Wine Appraising

It is an invaluable service that deals with the quality appraisal and evaluation of wine inventories and cellars. These appraisals are used for estate transfers, divorce proceedings, damage claim adjustments and other legal matters, as well as for general information as to the value, conditions and when is the optimum time to consume one's various wines.

Purpose of an Appraisal

  • Insurance: To properly insure wine as scheduled personal property, an insurance company will require a current appraisal.
  • Divorce: A person in a divorce proceeding may need an appraisal of his/her wines in order that the value represented by the wine is equally distributed.
  • Investment tracking: As more people are collecting wines for investment, they routinely require assessment and value information about their collection.
  • Bankruptcy: In such proceedings, an appraisal of any wines owned by the bankrupt is required.
  • Probate: In probate proceedings, a court may require an estimate of value for the decedent's wine cellar, best handled by an appraisal.
  • Taxes: The estate tax return of a decedent will require an appraiser of anything over a nominal amount of wine.
  • Donors: Gifts of wine to charitable or educational institutions may require an appraisal to support a claim for tax deduction purposes.

An appraisal at one low cost will include the following:

  1. Aid in finding out exactly what your wines are in case you are not sure about the pertinent descriptions on the labels.
  2. Appraisal of every bottle to its true market value.
  3. Total per line item and for the entire collection.
  4. A personalized cover letter on the method of appraising and all special considerations your particular wine collection requires.
  5. At no additional cost, you have the option of receiving a guide showing approximate maturity (Consumption) dates on each wine for maximum enjoyment.
  6. A letter outlining the appraisers credentials.

The Cost of an Appraisal

  1. For 25 separate wine listings (line items) or less the minimum fee is $125.00, regardless of the quantity of each wine.  For example, if you had 15 or 100 bottles of 1982 Chateau Margaux 750ML it would be considered as (1) item or listing among the (25).  However, each different bottle sizes (such as 1.5L, 3.0L, etc) of 1982 Chateau Margaux are considered a different listing or item regardless of the quantity of that particular bottle size. And in some cases were the same wine type, vintage, and size have different fill levels and it would then have a different value, therefore they are considered a different listing or item.
  2. After the 25 minimum, the next 75 are an additional $3.00 per item/listing.
  3. After the first 100 the fee is $2.50 per item/listing.
  4. For large collections of 500 or more different wines we will be happy to furnish an estimate or in many cases a price guarantee based on per hour rate.

Hourly Rate Services

  1. On sight cellar inventory - $65.00/hour
  2. On sight cellar evaluations and/or organization - $75.00/hour
  3. Hourly legal for trial or deposition (minimum 3 hours) - $90.00/hour

Definition of an item or a listing:

A listing or an item is defined as an individual bottle carrying a different name, or different vintage (year), and/or different size.  Also wine bottles with identical names, vintages (years), and sizes, but their fill level or other physical characteristic changes from bottle to bottle, which result in different values.

Conditions and Assumptions Disclaimant

Limiting conditions and a listing of assumptions are usual conditions of most appraisals.  For example, the appraiser cannot guarantee that the wine is good or even drinkable although knowledge or reference books will usually permit the appraiser to comment on the probable drinkability of a particular wine. Storage conditions can make a difference between a bad and good bottle of the same vintage.  And even if the wine has been properly stored, bottle-to-bottle variation is normal.  Short of an assessment by tasting, the appraiser can only provide comparisons to wines of the same bottle size, vintage (year), and maker.