How to store wine for investment

Wine collecting has been a hobby for hundreds of years, but more recently fine wine has been recognised as a genuine investment opportunity, a fact proved by the 234% rise in fine wine investment in the 10 years up to 2015.

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The wine investment industry is no longer an exclusive club of mega-wealthy individuals, but is open to anyone with the passion, capital (experts suggest starting with an investment of around £10,000) and knowledge are all that is needed to invest in fine wine.

We know that buying and selling wine requires the expertise and knowhow of a professional wine merchant or experienced investor, however storing the wine once you purchase it is just as important if you want to preserve both the taste and value of your burgeoning fine wine collection.

Why storing investment wine properly is so important

Although different wines are more in demand than others, the most important thing to look for in investment wine is not the type, the country or even the age, it’s the quality. Storing properly will get the most out of your wine, not just in taste but in value. Of course rarity influences value, but few investors will choose to pay for a badly stored bottle of wine.

Wine quality will deteriorate if not stored for in the right conditions. When buying wine to sell as an investment, this can be dangerous, as it will lower the wine’s value. For example the wine could form flaky crystals if kept too cold, if you store your wine somewhere too hot it will mature too quickly and you’ll have to sell it quickly.

Storing fine wine in bonded warehouses

Wine investment experts strongly suggest using professionals to store wine. Professional wine storage facilities take care of all the security, climate control and loss prevention considerations essential for long-term wine storage.

If you’ve purchased your wine in bond, your wine must be stored in a HM Customs & Excise-approved warehouse. This is important because wine stored in bond are much more attractive to prospective buyers and brokers. The London Wine Cellar suggest buyers prefer buying wine in bond as they can ensure it has been kept in “safe in cellar conditions and at a regular temperature to guarantee its provenance.”

As well as being important for the quality of the wine, wine stored ‘in bond’ is far easier to trace as there are a limited number of bonded warehouses. This will make storing wine safer, however it does mean you’ll have to factor in the cost of storage, which is usually around £12 per case per annum. This may seem expensive, especially if you’re storing a number of cases over a number of years, but the alternative may cost you more in the long run.

Storing wine at home

Although wine experts recommend storing investment wine in professional-ran warehouses, it is possible to store it yourself. Anybody wanting to store their investment wine at home will need to invest in a climate-controlled wine cellar. Spiral cellars can be installed in your home, holding anything up to 1900 bottles. This means you can mature the wine on your property, with prices ranging from £19,140 to £54,960.

However, storing investment wine requires perfect conditions, simply sticking it in the cellar will not suffice. According to Money Crashers, you should never store investment wine in an unfinished basement as the “risk of mold, moisture, and temperature damage is simply too great.” Temperature fluctuation is the biggest threat to the quality of the wine, the perfect temperature of your cellar should be 50°F to 60°F (10°C to 15°C) and 50% to 70% humidity. Wine cellars must be air-tight, as oxygen can harm the wine, as can sunlight.

There are other considerations too. If you’re storing something as expensive as investment wine, you’ll have to consider a high-quality security system. Even the angle of the bottle is important.

You’ll also need to have your wine insured. With all these things considered, storing your wine at home may allow you to keep a closer eye on your collection, but it is arguably less cost-effective.