How can I get insurance for my wine collection?

Ask Dr Vinny

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,

How is wine appraised? If I have a bottle of an age-worthy red that is being cellared at a proper temperature, how can I determine its increase in worth after X amount of years? How might I go about having my collection insured?

—Topher, Temple, Texas

Dear Topher,

If you simply want to know what the going rate for a collectible bottle of wine is these days, there are a few places to track that down, including our own wine auction database. But if you want to get your wine collection officially appraised and insured, that’s a bit more complicated.

First off, contact your insurance company and find out what coverage currently exists—many homeowners’ policies may cover theft or fire to some extent. If the value of your wine collection is growing, you might want to get some additional and more specific coverage for breakage, spillage, faulty cellar equipment and/or power outages. Folks who live in places at high risk for earthquakes or floods might also consider specific insurance for their wine. Coverage may even be available for wines in transit to you or for wines stored away from your home.

You should definitely take an inventory of your wine, keep it up to date, and make sure you give those updates to your insurance company. You’re right that if you’re going to get your wines insured, the insurance company will probably want to get them appraised. The insurance company will want you to hire a professional wine appraiser (yes, this is a real job) or an auction house that specializes in wine. Both the appraiser and the insurance company will probably want details to prove you take care of your wine—both your wine storage setup and your alarm system.

Since you sound like you might be looking at your wine at least in part as an investment, I’m going to direct you to my tips for what to expect when you’re reselling wine. An entire collection with well-documented provenance will typically be much more valuable than wines that lack such documentation.

—Dr. Vinny

Collecting Storage Cellars Legal and Legislative Issues Disasters Earthquake Fires Flood Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

If a cork gets pushed into a wine bottle, is the wine ruined?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny puts a reader's fears to rest and offers tips for how to …

May 24, 2019

How do you clean wineglasses to a spot-free, clear shine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for cleaning fine stemware.

May 22, 2019

What does the word “unctuous” mean in a wine tasting note?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the term "unctuous," typically ascribed to …

May 20, 2019

Are collectible wines still collectible after the wine has gone bad?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny talks to Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago about 50-year-old …

May 17, 2019

Why aren't bottles stored on their sides at wine stores?

Wine's Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why wine bottles need to be stored on their …

May 15, 2019

Is there a polite way to tell a winemaker that I'm not enjoying their wines?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny suggests a few etiquette tips for kindly declining an …

May 13, 2019




Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search