When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

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Marshall Manning
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When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#1 Post by Marshall Manning » April 28th, 2020, 12:03 pm

I've been buying and drinking wine for over 30 years now, and while everything I've purchased over the years has been acquired with the intention of drinking it at some point, I find I have a few bottles that are worth far more now than I ever imagined. I've always thought that the value of a particular wine is what I paid for it, and have never felt bad about drinking them (or sharing them with others) if they've appreciated in a normal way.

But what about those wines that appreciated due to rarity and are now commanding $500-1000 per bottle? I've always been very middle class, so while I've spent a good sum on wine over the years, it's been more about building a fun, interesting cellar, but with affordable (mostly $20-$75 bottle cost) wines that I enjoy. I just happened to pick up a few things along the way that have gone insane recently ('99 Verset Cornas, as an example), and I'm thinking about selling a few of these gems.

I know I will really love the wines when I open them...but is the enjoyment of a case of wine worth the current price? I could sell a mixed case of various items that originally cost under $500 and pay for a trip to Italy for my wife and I. But I also know that I will never be able to drink or afford these wines again unless I open the ones I own. Obviously this is a very personal issue, I just wonder how others deal with it and if there is a point in people's minds where they think "I can't afford not to sell this."
Last edited by Marshall Manning on April 28th, 2020, 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#2 Post by Vincent Fritzsche » April 28th, 2020, 12:10 pm

I would have no problem selling at least some of the wines, so you perhaps enjoy a few (or perhaps wonder - should I have sold this?) but largely get that trip to Italy that maybe would be more worthwhile. There's always more wine.

Verset sold the wine, take his lead.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#3 Post by Markus S » April 28th, 2020, 12:17 pm

"Too much" is always such a subjective level: what is peanuts to some of the wealthy here would pay off the mortgage for others. But it doesn't have to be 'all-or-nothing'. Save 1 or 2 to drink, sell the rest. Best of both worlds.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#4 Post by Chris Seiber » April 28th, 2020, 12:21 pm

There is nothing wrong with selling something if the dollars you get back will buy you something worth substantially more to you. I’m guessing a trip to Italy enriches your life more than drinking a case of old Cornas or whatever.

Maybe take the bottles you have in this category and pick. Twenty bottles, these five are the ones I’m most interested in drinking, the other 15 buy us a great experience. I don’t know if the numbers work out that way, but it might at least be a framework to approach the question.

Of course, each person would answer the question differently. You might really drill down on whether those proceeds would in fact make the trip happen, or whether you could have the trip anyway by making a different trade off, etc.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#5 Post by Mattstolz » April 28th, 2020, 12:22 pm

I haven't been in the wine game long enough to be lucky enough to have to make this decision, but I am running into it with a couple of bourbons I own. my thinking with them is that when the money potentially in my pocket becomes something that I could get outrageously more enjoyment out of than I ever could get from opening and drinking the bottle, then thats when I will sell. my example: I have a couple of Van Winkle bottlings that I bought at retail a few years ago, they now command 5-8 times what I paid for them. while I still enjoy bourbon, I don't know that I have ever enjoyed it $500-$1500 per bottles worth. obviously these are still wines that you are at least as into now as when you bought them id guess, but I would imagine the same theory applies.

on the flip side: with my wines, the price of them is ALWAYS what I paid for them. if they've increased in price, thats just money that I saved by being awesome. lol

Edited to add: I think this is a really important question that more people ask themselves than we think when we are asking it ourself. especially with how crazy wine pricing can be now

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#6 Post by Anton D » April 28th, 2020, 12:35 pm

350 dollars.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#7 Post by Michael O'Brien » April 28th, 2020, 12:40 pm

I buy to drink and share with others and for no other reason. I do not drink the value; I drink the wine.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#8 Post by Matt Latuchie » April 28th, 2020, 12:49 pm

I've done this a lot lately. I don't have a $ threshold, but I do like to see 2x-3x return on investment before I pull the trigger and sell. I've paid for a new kitchen, and a sizable portion of a house down payment doing that with some wines. In all honesty, there have been times lately that I've regretted not having these bottles lying around anymore...but a sweet house makes it easier to get over.

Examples include; Vatan, Gonon, Juge, Rougeard, & Burlotto
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#9 Post by Victor Hong » April 28th, 2020, 12:54 pm

Never. A person can be too dead to drink even free wine.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#10 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » April 28th, 2020, 12:54 pm

When drinking it fails to give pleasure because you keep thinking about $$$.

I am almost there with Roumier, and a few other things.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#11 Post by Paul Flynn » April 28th, 2020, 12:56 pm

Agreed, never.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#12 Post by Tom Chen » April 28th, 2020, 12:57 pm

Depends on all sorts of factors, but for me, a main one is why I initially bought the wine and what do I expect out of it if I keep it vs. selling it.

I have kept/drank over 99% of the wines I've bought and have traded/sold a few other the years.

The one that best exemplifies the rationale for selling is this:
1) I bought a bottle of 2002 La Tache on release ($750) for a special anniversary dinner.
2) I dreamed of taking it to a bucket list restaurant and share the bottle with my wife for an anniversary we would always remember.
3) A year or so ago, I told my wife how much a bottle is selling, and she said she could not enjoy the wine knowing how much it is worth (and how much it will be worth when we open it) and would have a much better memory of selling the bottle to pay for a vacation.
4) Sold it for around the $3.5K range (I think).
5) She is happy, but I have pings of regret every once in a while.

Anyways, generally, I drink what I buy, and if the value has increased, it makes opening the bottle even more special.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#13 Post by Marshall Manning » April 28th, 2020, 1:07 pm

Michael O'Brien wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 12:40 pm
I buy to drink and share with others and for no other reason. I do not drink the value; I drink the wine.
I've always purchased with that intention, too, but have just been contemplating selling off a case or so. Maybe just getting older, or realizing that I usually spend more than I should on wine?
Last edited by Marshall Manning on April 28th, 2020, 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#14 Post by Yao C » April 28th, 2020, 1:07 pm

Mattstolz wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 12:22 pm
I haven't been in the wine game long enough to be lucky enough to have to make this decision, but I am running into it with a couple of bourbons I own.
I have a friend who collects whisky. Some bottles in his collection, particularly rare Japanese bottles, have appreciated insanely over the past few years. But from the beginning, his approach has been to open and take a taste of every bottle just as soon as he gets his hands on it. His philosophy is: once he allows himself to purchase a bottle with the idea that he might flip it in the future, he's contaminated his hobby and is no longer able to be honest with himself about whether he's buying something because he enjoys it or because the market will pay top dollar when he goes to flip it

I allow myself to sell off bottles where my palate has shifted (e.g. Napa cabs). And I certainly don't begrudge anyone their ability to pay for a house / vacation with appreciated bottles. But I have a great deal of sympathy for his point of view, because I know my capacity for self-deception is quite high if not unlimited.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#15 Post by Marshall Manning » April 28th, 2020, 1:15 pm

Yao C wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 1:07 pm
His philosophy is: once he allows himself to purchase a bottle with the idea that he might flip it in the future, he's contaminated his hobby and is no longer able to be honest with himself about whether he's buying something because he enjoys it or because the market will pay top dollar when he goes to flip it

I allow myself to sell off bottles where my palate has shifted (e.g. Napa cabs). And I certainly don't begrudge anyone their ability to pay for a house / vacation with appreciated bottles. But I have a great deal of sympathy for his point of view, because I know my capacity for self-deception is quite high if not unlimited.
See, I totally get that. I don't have a single bottle that I didn't intend to drink when I bought them. And in the past I've kind of looked down on "flipping" wines, or at least doing it strictly for the profit motive. We've all sold/traded wines we bought thinking we'd like them and then realized we didn't. When I paid $25 for '99 Verset in 2003 my only intention was to drink it when it was ready...but I also had no idea it would be selling for $600+ today.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#16 Post by Wes Barton » April 28th, 2020, 1:21 pm

I'd think if you've been collecting 30 years and some of the bottles have appreciated that much, you have several times that many in the same maturity and quality range. Certainly, you may have some bottles that you want to try regardless of current market value, but all of them? Maybe some you'd never open due to apprehension over the value? There's also the option of buying some more sanely priced replacements, of sorts, with part of the windfall.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#17 Post by Andrew K. » April 28th, 2020, 1:29 pm

This is a tough conundrum. It's one reason I've made it a point recently to buy at least enough bottles that if I do want to sell some later I still have some to enjoy. Never buy just one bottle of anything no matter how expensive. Ideally buy at least 3 or 4 or more, as hard as that can be with some of today's price points.

Right now I have some one off singles of DRC in the cellar that were purchased before the most recent Burgundy craze around 2017 jacked priced up 400% in some cases. That's really hard because I can't see selling them even though they are worth significantly more than I'm currently willing to pay to drink any bottle of wine. But since they are singles if I sell them I won't get to enjoy them, which is why I bought them in the first place.

I think they would have to double or triple from here for me to get to the place where I just had to sell them. But then that also begs the question what am I going to buy to drink instead? If I could get 3 bottles of something I enjoy just as much for selling that 1 bottle, it starts to make more sense. But if I'm just going to be drinking something else thinking about the bottle I could have had, it doesn't seem worth it.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#18 Post by Marshall Manning » April 28th, 2020, 1:33 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 1:21 pm
I'd think if you've been collecting 30 years and some of the bottles have appreciated that much, you have several times that many in the same maturity and quality range.
I wish that were the case, Wes. I've always bought a selection of wines to cellar, and then also current things to drink, so I only bought small amounts from each region/producer/vintage to age. I've just been pretty disciplined about leaving them alone until they are ready. So with '99 Cornas, which I used as an example, I have a few bottles of Clape and Verset. That's it. If I had cases of each, it would be easy!
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#19 Post by AndyK » April 28th, 2020, 1:51 pm

I think about it in terms of whether the money I get from selling the wine would make a real difference or not (e.g. paying for a major purchase or enabling something else other than a bit more cash). For single bottles or generally lower quantities, the answer almost certainly is to not sell, but rather open them on a special occasion. If I had cases lying around, that may be a different story...
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#20 Post by alan weinberg » April 28th, 2020, 2:11 pm

it’s just wine and economics. I always wonder if these people who say they look at the wine at what they paid for it and not the current value would sell their appreciated house or stocks for what they paid for them.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#21 Post by Sh@n A » April 28th, 2020, 2:30 pm

I think it comes down to opportunity cost of the experience. The price of the bottle vs. alternative uses of that capital: travel, dining, clothing, donating to charity, home improvements, savings, etc.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#22 Post by A G Aguirre » April 28th, 2020, 2:34 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 12:54 pm
When drinking it fails to give pleasure because you keep thinking about $$$.

I am almost there with Roumier, and a few other things.
I like this answer best.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#23 Post by Wes Barton » April 28th, 2020, 2:39 pm

Marshall Manning wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 1:33 pm
Wes Barton wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 1:21 pm
I'd think if you've been collecting 30 years and some of the bottles have appreciated that much, you have several times that many in the same maturity and quality range.
I wish that were the case, Wes. I've always bought a selection of wines to cellar, and then also current things to drink, so I only bought small amounts from each region/producer/vintage to age. I've just been pretty disciplined about leaving them alone until they are ready. So with '99 Cornas, which I used as an example, I have a few bottles of Clape and Verset. That's it. If I had cases of each, it would be easy!
You're sort of answering your own question here. You place an economic premium on the anticipated novel experiences with some or all of these wines, and their provenance.

You can look around at the secondary market, factoring risk into the price (which should vary by source). If you can see you could buy 3 mature wines you'd like to try, plus some cash to spare, for every one of these wines you'd think about selling, you might have some easy choices. If the effort, risk, attractiveness of the alternatives, premiums, shipping, taxes, etc. close the margins, it could also be an easy decision.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#24 Post by Jay Miller » April 28th, 2020, 2:42 pm

I went through this last year and put a few cases up for sale on CC of wines where I wasn't particularly excited about drinking them in comparison with what I would do with the money (redo my bathroom). It ended up being more complicated than I had anticipated and I only sold a little over a case and then the quarantine hit before I could hand off a bunch more to someone who had been going to visit NYC. Maybe I'll start over when everything settles down. Or maybe not.

But as David says - if I'd regret drinking the wine then it's time to sell.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#25 Post by Eric Ifune » April 28th, 2020, 3:07 pm

As long as I didn't need the money, I'd rather have the wine.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#26 Post by Alan Rath » April 28th, 2020, 3:13 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 2:11 pm
it’s just wine and economics. I always wonder if these people who say they look at the wine at what they paid for it and not the current value would sell their appreciated house or stocks for what they paid for them.
This. I am constantly churning my cellar (partly to make room for new purchases, which I largely finance through selling). There are a number of wines I hope I will never decide to sell, but some of them are also very hard to think about opening as well. Everyone has their own bar set at which they are comfortable buying a wine, even if only rarely. I have mine (which fluctuates, but is probably in the $200-300 range). Above that, for me, the dollar value factors into the "enjoyment coefficient" enough that it becomes more difficult to think about drinking, so I tend to sell things that appreciate above that level. Though there are exceptions.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#27 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » April 28th, 2020, 3:18 pm

I also agree with Buek’s answer - when the pleasure (or other utility, like paying rent if - just hypothetically - you suddenly lost your income) of selling it would be more than the pleasure of drinking it.

This may “never” happen, and thus the answer would be “never” - if you either have so much money that the marginal pleasure of more money is low relative the pleasure of drinking the wine, or you have sufficiently trained your mind not to think about the fact that you could make an entire mortgage payment or take an extra vacation or buy 3 cases of some other wine by selling that one bottle.

But if you’d not enjoy the bottle because even while drinking it you’d be bothered by the alternative uses for its value, and/or because you’d thereafter be tormented by the decision to drink it rather than sell it, you should sell it. If you’d be tormented thereafter by that decision, you should not.

If you’d be tormented either way, ask your Wine Therapist.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#28 Post by Fred Bower » April 28th, 2020, 5:25 pm

The house analogy doesn't work for me. You don't burn the house down in a moment of enjoyment versus choosing to sell it to move to the next house.

At this particular time, the trip to Italy seems like such a fantasy, but it will probably be possible in your and Carolyn's lifetimes. I remember the one magnum madness we got to attend at your place and the great stuff that Roy and others brought. Those experiences bias me toward opening the special bottles in the presence of those that will appreciate the shared experience. It's a difficult thing to economically value, but it has such tremendous life value.

If money is ever a concern, look at the reality of having lots of other stuff that will provide as much pleasure opportunity as the unicorns and do what benefits you. Consider it a dividend for having passion for the hobby.

Great thread and hope you are well.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#29 Post by brigcampbell » April 28th, 2020, 6:14 pm

Never too much when paired with fish tacos or good friends. I gave the La Tache away to FMIII and Nordhoff which we all drank together with Seiber.


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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#30 Post by Robert M yers » April 28th, 2020, 6:20 pm

If you drink it and it’s corked how disappointed will you be? If the answer is disturbed in the least because you could have sold it for $x then you should sell. If would you say “no big deal“ let’s crack another then you don’t need that money.

You got in early and made The multiples work for you. What are the chances that wine is going to go up 1000% from here. I’d think not very, therefore you can probably buy the wine back at minimal premium from here if you ever really wanted to. My guess is that if your even asking this question one would never do that.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#31 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 28th, 2020, 6:25 pm

I doubt very seriously that I ever sell anything I have, unless as David notes, I no longer enjoy drinking them. My premium wines that have gone up crazy in price - Juge being just one example - are so squarely in my wheelhouse that they will never be sold unless my palate fundamentally changes. And I never want to get to the point that they are “worth too much to pop” when I want one. I recently popped both a Rougeard and a Juge recently, totally on a whim, and both have been two of my most memorable wines all year. I don’t want economics to change that.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#32 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » April 28th, 2020, 7:22 pm

I look at it like this:
Will the money I receive be worth my time and hassle of selling it? Also factored into that equation is the value I lose in not being able to enjoy the wine. I strongly dislike the hassle of selling, which is why I have only done it a couple of times.

That said, I do seem to have a perpetual list of wines in my head that I'd like to sell because they're now worth more than I'd be willing to pay for them *and* they're not squarely in my wheelhouse. I'm on about Year 5, or so, of annually telling myself I'm going to gather them together and send them to auction, but that damn Time and Hassle thing ...
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#33 Post by Curtis Chen » April 28th, 2020, 7:30 pm

If the wine doesn't deliver, it's not worth it. You can spend $300 on Allemand Reynard and absolutely love it, but you can also spend $300 on Dom and find it to be somewhat unremarkable. I'd have a running calculator in the back of my head while drinking the Dom, but be fully enamored and taking in the moment with the Reynard.

Depends.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#34 Post by P Intag » April 28th, 2020, 8:16 pm

Look, a few thousand dollars in profit is not likely to change your lifestyle. Unless you are desperate for some extra cash, drink 'em and enjoy 'em.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#35 Post by Andrew K. » April 28th, 2020, 8:17 pm

brigcampbell wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 6:14 pm
Never too much when paired with fish tacos or good friends.
Thanks for that. Really appreciate this comment. It's a great reminder of the real value in life. And it's true for me, when I have good friends over who truly enjoy wine I get excited to pop open the best wine in my cellar, sit there and enjoy the company and completely appreciate that bottle and never look back. I think that's unfortunately something that doesn't present itself often for me (maybe why I'm here and glad to have found the community). Even my wife has turned down glasses of Romanée-Conti and DRC Montrachet on several occasions to keep her diet, so that tells you her limited interest, lol.

But one of my fondest wine memories is sharing a bottle of 2012 RC a few years ago right after release (I know, infanticide) with a good wine friend and both of us sublimely enjoying the moment and still talking about it to this day. I wouldn't trade the memories of that experience for even the obscene amount of money that bottle could fetch now or in the future.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#36 Post by john stimson » April 28th, 2020, 8:20 pm

Unless I missed it, I haven't seen this comment yet. It's highly unusual that I ever check what a wine that I own is worth. It doesn't factor into the equation really at all. I generally remember what I paid for it. If I didn't think it might be worth it, I likely wouldn't have bought it. Yes, sometimes I do hesitate to open more exalted wines, but it's more an issue of trying to find the perfect occasion rather than anything to do with how much it is currently worth. Do you take an artwork off your wall and sell it because it has appreciated 5-10 times in value since you bought it, even though you still like it? (I suppose it might be different if you really needed the money for another important purpose, but thankfully I have not been in this situation).

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#37 Post by Richard Jen » April 28th, 2020, 8:49 pm

A dollar is a dollar. It doesn’t matter what price you paid for it. Will you spend the market value $ to buy a bottle and drink it for the experience?

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#38 Post by JLee » April 28th, 2020, 9:09 pm

Richard Jen wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 8:49 pm
A dollar is a dollar. It doesn’t matter what price you paid for it. Will you spend the market value $ to buy a bottle and drink it for the experience?
+1. It seems rational not to drink anything one wouldn't buy at the same price one could sell it for minus the costs of selling.

A few thousand dollars wouldn't change my life either but that doesn't mean I'd overpay for something by a few thousand if I had the choice.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#39 Post by john stimson » April 28th, 2020, 9:13 pm

Money is just money. If wine was simply a rational exercise it wouldn't be any fun at all.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#40 Post by Steve Brickley » April 28th, 2020, 9:50 pm

$500 and it’s for sale.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#41 Post by Robert M yers » April 28th, 2020, 10:42 pm

I do love and try to live the mantra of pop them and enjoy them with good friends. That said, Im not going to be on my death bed talking to my wife about any wine we drank. I might be talking to her about the trip to Italy you mentioned. Life to me is about experiences for certain and If you can turn your savvy wine buying into more meaningful life experiences that you might not otherwise entertain I see no reason not to. Pleasure can be found everywhere in wine. A $10 bottle could be the best bottle you ever had, if it’s consumed in an amazing place with people you love.

If the difference between your Verset and another great Rhône could buy you an upgrade from inner cabin to ocean view, I’ll take the view any day of the week. If your not really making these types of choices in your life and can have it all then Why aren’t you drinking Verset everyday?

I guess it comes down to what’s the more important experience, for me wine is always high, but it’s not at the top. I’d trade it for experiences that make more sense to us. Of course there’s a different answer for everyone, but your wife’s hesitation to drink a wine of great expense might tell you something about where she values the experience.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#42 Post by Wes Barton » April 28th, 2020, 11:21 pm

john stimson wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 8:20 pm
Do you take an artwork off your wall and sell it because it has appreciated 5-10 times in value since you bought it, even though you still like it?
Having art on the wall is consuming it. Perhaps a better analogy would be having many times the amount of art as you have wall space. You change up what's hanging now and then, but will never get to everything, and you keep buying more. A couple dozen of the paintings just sitting there stored in the basement have greatly appreciated in value. They are among the far too many you'd eventually like to hang up. You might even be a little uncomfortable putting up the most expensive ones. Would you consider selling any?
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#43 Post by Craig G » April 28th, 2020, 11:22 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 2:11 pm
it’s just wine and economics. I always wonder if these people who say they look at the wine at what they paid for it and not the current value would sell their appreciated house or stocks for what they paid for them.
I agree that you should understand market value, but you need to carefully consider what you could actually realize on a bottle, not what WS says it costs. It’s usually quite different. I went through this exercise with a friend who was trying to decide if he should buy an allocation of a CA Cab, and in the end, even though WS low was well above list price, when everything was considered we decided that he had really better want to drink the wine for the price paid. There’s a similar calculation when trying to understand how much money you are effectively throwing away when you drink an expensive bottle.

The other thing is that we are human and bottles in our cellars can carry irrational, but meaningful value. If I’ve cellared a bottle from release, it’s more meaningful when I drink it than one I purchased yesterday (in addition to my confidence in its provenance). If I inherited it from my dad, that value is even higher. These things impact our actual experience (at least they do for me).

My goal is to not sell any wines that I truly love. I hope that prices don’t escalate to the point where I change my mind. I’m pretty selective about drinking bottles that have become very valuable, but usually that just means picking a particular group of people to drink them with. Our local groups have a few events a year where we try to step up the wines. Those are good occasions to open bottles that are otherwise “too expensive to drink.”
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#44 Post by LMD Ermitaño » April 29th, 2020, 1:32 am

Marshall Manning wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 12:03 pm
I've been buying and drinking wine for over 30 years now, and while everything I've purchased over the years has been acquired with the intention of drinking it at some point, I find I have a few bottles that are worth far more now than I ever imagined. I've always thought that the value of a particular wine is what I paid for it, and have never felt bad about drinking them (or sharing them with others) if they've appreciated in a normal way.

But what about those wines that appreciated due to rarity and are now commanding $500-1000 per bottle? I've always been very middle class, so while I've spent a good sum on wine over the years, it's been more about building a fun, interesting cellar, but with affordable (mostly $20-$75 bottle cost) wines that I enjoy. I just happened to pick up a few things along the way that have gone insane recently ('99 Verset Cornas, as an example), and I'm thinking about selling a few of these gems.

I know I will really love the wines when I open them...but is the enjoyment of a case of wine worth the current price? I could sell a mixed case of various items that originally cost under $500 and pay for a trip to Italy for my wife and I. But I also know that I will never be able to drink or afford these wines again unless I open the ones I own. Obviously this is a very personal issue, I just wonder how others deal with it and if there is a point in people's minds where they think "I can't afford not to sell this."
I drink them all. I’ve never sold any of my wines; but I have swapped some bottles once or twice over almost 30 years.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#45 Post by Jürgen Steinke » April 29th, 2020, 3:08 am

I seldom sell wines. But I did. And the motive was always that I thought the wine is expensive but not really good. At least I could have the same pleasure or even more with wines of the same type but for less money. Some people say you get what you pay for. I have learned that this is not always true. A wine can be expensive but not really outstanding. This is something people who focus too much on a label will never believe.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#46 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 29th, 2020, 4:52 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 3:08 am
I seldom sell wines. But I did. And the motive was always that I thought the wine is expensive but not really good. At least I could have the same pleasure or even more with wines of the same type but for less money. Some people say you get what you pay for. I have learned that this is not always true. A wine can be expensive but not really outstanding. This is something people who focus too much on a label will never believe.
The inverse is true as well! Lots of outstanding wine out there for fair prices, perhaps just not with the so-called fancy labels. I drink many of these wines.

The only wine I ever sold was 1991 Maya. I had a few of them that I sold in 1999 for $475 each. Was an insane price back then, and back then, I actually did need a little spare cash. Once in a while I regretted it, but just checked, and I can still grab some for $495.

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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#47 Post by Howard Cooper » April 29th, 2020, 5:04 am

alan weinberg wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 2:11 pm
it’s just wine and economics. I always wonder if these people who say they look at the wine at what they paid for it and not the current value would sell their appreciated house or stocks for what they paid for them.
Not a proper analogy. I wouldn't plan on selling my appreciated house or wine for what I paid for it.

The real analogy is are you continuing to live in your appreciated house or have you sold it to cash in. Right now, I have not cashed in either my house or my wines. Are you selling your DRC?
Last edited by Howard Cooper on April 29th, 2020, 5:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#48 Post by Howard Cooper » April 29th, 2020, 5:18 am

Whether to sell appreciated wine is something I and probably virtually every wine collector my age or so on this board have faced since we first started drinking wine. I mean, in the early to mid 1980s, we all were buying futures on classified 1982 Bordeaux for about $9-13 a bottle and could buy things like 1984 Ridge Monte Bello for $20 and DRC Grands Echezeaux for $35 (all prices I actually paid).

I have always watched much more what I paid for the wine than its retail value often wondering if I could really get anything near what I see as the retail price for selling the wine. As long I paid a reasonable price for the wine and my finances were ok, I drank the wine.

And, I still do. The only wines I have ever sold were wines were a few wines that I didn't care that much about where I could convert the wines into something I wanted more but did not want to pay the price for. So, I in essence traded 2000 Carruades de Lafite for some half bottles of Yquem. Did this with several wines about 5-7 years ago.

It does get harder all the time. Prices for some wines are now at insane levels. It is really strange to watch the prices of my favorite wine producer, Jacky Truchot, go to higher and higher levels. The wines were really reasonably priced for what they are when I bought them. But, look at prices now. https://www.wine-searcher.com/find/truchot/1/usa And, when I look at CellarTracker, I see that 16 of my top 20 wines in value are Truchots (labels, not bottles, as I may have multiple bottles of several of these) - the only outliers being 1990 Cheval Blanc at 10, 2015 Mugneret-Gibourg Echezeaux at 14, and 1990 Latour and Lafite at 16 and 17.

So far, I have kept drinking them with friends, who also are Truchot collectors, and really enjoying them. And, it would be a hard sell because I have met Jacky Truchot on a number of occasions and would feel like a traitor selling them. But, if I ever did, it would most likely be the 2005 Bourgogne Rouge or the 2006 MSD les Sorbes and not the grand crus because the grand crus are really so special to me.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#49 Post by Scott G r u n e r » April 29th, 2020, 8:06 am

Wes Barton wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 11:21 pm
john stimson wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 8:20 pm
Do you take an artwork off your wall and sell it because it has appreciated 5-10 times in value since you bought it, even though you still like it?
Having art on the wall is consuming it. Perhaps a better analogy would be having many times the amount of art as you have wall space. You change up what's hanging now and then, but will never get to everything, and you keep buying more. A couple dozen of the paintings just sitting there stored in the basement have greatly appreciated in value. They are among the far too many you'd eventually like to hang up. You might even be a little uncomfortable putting up the most expensive ones. Would you consider selling any?
Any analogy to something that can be consumed over and over again is just dead wrong. A special bottle of wine gives one experience, one memory. Of you have a wonderful experience, with friends and or loved ones, it can be a powerful and lingering memory that is worth far more than the opportunity cost of selling. If you drink it out of styro in a fast food restaurant, less so.
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Re: When is a Wine Worth Too Much to Drink?

#50 Post by M Passo » April 29th, 2020, 8:49 am

I collected birth year wine for my older son (1989) and focused on bordeaux and nebbiolo. Years later when he went into law school I asked---sell for tuition or keep? He said sell and I did both happily (he has the good judgment to sell things when needed) and reluctantly (would he share with me!). Easily took care of more than a year. My reasoning, and I'm sticking with it, is any wine worth north of 200 dollars and for a good cause is done! They are just things, and I value many things more. Groundhog Day 45 Mike
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