Stephanie Dandridge's Tips for Successfully Navigating the Sotheby's Wine and Spirit Auction

Stephanie Moss Dandridge  |  May 17, 2023

Market Trends

Stephanie Dandridge's Tips for Successfully Navigating the Sotheby's Wine and Spirit Auction

Selecting the right wine for a meal can complement the flavors of your favorite cut of beef or bring out the subtle tastes of a seafood dish, but more and more people are discovering that the most exquisite wine pairings are those that enhance and embolden their investment portfolios.
But buying wine as a financial strategy? Adding fine wines provides diversity to your investment portfolio that will put a smile on your financial advisor’s face. This is because he understands that the wine market operates independently of the stock market and because the trade is global, inflation is less keenly felt here. Wines, unlike stocks, which rise and fall with the economy, are impacted by growing and harvesting conditions, quantity, and quality of the vintage, and collector demands. Fine wine ages well in portfolios, as its value remains high even when the overall stock market contracts.
As Jamie Ritchie, Sotheby’s Global Head of Wines, observes, “For wines limited in supply by the size of the vineyards and appellations, such as the great wines of Burgundy or Bordeaux, it’s logical that the price will continue to increase over time.”

Why choose Sotheby’s?

For more than 275 years, Sotheby’s has been developing and fine-tuning its reputation as the world’s foremost resource for art, spirits, and luxury items. As a result, they bring together the most expansive network of field experts, collectors, investors, and consignors in the world, with a team that spans forty countries.
Exquisite taste and industry-leading knowledge set Sotheby’s apart, and the results speak for themselves. In ten years’ time, their Single Owner Wine Auctions have garnered $347 million in sales. Each product is carefully researched for its quality and condition, and the full history of the product is readily available.
Sotheby’s offers professional, fully-insured, climate-controlled storage facilities which are readily available for clients and make it simple to manage your investment virtually.
They also offer a concierge service with discreet experts who can research and locate the specific products you want to add to your cellar. They offer insights and counsel about the soundness of your investment and provide recommendations that will help you maximize your portfolio.

How does Sotheby’s Wine and Spirit Auction work?

Thanks to the conveniences of modern technology, one does not have to live near or travel to one of the auction houses located in London, Hong Kong, or New York, in order to participate. Sotheby’s Wine and Spirit Auctions take place online, enabling you to preview offerings at your convenience, conduct the necessary research, and strategize your bidding.

George Lacey, head of Sotheby’s auction sales in London, touts the residual benefits of forced online operation during Covid,  “Before Covid, everything was happening in the room or through literal sheets of paper with advance bids on them. Now we know how to get to the heart of what customers want in terms of user experience, whether they are in the room, on a beach in Hawaii, or in an office in Shanghai.”

Necessity has once again proven to be the mother of invention, and Sotheby’s offers a variety of options for their auction clients. Begin by creating an online account. This process must be completed twenty-four hours in advance of any auction you wish to join. With your account successfully established, you have a variety of options as to how you bid.

  • In-person: In the classic approach to attending an auction, you use a paddle to indicate your desire to bid as the auctioneer calls out the going price for a particular bottle or case.
  • Over the phone: A Sotheby’s representative will be assigned to bid for you, and when it is time for your desired item to be bid upon, the agent will call you, and you can place a bid in real-time through this agent.
  • Online: Place a confidential bid before the auction begins. You will be able to monitor the progress of the auction as it takes place and adjust your bid if needed.
  • Absentee: You provide a bidding cap with a Sotheby’s representative in advance. The representative will then place bids for you until the limit is reached. Should your bid win, Sotheby’s will be in touch.
Once the auction is completed, Sotheby’s offers full-service and fully insured packing and shipping services. The security of your investment is their top priority, and they will go to great lengths to make sure your purchase is protected from the elements and hazards of transport.

Which is better…direct sale or auction?

For international auctioneer Charles Anton, selling by auction is the best route. “An auction takes advantage of the competitive nature of an enormous buyer base. For example, with [the] Burgundy market hot now, anyone consigning their rare Burgundies is selling into a rising market.”

He also points out the circumstances under which a direct sale may prove advantageous. “If time is of the essence and you’re comfortable with settling on a firm price, a direct sale may be the best choice.”

It really comes down to your sales goals and timeline for achieving them.

Developing your investment savvy

Whether you are a fledgling wine investor or an experienced connoisseur, staying abreast of the wine production process, the features of various vintages and new developments in the wine trade will make you a better investor. Jamie Ritchie recommends the following as invaluable additions to your personal library:

  • Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
  • Wine Spectator
  • The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia by Tom Stevenson
  • Inside Bordeaux: The Chateaux, Their Wines and the Terroir by Jane Anson
  • Inside Burgundy by Jasper Morris
You’ll also want to take advantage of Sotheby’s Wine Indices. The data provided will enable you to trace trends and compare investment values since 2005.

Build a stronger financial future

As you seek stable and profitable investments, you can count on the company that facilitates fifty-four percent of global wine sales, and they are leading the way in engaging the next generation of wine investors. Currently, seventy-five percent of Sotheby’s new buyers are under the age of fifty. There’s never been a better time to begin- or expand- your wine and spirit portfolio.
Stephanie Dandrige understands how important wise investments and diversification are for your peace of mind and a secure financial future. If you’d also like to learn more about investment opportunities in real estate, give her a call today.

Stephanie Moss Dandridge

Stephanie Moss Dandridge

Luxury Real Estate Expert

About The Author

Fluent in five languages and with a background in Contracts and Law, a BS in Marketing, an MBA, and a MIM in International Marketing and Diplomatic Relations, Stephanie has elevated her business to an elite class of Real Estate professionals.
Counting among her clients numerous distinguished business and community leaders. Specializing in luxury oceanfront, waterfront, Intracoastal, and golf communities, she is trusted with the most exclusive properties in Brevard County due to her deep connections with the area.
Stephanie is skilled in developing rapport, trust, and open communications with everyone she works with. Consistently breaking records for the highest sales year after year, Stephanie is a critical asset in putting buyers and sellers together.

Work With Stephanie

Stephanie's extensive knowledge and connections in the Melbourne area have resulted in record-breaking sales year after year. Whether you are buying or selling, Stephanie provides the highest level of service possible and will help you get top value.