Buying rare wines at auctions

rare wines
rare wines

Wealthy English, American, and Far eastern wine connoisseurs have been buying their beloved bottles on auctions for more than a century.

There are several English and American auction houses that have established wine departments. Sotheby and Christie’s are world-famous, and conduct auctions in England, the U S A, and Hong Kong. Now, several American competitors challenge British establishments.

Buying rare wines at auction requires a deep knowledge of wines, their producers, the background of the wine you intend to bid on (storage, transportation, verifiable authenticity) and you have to pay 15 per cent to the auction house. The seller pays 15 per cent too.

Buying rare wines at auction can be an expensive preposition, but you can “land” old wines that cannot be bought otherwise. It is important to inspect, if possible, any and all of the lots to ensure that there are no visible flaws, i.e fill level, leaking cork, intact label etc.

Now, for the first time in Ontario, Waddington’s is running an auction on line, and on December 12in open forum. Lots have to be picked up by the buyer from a nearby wine storage facility. You can order the catalogue from, or access on line. The auctioneer has assured me that L C B O experts were involved in inspecting all bottles for authenticity and other visible faults.

There are some enticing lots on offer at a “reasonable cost” as practically all on offer are unavailable at the L C B O.

This is an opportunity for collectors to acquire rare or “near rare” wines.

Auction houses


Acker Merral and Condit, New York; Christie’s New York, Morell and Co. Fine Wine Auctions, Chicago; Sotheby’s New York; Zachy’s Wine Auctions New York, Bonham’s and Butterfield’s, San Francisco.

United Kingdom

Christie’s, London, Sotheby’s, London; Bonham’s, Edinborough.


IdealWine, Paris; Cavacave, Paris; Artcurial Briest-Poulain- F.Tajin, Paris.


Actionata, Berlin;, Cologne; Munich Wine Company Live Auctions, Munich; Weinborse, Hannober, Wine Cash, Dusseldorf.

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