Guide to selling wine online in Australia
A brief analysis of secondary market sales channels for selling wine in Australia for private individuals or business charged with
the disposal of assets.
Quick wine valuation
Please email the following:
- Vintage (NOT the bottling year)
- The level of the wine into the neck (wine auction terms).
- The general storage conditions
- A photo of the label and neck if convenient.
where to sell your wine can be a tricky proposition. There are
a number of options (online and otherwise) and each have their positives and negatives.
When it comes time
for you to sell your wine, you want to ensure you get the best price
in the right time frame. If you have rare and valuable wines to sell then you
need to ensure you entrust it to the right place, one that will give you a true
but realistic valuation (nobody likes their time wasted) and
who will have a ready congregation of eager wine enthusiasts and wine lovers
willing to make an offer on it.
How do I sell my wine online?
- Choose from
various private, retail and auction options below for one that best suits you
and your wine. Remember, a bottle valued at $99 needs to find at least one buyer
who is happy to be paying $99+ for a bottle of wine; its no use chasing 100
buyers who only want to pay $9 !
- Send a list of your wine to be valued.
- You will then normally be sent an offer
and a list of reserves. Most places will suggest reserves within 10% of each
other, anything too high or low should be queried.
- If you choose to accept,
they will either arrange to pick up your wine or you can drop it off to them.
- Once it is sold you will get paid, minus any commission that was agreed on.
Where can I sell my wine?
There are a number of channels open to you for selling wine. It is important to
understand how the buyers perceive these sales channels as well.
- Private. The best option if you want to see your prized collection go a good
home and you have the time to offer after sales support (so to speak). Beware of
how you announce your intentions as most social media sites have very strict
rules about selling or promoting alcohol on them, and you may also attract the
attention of the authorities and the tax man.
- Retail. Some corner bottle shops may take your wine on consignment and sell
it in their shop. Just keep in mind that their specialty and market is to sell
current release wine and your bottle may languish on the shelf for some time before it sells and
can cost you as much as 40% commission. Also enquire where they will display your wine, you don't
want it sitting on a warm shelf for months on end.
- EBay and other self service auctions. Because you are selling
direct to the consumer you require a liquor licence or you will find your
listing removed and/or it will be reported to the authorities. You cannot
"borrow" or use another persons liquor licence either, the penalties for which
can be the loss of that persons licence and even criminal prosecution.
- Wine storage facilities. Some wine storage facilities offer to sell your wine
while you store it with them. The prices that are suggested are usually
significantly higher than secondary market prices which can make it hard to find
a buyer in the short term and often leaves your wine sitting in a managed
facility for far longer than you may be comfortable with while you continue to
pay storage, insurance and handling fees.
- Wine Auctions are your best option if you have good quality wine of any
quantity to sell. In Australia, there are only a few traditional, wine-only,
auction houses, such as Wickman’s, whose only business is to sell wine through
auction. General auctioneers may not completely understand the worth of your
wine and typically draw only from a pool of buyers who are looking for
inexpensive, current release wines.
- Location: Unless you live right next door to an auction house, physical
location is less of an issue than it used to be as most auction houses will
cover most, if not all of any shipping costs to get your wine to auction. In
fact Wickman’s will offer to come to where the wine is stored and do the packing
and logistics of sending large wine collections to auction for you.
- Membership fees: There should not be a membership charge for sellers and a
membership fee can restrict the pool of buyers who may be interested in bidding
on your wine. Wickmans do not not charge a membership fee.
- Auction type: There are a few unusual auction styles that have been
introduced recently that may or may not suit your wine selling goals. Standard
‘English’ style auctions are best for high quality wines, especially if the
price is uncertain or changes over time. Reverse auctions - ‘Dutch’ - are
typically meant for selling distressed stock at the cheapest possible prices and
work in favour of the buyer and not the seller. Wickman’s uses the traditional
‘English’ method and work equally hard for both parties to establish a fair
price where everybody has a happy payoff.
- Commissions: Typically charged as a percentage only when the goods have been
sold. Seller’s commissions can be negotiated and can vary from 0% through to 25%
depending on the type of wines and the quantity for sale. Wickman’s has always
offered the lowest commissions in Australia.
- Storage: Make sure your wine is being stored in professional, temperature
controlled conditions, a warehouse with a struggling air conditioner doesn’t
really cut the grade these days.
- Provenance grading: If you know where you purchased your wine and how it has
been stored in the interim, then let the auctioneer know your wines history.
Properly stored wine with good documentation can add as much as 15% to the final
price achieved. Ensure your auctioneer is set up to take advantage of good
provenance by making the buyers aware. Wickman’s offer a YouTube channel and
social media outlets that enhances a buyer’s perception of the wine on sale and
has increased the result for wine sellers by as much as 25%.
How is wine valued on the secondary market?
The true market price is determined by the buyer and not the seller, unless the
item in question is rare and desired by multiple buyers. Typically we use a
database of recent sales figures based on significant volume and from multiple
buyers at auction around Australia to determine current value. Because retailers
specialise in recent release wines rather than aged and uncommon wines, the
retail prices for secondary market wines are highly exaggerated and rarely based
on any realistic volume of recent sales.
What is the value of my wine?
Most wines typically fall in value by as much as 40% as soon as you pay for it.
The amount it falls depends on the marketing hype surrounding the wine, how good
the wine actually is and how well that quality is known amongst the wine
drinking community. A winery can only guess what the wine is worth when it is
first released and it is usually a marketing decision that sets the final price
you pay in the bottle shop or cellar door. Then over time, as the wine
circulates and is opened, the wines reputation is solidified through wine shows,
tasting panels, wine reviewers and, more and more importantly, through social
media chatter. The subsequent price being demanded for the
wine then becomes a matter to settle on the open market via traditional
auctions. Good vintages, in the least tend to hold their initial release price
even as the current release price rises with annual inflation. Very good
vintages tend to bubble up to the current release price as it changes over time
and exceptional vintages sometimes tend to exceed even the current release
Do I need a liquor licence to sell wine?
Only if you intend to sell the wine through eBay or another type of self service
facility, otherwise you can sell it through an auction house or retailer who
will act on your behalf as your agent.
Are reverse auctions good for selling wine?
Reverse auctions favour the buyer rather than the seller and have traditionally
been used to move distressed or excess stock at the cheapest possible price with
sellers, not buyers, competing against each other.
What wines are worth more than cellar door price?
There are only a handful of Australian wines that you can buy at the cellar door
that rise in price immediately or very soon after release, worth more on the
auction market. However, because these wines are generally strictly controlled
on release, it is impossible to actively collect them in any sufficient quantity
that could classify the purchase as an investment:
- Rockford (Basket press and SVS shiraz in good vintages only).
- Noon Winery (Reserve Cabernet and Reserve Shiraz – any vintage).
- Greenock Creek Shiraz (Alice and Apricot block Shiraz in great vintages
- Wendouree (Shiraz only – any vintage).
What is provenance and how does it affect the price I get at auction?
Many buyers are wary of buying secondary market wine as they don’t know where it
has been. Since adverse storage conditions can affect the quality of the wine,
buyers like to know the history of where is has been purchased and stored. The
greater the level of buyer comfort about how well you have looked after your
wine, then the higher a buyer will value your wine against wines of unknown
origin. Wickmans offer a guaranteed provenance
system for qualifying sellers.
When should I sell my wine?
Whilst there has not been any conclusive evidence put forward that good quality
wine sells better at any particular time of year, logic suggests that selling
prior to Christmas and other festivals or occasions may yield slightly better
volume returns. Also, significant birthday vintages may cause prices to temporarily rocket up in price.
Are there any places that will purchase my entire wine collection?
can find a buyer that would be willing to take your entire collection in one
transaction but those sort of buyers typically want to take large discounts of
around 25% - 40% less than reserve.
What should I do next ?
If you would like to place your wine at auction, please send an email asking for
a no obligation, free valuation of your wine. See the following page for more
information about selling your wine
Author: Mark Wickman
Copyright ©2013 Mark Wickman, All Rights Reserved.