Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

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What is the best investment format for age worthy old world wines (20YRs)?

750
32
29%
Mag
65
58%
Double Mag
15
13%
 
Total votes: 112

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Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#1 Post by Sh@n A »

I believe most online resources suggest going with magnums for investment, due to their slower aging profile, rarity, and larger mass (which can withstand temperature swings better). A reputable retailer has taken the other side, saying (i) the past decade has seen a shift in preferences [except for very old vintages] driven by newer markets out of HK/Asia who are less interested in large formats, (ii) 750s generally liquid (e.g., 24/7 bid for 750s, but not necessarily the case for mags). This would be Bordeaux (1st) which can comfortably age 20YRs in a 750 format in a good vintage, so the time advantage of the magnum is a little less so important?

Do folks agree with this shift to 750s?
Do Magnums only make sense these days if you are looking to age 30+ years?
Would your poll vote change if it was not 20YRs, but say 10YR or 50YR?
If you prefer Magnums, at what % premium over like-for-like 750ml bottles is 'too much' to pay? 10%? 15%? 20%?
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#2 Post by Russell Faulkner »

If I want to drink it. Magnum

If I want to sell it. Bottle
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#3 Post by YLee »

I personally don't know why people would want to buy wine as an investment.
I can make so much more investing in stocks or property.

That said, if I had to pick it I would think you would get more bids for 750 than any other sizes.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#4 Post by Jason T »

YLee wrote: June 24th, 2019, 12:13 pm I personally don't know why people would want to buy wine as an investment.
I can make so much more investing in stocks or property.

That said, if I had to pick it I would think you would get more bids for 750 than any other sizes.
No doubt there are a handful who have made good money investing in wine. However the (vast) majority are likely unable to comprehend/assess the risks associates with wine investment, as well as the unique costs (storage, insurance, auction premiums etc)
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#5 Post by Sh@n A »

Votes are more split 50/50 (thus far)
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#6 Post by Kelly Walker »

Mags only for Champagne
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#7 Post by Rauno E (NZ) »

Putting aside the follies of "investing" in wine, I think magnums are the way to go. All the reasons OP has listed, and not too big for most consumers. Just because people in some markets struggle to finish a 750ml doesn't mean we should drop standards ;)!
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#8 Post by Tom Reddick »

The margin has narrowed some in recent years, but for most regions the magnum is still going to get you the better return overall- especially as the wines get older.

For drinking purposes, most of the few really knowledgeable collectors I know whose experience goes back to pre-phylloxera times will tell you that the magnum is the ideal format for very long term aging. If you have access to their archive- noted collector Bud Moon of Houston wrote a superb opinion piece on this in the Wine Spectator many years ago. That op-ed sums it up quite perfectly. But remember that we are talking very long term here- in other words wines you would be buying long after their original release. The argument is far less compelling if you are drinking the wines within 20-30 years for the most part.

On the other hand- if you, like many, are planning to drink the wines but want to take a bit of an investor approach to ensure you get the best return in case you are eventually forced to sell the bottles, then I would say go the route that best suits your drinking habits. From a drinking perspective- having double the number of bottles makes quite a difference, especially if you find yourself needing to sell part of your collection but still able to hold a few back. I am not sure the magnum premium "just in case" is worth disrupting the value of having more actual bottles in the 750 format.

3L and larger formats are not a great investment. Even in the 3L size, I have observed the risk of leakage goes up, and at auction such bottles sometimes sell for an incredible premium, and sometimes not at all. Much more volatile pricing there.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#9 Post by Russell Faulkner »

There’s certainly more liquidity with 750s.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#10 Post by Herwig Janssen »

Magnums are the real deal . I don’t care too much about resale value but the wine is in general just so much better . Compare Pichon Comtesse 82 in bottle and magnum and the difference is huge . The bottle is fully ready and shows elements of aging while the mag is still fresh . Agree that you need 30 to 40 years to show the real difference .
Don’t buy larger formats with age . In those days , the corks were not good and most large formats that are old today leak . Today , they probably know better what to do and I buy on occasion but it is not practical .

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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#11 Post by Mark Golodetz »

From an investment point of view, magnums. From a drinking point of view, and you are planning to hold onto the wines, also magnums. But for a Berserker, who tends to like to sample multiple bottles at a sitting, fifths.

Personally, I love to serve magnums to four people. In most dinner gatherings, there will be at least one person who is actually not that interested in wine, and a magnum tends to reduce the winespeak part of the evening. Almost every time I am dining non wine friends, I will serve magnums. The bottle is impressive, and once served takes a back seat in the conversation. My biggest problem serving multiple magnums is finding large enough decanters. (BTW this is a huge problem with really large bottles. With imperials, you have to have a row of decanters ready, which is often a quite messy).
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#12 Post by Kirk.Grant »

Russell Faulkner wrote: June 24th, 2019, 11:37 am If I want to drink it. Magnum

If I want to sell it. Bottle
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#13 Post by Bob Davis »

YLee wrote: June 24th, 2019, 12:13 pm I personally don't know why people would want to buy wine as an investment.
I can make so much more investing in stocks or property.

That said, if I had to pick it I would think you would get more bids for 750 than any other sizes.
I've done both. But selling several vintages of Marcassin wines at an average 4x cost was the best investment we ever made. Sold about 3 years after acquisition. All 750's.

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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#14 Post by BLaird »

The pure pleasure of drinking a bottle of wine remains even if it's a loss financially. The same can't be said for the stock market or real estate. Which is why I only invest in wines I would enjoy drinking myself. I find I can never lose. [cheers.gif]
YLee wrote: June 24th, 2019, 12:13 pm I personally don't know why people would want to buy wine as an investment.
I can make so much more investing in stocks or property.

That said, if I had to pick it I would think you would get more bids for 750 than any other sizes.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#15 Post by Nick Gangas »

Watching the auction market, if you are talking Rousseau chamberlain or Roumier Bonnes Mares. There is a nice premium for mags. If you are not talking at this level then I would advise you do not invest.

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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#16 Post by YLee »

BLaird wrote: June 25th, 2019, 7:50 am The pure pleasure of drinking a bottle of wine remains even if it's a loss financially. The same can't be said for the stock market or real estate. Which is why I only invest in wines I would enjoy drinking myself. I find I can never lose. [cheers.gif]
YLee wrote: June 24th, 2019, 12:13 pm I personally don't know why people would want to buy wine as an investment.
I can make so much more investing in stocks or property.

That said, if I had to pick it I would think you would get more bids for 750 than any other sizes.
I agree with you on that because you arent really buying just for investment purposes. You buy what you like and if it goes up enough for a profit, sure why not.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#17 Post by Sh@n A »

Larger formats now winning out (on the clickable poll). What I find interesting is some folks prefer drinking out of magnums but going for 750 for investment... I personally believe markets are efficient over the very long term, so if people prefer drinking out of magnums, then the magnum premium is justified and at equivalent would be the better investment at equivalent price to the 750ml (e.g. EP). But often the magnums are at entry purchase, so the question would then evolve into tracking magnum premium evolution at auction over time.... for which there is no great data set as the magnum premium for wines made 30YRs ago (when wine making/storage was perhaps more volatile) may not be relevant for the next 30YRs.... and indeed the answer may not be obvious enough for one to assume the modestly greater illiquidity (depending on the bottle/vintage).
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#18 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch »

Except for a few types of wine - Port, Sauternes etc, the premium for older wines at auction is significantly higher for magnums.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#19 Post by James Kennedy »

Based on my recent (online) auction experience, 750s sell at higher price points than mags. With my anecdotal experience selling identical wines in different sizes, 750s are coming in about 20% higher price by volume. Examples are American wines ranging from 3-15 years old.

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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#20 Post by Jürgen Steinke »

Investing in wine is risky as is investing in anything else. Who knows what the world and the economy is in 30 years? Drinking wine is part of the modern lifestyle. Cognac was in fashion 30 years ago. Its a pretty small market today. And furthermore the prices for iconic wines are very high today.

I recommend that people enjoy wine with friends around the lunch or dinner table. That is what wine is made for.

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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#21 Post by Mark Golodetz »

James Kennedy wrote: June 25th, 2019, 8:14 pm Based on my recent (online) auction experience, 750s sell at higher price points than mags. With my anecdotal experience selling identical wines in different sizes, 750s are coming in about 20% higher price by volume. Examples are American wines ranging from 3-15 years old.
The sampling of young American wines is probably not representative. There is sense in the market place that they may not age as well as their European counterparts, so it doesn’t matter as much if you buy fifths or magnums. There are exceptions of course, for instance, there is a premium for large format Ridge, which does have a history of longevity. As with anything else, quality and rarity will dictate the market.

There is still a strong and vocal section of this board who feel buying wine for investment is anathema. While I sympathize and understand that there is purity in never selling a bottle of wine, wine is a commodity, and Investors are a significant part of the market. They take delivery, pay the costs of storage, insurance, opportunity cost, and release it as they see fit. They need to show that it has been perfectly stored, so periodically they bring back to market immaculate product. As has been said, it is a risky thing, and for the most part costs exceed returns. Not lately though, particularly for Burgundy, but at some stage, even the wealthiest of consumers will balk at paying four figures for a slightly better than average bottle, and even here we will see some correction.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#22 Post by Chris Blum »

Wine as an investment vehicle? ....good luck.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#23 Post by James Kennedy »

Mark Golodetz wrote: June 26th, 2019, 6:12 am
James Kennedy wrote: June 25th, 2019, 8:14 pm Based on my recent (online) auction experience, 750s sell at higher price points than mags. With my anecdotal experience selling identical wines in different sizes, 750s are coming in about 20% higher price by volume. Examples are American wines ranging from 3-15 years old.
The sampling of young American wines is probably not representative. There is sense in the market place that they may not age as well as their European counterparts, so it doesn’t matter as much if you buy fifths or magnums. There are exceptions of course, for instance, there is a premium for large format Ridge, which does have a history of longevity. As with anything else, quality and rarity will dictate the market.

There is still a strong and vocal section of this board who feel buying wine for investment is anathema. While I sympathize and understand that there is purity in never selling a bottle of wine, wine is a commodity, and Investors are a significant part of the market. They take delivery, pay the costs of storage, insurance, opportunity cost, and release it as they see fit. They need to show that it has been perfectly stored, so periodically they bring back to market immaculate product. As has been said, it is a risky thing, and for the most part costs exceed returns. Not lately though, particularly for Burgundy, but at some stage, even the wealthiest of consumers will balk at paying four figures for a slightly better than average bottle, and even here we will see some correction.
Ridge Monte Bello is the exact wine I was referencing. 03, 08, 14 and 16 were the vintages

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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#24 Post by EmmaGray »

I would also go for mug

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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#25 Post by HoosJustinG »

If you’ve beaten the S&P with your wine investments, you’re either 1) Buying highly allocated wines that can immediately be flipped for significant profits (essentially no risk) or 2) Lucky.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#26 Post by HenryB »

yes, but in the case of (1) in your example, then happy days.


For me personally, if you want to readily trade wine, bottles is probably better (more standing offers, easier to sell, etc). If you want to wait until high end wines are in their prime, then magnums are the way to go.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#27 Post by Andrew K. »

Notice how all the businesses selling wine as an investment are selling young wine. If it were such a good investment why is your business model not to hold it all yourself and sell it in 20 years?
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#28 Post by HenryB »

Andrew K. wrote: March 9th, 2021, 11:05 am Notice how all the businesses selling wine as an investment are selling young wine. If it were such a good investment why is your business model not to hold it all yourself and sell it in 20 years?
To be fair, wine merchants dont want to deploy the capital. Why would they? They're in the retail business, not the investment business. Their job is to take the 10% commissions on individual transactions, not making profit on long term held wine.

Governments already had to introduce the idea of delayed payment on duty/VAT on wine to help them with their cashflows :D

In my experience many people who work for wine merchants do invest in wine personally.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#29 Post by C. Mc Cart »

Your poll sub heading says (20 yrs), which I don't consider long term. I mean does 2000 or 2001 get any special age or rarity factor at an auction today?

If buying to sell at 20 years - bottle
If buying to sell at 40 years - mag.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#30 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

Not only must mags hammer for more $$/oz than do 750s, but the ROI needs to be greater, too. Don't lose sight of that.

As others have said, I'm not sure investing in wine is a good idea. I agree magnums for Champagne is the best idea. For still wines, my gut tells me 750s would be better --- but that's just my gut, and is based on no data whatsoever; salt grains, and all that. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#31 Post by Ian S »

Once you add in the cost of temperature controlled storage for a decade or two, wine is a loss.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#32 Post by Kirk.Grant »

YLee wrote: June 24th, 2019, 12:13 pm I personally don't know why people would want to buy wine as an investment.
I can make so much more investing in stocks or property.

That said, if I had to pick it I would think you would get more bids for 750 than any other sizes.
This...100%

My investments grew 21% this past year. My wine cellar value probably only 2-3%. While there are wines that appreciate in value, it's not a good investment as there are so many things that could go wrong. Maybe, maybe you find the next "hot producer" but the idea of making money on wines 20 years later is a very low probability to me.

Just to get a rough idea of what 20 years does in value I typed in 2000 into wined.com. The 2000 Mouton Rothschild is selling for $1600/bottle. That's about 3x the release price. If you invest $400 and it's assumed to double every 7 years that same $400 is worth $800 at 7 years, $1600 at 14 years, & $3,200 in 21 years. Are there wines that performed better? Sure...but the odds are slim. Buy wine to drink...
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#33 Post by HoosJustinG »

HenryB wrote: March 9th, 2021, 8:56 am yes, but in the case of (1) in your example, then happy days.


For me personally, if you want to readily trade wine, bottles is probably better (more standing offers, easier to sell, etc). If you want to wait until high end wines are in their prime, then magnums are the way to go.
Happy days indeed, but you’re still going to make more on your investment (9/10 times) by just immediately flipping the wine for profit and then investing the cash as opposed to holding onto the wine for future sale.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#34 Post by dougwilder »

Magnums, certainly as a rarity. Years ago I attended several consecutive Hospices of Sonoma auction on behalf of Vinfolio. My reason for being there was to acquire a number of different lots for our clients. Typically they were 10 cases, split into an 'a' and 'b' lot. When I was the successful bidder the winery would come over and present me with a magnum of one of their wines. After being high bid on both lots of KB. I glanced at the back labels and saw that these were numbered 'x of 20 magnums ' produced. These were commercially available wines and it didn't take long for me to realize I had 'potentially' 60 magnums of something that wasn't available elsewhere, then I got to throw away the catalog and custom blend whatever I wanted with Michael Browne. There are probably good arguments for 3 liter bottles of first growth or burg to hold for decades. The bigger the bottles, the more care they require. I had a customer buy some mags and drive them home on a summer day in the cab of his truck and the corks pushed within an hour.
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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#35 Post by Br1an Th0rne »

The thought of making a “long term investment” in wine makes me shiver. That said, I believe that for red Bordeaux, magnums will offer a better return over the long term. And by long term, I mean 50+ years; certainly more than 20. I don’t think most 2000 or 2005 Bordeaux command much of a premium right now in magnum format, but the 1961’s certainly do!

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Re: Magnums vs. 750s for Long Term Investment

#36 Post by Mark Golodetz »

Br1an Th0rne wrote: March 10th, 2021, 4:49 am The thought of making a “long term investment” in wine makes me shiver. That said, I believe that for red Bordeaux, magnums will offer a better return over the long term. And by long term, I mean 50+ years; certainly more than 20. I don’t think most 2000 or 2005 Bordeaux command much of a premium right now in magnum format, but the 1961’s certainly do!

I don’t have the figures, but just by looking at auctions, it seems there is a greater percentage made in the modern era than in previous ones.
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