc. "At Sotheby's we put a premium on pristine condition—not bands."
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