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24th June, 2015

What makes a wine valuable at auction?

The Buyer

A wine only has a real value to the person or persons intending to open and drink it. They will typically value the wine according to the experience they have had in the past or a perception and expectation of the wine that has formulated in their mind and only the buyer knows how much he is willing to pay for it.

The Vintage

It is a common misconception that a wine gains in value over time. A wine will mature, peak and inevitably die. Some wines will remain drinkable much longer than others. However, some vintages are better quality than others and the better the vintage the more valuable the wine.

Sales History and Brand Reputation

We set a value for a wine based on its past sales performance.

Any wine or winery that is known to be of quality and drinking well, either through initial reviews in the media or follow up reviews and hearsay from social sources will experience a premium to market value and over time this information can be seen in the signals given from sales results.

Essentially, a more sought after wine becomes more valuable as demand for it increases and the price may fluctuate on each occasion it is placed on the market.

How is a wine priced that has no auction sales history?

A wine has an intrinsic value based on its saleability. As a guideline a wine with no known sales history, supporters or advocates at auction is valued on the last known, lowest retail price less 40%. Each auction that it has no buying support will lower its offering price until it is sold.


A wine that is highly sought after that has only been produced in a small quantity will ramp up in value over a short period of time. Obviously as the wine is consumed the available quantity decreases and, if it is drinking well, it becomes even more desirable and the price spirals upward.

Factors affecting the auction value of a bottle of wine


The condition of a bottle can indicate a number of signals to a would-be buyer about any risk involved when buying the wine. Low levels and signs or any evidence of weeping will signal that there may be significant risk involved and prices will be adjusted accordingly.


The purchase and storage history of a wine is a very important factor for the buyer when determining how much they are willing to pay. A wine that has been purchased direct from the winery or on release from a retail outlet and then stored under appropriate conditions over its lifetime will give greater confidence to the buyer than one that has an unknown history. An explanation of provenance grading at auction.


On most occasions there is a steady stream of both buyers and sellers in the market. Ideal conditions suggest that there is a buyer for each bottle on offer. However, in the real world many socio-economic, geographic factors and the time of year will directly affect the number of people selling, the number of people buying and the demand for any one bottle of wine. The seller would prefer more buyers bidding on their wine and the buyer would prefer to make sneaky purchases without anybody else knowing what they are interested in hence minimal competition.

The seller’s reasons

Whilst each wine can be valued by an auctioneer based on past sales and the other factors mentioned above, occasionally the offering price will vary depending on the conditions of the seller (which are generally unknown to the buyer at the time but can sometimes be determined by the “actual” opening price or reserve if divulged). Sellers may influence the price by offering lower reserves to encourage a fast sale but rarely inhibit sales by asking more than the market is prepared to pay as the auctioneer will not accept an agreement if he is not confident that it can be sold at a higher price.

Where can I sell my wine?

Because you need a license to sell alcohol you cannot legally sell privately on places like eBay or Gumtree. Your choices are limited to licensed businesses who sell on your behalf and specialist wine auction houses offer the most convenient access to a large marketplace of regular buyers of fine and rare wines.

Practical steps for selling wine at auction.

Pricing Indexes for the top Australian auction wines

Wine NameVintage RangeAve PriceLow PriceHigh PriceModeMedStdDev
BAROSSA VALLEY ESTATE E & E Black Pepper Shiraz, Barossa Valley 1988 - 2006$71$55$100$70$70$12
BASS PHILLIP WINES Reserve Pinot Noir, South Gippsland 1988 - 2013$252$120$450$250$220$115
BEST'S WINES Bin 0 Great Western Shiraz, Grampians 1989 - 2010$42$22$60$40$44$9
BEST'S WINES Thomson Family Great Western Shiraz, Grampians 1992 - 2010$84$70$100$80$83$10
BINDI Block 5 Pinot Noir, Macedon Ranges 1997 - 2012$95$80$120$110$90$14
BROKENWOOD WINES Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, Hunter Valley 1989 - 2011$88$70$120$90$90$14
CAPE MENTELLE Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River 1991 - 2011$56$40$70$60$60$8
CLARENDON HILLS Astralis Syrah, McLaren Vale 1994 - 2012$249$200$320$240$250$35
CLONAKILLA Shiraz Viognier, Canberra District 1994 - 2013$98$40$320$110$90$56
CORIOLE Lloyd Reserve Shiraz, McLaren Vale 1989 - 2008$56$40$90$55$55$12
CULLEN WINES Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River 2000 - 2019$105$90$140$100$100$12
D'ARENBERG WINES The Dead Arm Shiraz, McLaren Vale 1993 - 2010$66$50$150$60$60$22
DE BORTOLI WINES Noble One Botrytis Semillon, Riverina 1988 - 2008$56$24$80$50$55$12
ELDERTON Command Single Vineyard Shiraz, Barossa Valley 1990 - 2010$72$55$90$70$70$11
FOX CREEK WINES Reserve Shiraz, McLaren Vale 1994 - 2013$48$35$60$45$50$7
GIACONDA Estate Vineyard Chardonnay, Beechworth 1991 - 2012$104$50$145$100$105$25
GRANT BURGE Meshach Shiraz, Barossa 1988 - 2009$80$65$110$70$75$12
GREENOCK CREEK Roennfeldt Road Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley 1995 - 2006$215$130$350$220$220$53
GREENOCK CREEK Roennfeldt Road Shiraz, Barossa Valley 1995 - 2008$229$155$340$200$220$50
GROSSET Polish Hill Riesling, Clare Valley 1995 - 2014$46$40$60$40$45$6
HARDY'S Eileen Hardy Shiraz, South Australia 1988 - 2010$65$45$90$70$65$11
HENSCHKE Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon, Eden Valley 1991 - 2010$82$65$120$75$80$14
HENSCHKE Hill of Grace Shiraz, Eden Valley 1988 - 2009$390$300$500$300$400$75
HENSCHKE Mount Edelstone Shiraz, Eden Valley 1992 - 2012$87$66$120$80$80$16
HOUGHTON Jack Mann Cabernet, Frankland River, Great Southern 1994 - 2011$76$60$100$80$78$12
JACOB'S CREEK ORLANDO St. Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra 1988 - 2008$34$20$50$35$35$9
JASPER HILL Georgia's Paddock Shiraz, Heathcote 1991 - 2010$68$55$85$70$70$8
JIM BARRY WINES The Armagh Shiraz, Clare Valley 1988 - 2008$147$90$210$150$145$32
KALLESKE Johann Georg Old Vine Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2003 - 2010$93$85$100$90$90$7
KATNOOK ESTATE Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra 1991 - 2009$67$55$85$70$70$9
KATNOOK ESTATE Prodigy Shiraz, Coonawarra 1996 - 2008$60$45$75$60$60$9
KAY BROS AMERY Block 6 Old Vine Shiraz, McLaren Vale 1992 - 2011$62$50$80$60$60$10
KILIKANOON Oracle Shiraz, Clare Valley 1998 - 2010$50$40$65$50$50$6
LAKE'S FOLLY Cabernets, Hunter Valley 1991 - 2011$55$35$80$50$53$10
LEEUWIN ESTATE Art Series Chardonnay, Margaret River 1992 - 2011$74$60$100$70$70$10
MAJELLA Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra 1994 - 2011$35$24$55$30$34$7
MAJELLA The Malleea Cabernet Shiraz, Coonawarra 1996 - 2009$65$45$85$65$65$10
MOSS WOOD Moss Wood Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River 1992 - 2011$99$65$130$100$100$16
MOUNT MARY Quintet Cabernet Blend, Yarra Valley 1992 - 2012$106$75$130$110$110$14
NOON Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Langhorne Creek 1996 - 2012$61$44$90$50$60$14
NOON Reserve Shiraz, Langhorne Creek 1997 - 2013$81$60$120$65$75$18
NOON WINERY Eclipse Grenache Shiraz, McLaren Vale 1997 - 2012$36$25$55$35$35$7
PENFOLDS Bin 128 Shiraz, Coonawarra 1993 - 2012$29$20$55$25$25$9
PENFOLDS Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz, South Australia 1993 - 2012$29$20$45$25$27$7
PENFOLDS Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia 1993 - 2012$60$45$90$50$58$12
PENFOLDS Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia 1992 - 2011$46$40$60$40$45$6
PENFOLDS Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia 1989 - 2012$224$190$275$220$220$18
PENFOLDS Bin 95 Grange Shiraz, South Australia 1991 - 2010$428$350$600$350$400$77
PENFOLDS Magill Estate Shiraz, Adelaide 1989 - 2008$63$50$90$60$60$10
PENFOLDS RWT Shiraz, Barossa Valley 1997 - 2012$103$85$150$100$100$14
PENFOLDS St. Henri Shiraz, South Australia 1992 - 2011$69$55$100$60$65$12
PENFOLDS Yattarna Chardonnay, South Australia 1995 - 2011$67$50$100$60$63$13
PETALUMA Coonawarra, Coonawarra 1988 - 2008$44$35$60$45$45$7
PETER LEHMANN Stonewell Shiraz, Barossa 1990 - 2010$63$50$85$60$60$8
PIERRO Chardonnay, Margaret River 1992 - 2012 $51$32$70$50$50$9
ROCKFORD Basket Press Shiraz, Barossa Valley 1992 - 2011$102$85$160$90$93$21
ROCKFORD Rifle Range Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley 2001 - 2012$49$40$65$40$40$11
SALTRAM No.1 Shiraz, Barossa Valley 1993 - 2009$47$32$60$45$45$8
SEPPELT St. Peters Great Western Vineyards Shiraz, Grampians 1996 - 2010$52$33$90$50$50$13
ST. HALLETT Old Block Shiraz, Barossa 1991 - 2010$51$36$75$40$50$11
TORBRECK RunRig Shiraz, Barossa Valley 1995 - 2009$188$120$280$180$180$41
TYRRELL'S Vat 1 Semillon, Hunter Valley 1994 - 2013$39$30$70$40$40$9
WENDOUREE Cabernet Malbec, Clare Valley 1992 - 2012$63$50$80$60$60$9
WENDOUREE Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley 1992 - 2012$65$50$90$60$65$11
WENDOUREE Shiraz Malbec, Clare Valley 1989 - 2012$62$40$80$60$60$9
WENDOUREE Shiraz Mataro, Clare Valley 1992 - 2012$59$48$70$60$60$6
WENDOUREE Shiraz, Clare Valley 1993 - 2013$119$90$150$120$120$16
WILD DUCK CREEK ESTATE Duck Muck Shiraz, Heathcote 1994 - 2007$259$200$300$300$255$39
WOLF BLASS WINES Black Label, South Australia 1991 - 2010$77$60$100$70$75$11
WOLF BLASS WINES Platinum Label Shiraz, Barossa 1998 - 2009$103$80$115$110$105$11
WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra 1992 - 2011$33$25$60$30$30$9
WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra 1985 - 2010$70$50$95$60$65$13
WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE Michael Shiraz, Coonawarra 1990 - 2010$66$34$95$60$65$15
WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE Shiraz, Coonawarra 1989 - 2018$19$10$60$15$15$10
YALUMBA The Octavius Old Vine Shiraz, Barossa 1988 - 2008$71$50$90$65$70$12
YALUMBA The Signature Cabernet Shiraz, Barossa 1990 - 2012 $38$24$55$34$37$9
YARRA YERING Dry Red Wine No.1 Cabernet, Yarra Valley 1992 - 2011$65$45$110$60$60$15

If you cannot find the wine you are looking for in the list above you can search our comprehensive database of past Australian wine auction sales for thousands of wines.

Author: Mark Wickman
Google+ Copyright ©2015 Mark Wickman, All Rights Reserved.

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