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Spotlight On: Dominus 1994


John Siudut
Posted: March 14, 2007

The bargain days may be over for Dominus 1994. When the wine scored 94 points upon release in July of 1997, it retailed for $75. After an initial surge in price to $192, it settled in the $140-$180 range from late 1997 until mid 2005. In the past 18 months, however, collector interest has swelled. A six-pack recently sold at Hart Davis Hart's Feb. 3, 2007, auction in Chicago for an average of $319 per bottle and another half-case sold for an average bottle price of $279 at the Acker Merrall & Condit auction on Feb. 24, 2007.

Rising prices have brought more wine to the market. Since the beginning of 2004, the 1994 vintage has become the most-traded Dominus vintage in the commercial auction circuit. 297 750ml bottles swapped hands in the second half of last year, and 92 have been sold at auctions in the first two months of 2007 alone. That's nearly 50 percent more than the number of bottles sold of the 1991, the vintage with the second-highest volume, and almost four-times more than the 1990.

In a retrospective tasting in 2004, senior editor James Laube rated the wine 91 points and estimated the drinking window would remain open until 2009. With the price hovering in the $300 range, however, collectors with the 1994 in their cellars might consider unloading some bottles at a profit. Dominus enthusiasts priced out by the recent escalation should look to the 1997 (93 points), currently trading at $156, or the 1999 (95), which is currently trading at $105, for better value.

This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. This chart plots the average price of Dominus 1994 sold at commercial auctions from the third quarter of 1997 until the first quarter of 2007.

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