Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I’ve been buying wine for 20 years. The wines have been stored properly (I hope), but it’s mostly a random assortment of bottles. What is the best way to sort it out to make sense of it all and determine value? And once a value is determined, how do I go about selling my wine?
—Jeffrey H., Woodbridge, Conn.
Let me be straight with you. Random bottles with uncertain storage histories are not going to have a big market or a high resale value. Not every bottle is collectible, and just because a bottle is rare, unusual or old doesn't necessarily mean it's valuable.
I’d start with Wine Spectator’s Auction Price Database, which tracks the most collectible wines. If you think you have a gem, you can look for a buyer by contacting wine merchants, the producer of the wine or an auction house. Auction houses will want documentation of how the wine was stored, and they prefer to deal with larger collections rather than individual bottles, which generally aren't worth their time.
Through the magic of the Internet, you might also find some person-to-person wine-auction sites. It might be difficult to sell your first couple of bottles until you get some feedback as a reputable seller. And be careful, as some liquor laws stipulate that individuals can’t sell wines without the proper permit.