Collecting: How To Invest in Italian Wine

While other investments, such as real estate property and gold, have struggled in the recession of the last few years, the fine wine market has continued to thrive and is hailed by some to be the best investment of the decade. The ideal scenario for wine enthusiasts would be to purchase wine in equal measures for investment and for consumption, but few are so fortunate. However, if you decide to invest in Italian wines you can turn a profit with a very basic knowledge of what is worth investing in and how the industry works.

Investment grade wine bottlesInvesting in fine wine may not be for everybody, but it has its place in a diversified portfolio, with the additional benefit of enhancing your personal lifestyle in ways that stocks and bonds will never do. © Jupiterimages/

Historically the wines of Bordeaux have fetched the highest prices at auction. A surge of interest from the Far East has ensured that auction prices continue to soar as people seek out new ways to enjoy their wealth. But there is another, more discerning investor who is casting his eye further afield. The rise of the "Super Tuscan" – dynamic, modern, exciting wines that can age for decades and that wine critics praise – has raised Italy’s profile among investors. Amarone, Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello are also highly collectible.

You do not need to be an expert to be a savvy wine investor. The most important thing to consider when you buy wine is its provenance – you need to be able to prove that the wine you purchase has been properly looked after in optimal cellaring conditions. Wine needs to be stored at the right temperature, in perfect conditions of humidity, in the absence of light and vibrations, otherwise its value will be diminished. Similarly, you need to be prepared to look after it properly until you decide to sell it on – either by cellaring it yourself or by paying a small premium to cellar it in a commercial facility. The benefit of a commercial wine cellar is that usually they will be able to provide a record of pristine cellaring that you can pass on to your buyer to prove it has been looked after properly.

If you are a beginner it is a good idea to work with an investment company who will help you through the process and take care of all the paperwork for you. Be sure to research the company by asking for references or testimonials from their satisfied customers – a good company will avoid passing on hidden administrative charges to its customers and will negotiate on your behalf when it comes to selling your wine.

Italian wines are only just beginning to emerge as worthy investment wines, with some impressive auction prices already being fetched for Sassicaia, Tignanello and the other "Super Tuscans". It is only a matter of time before the Far East market turns its attention to Italy – so if you are interested in investing in Italian wines it is a good time to get started.

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