Too valuable to drink

Was just perusing my holdings via Cellartracker and happened to notice the crazed values assigned to a couple of the wines I’ve got. I did not, and would never, pay those sums for any wine. However, someone apparently is interested in paying those sums.

My question is, at what point does the potential resale value interfere with your ability to just pop it and enjoy?

Damn you Eric! (insert overt sarcasm smiley here)

Depends on the circumstances. If I take the wine to a restaurant for me to enjoy, I would say that $500 is my limit. If I share it with fellow winos and I know them well, I would not hesitate to open any of my wines.

My guess is that 5-6 years ago vastly different numbers.


If it is something you want to try, pull the cork and count your blessings that you got in at a much better price. If the price it could fetch prevents you from enjoying each sip where you say “damn, this is costing me serious cash” then sell it. To me, that formula provides happiness either way. I have done both and have adopted that as my philosophy.

Really expensive one-off bottles in your cellar are best saved for offlines. They hedge your risk in case the bottle just wasn’t showing that well that day you opened it. It’s also a meal ticket to usually try a wide variety of seminal wines. But the utility of a bottle of wine is an individual matter that could not be ascertained by polling a crowd. It is entirely tailored to the individual.

I have far too many bottle that fall into that category. I’m thinking of selling a lot of them at very good prices. Maybe this fall. Be sure to check CC.

I’m not sure what the exact dollar amount is…but when I see that someone wants to buy a wine like my 2004 Lafite for $750 my first though is “sold to you”. I am sure it will be a great wine in a decade or so but I would rather parlay the money into a half case of Leoville Barton or Clos des Papes (insert any number of other wines here).


My sole bottle of Lafite is on its way to China.

It is a difficult question.
The main criterion is the income and the other expenses that you cannot achieve.
If there are some expenses that you cannot make, it would be illogical to open a wine which represents a significant percentage of your monthly income.

Another criterion is the age. If you are building your life, spend too much money on one single bottle is not wise. At my age, the consequences have less importance.

Having some very expensive bottles, I have talked with my children about what to do with these bottles if they exist after my death. And I have said that they should sell these bottles without hesitation, not keeping them in my memory. At their age, there are better expenses than thousands dollars on one single bottle.

That’s the first wine I thought of when I read this thread. Then I thought, “wait a minute, how often will I have a chance to open a $750 bottle of wine?” I’ll most likely drink it, but by the time I do it might be a $1,500 bottle of wine! [shock.gif]

Boy oh boy, Greg, talk about a coincidence…

I am performing the same exercise, though manually, since I’m a luddite when it comes to my cellarbook; everything’s on paper.

I’m not convinced that any wine is too valuable to drink; I’m in the camp that feels that since I paid whatever it was that I paid for that particular bottle, that’s what it feels to me that it is worth. I’m sure that the economists in our midst are aghast at my naïveté, but that’s how I feel; it’s neither scientific nor particularly logical.

At a rough estimate, buried amid all the rest, there are 12 or 15 bottles left in my cellar, all one-offs, that collectively are “worth” somewhere north of $10K. And with one exception, I don’t think that I spent more than $50 on any one of them.

I never bought to sell. I love to share. And I wrote “left” in the cellar, because in a small group, sharing great home-cooked food, I’ll pop one of these occasionally without any fanfare or buildup and watch the smiles bloom (usually…every once in a while there’s a dud, for any number of reasons, as we’ve all experienced).

The last bottle I opened this way was a 62 Vega Unico, with another pretty serious wine couple who invited us to a simple but exquisitely prepared dinner “en famille”, and it was stellar.

Pull 'em and drink 'em with a couple of other wine appreciators occasionally over a long leisurely meal / evening; it doesn’t get any better.

If I bought the wine to drink, regardless of its later appreciation as I cellar it, I will at some stage drink it.

The wines that have become valuable will be wines for the holidays, birthdays, vacations and such. I have several friends that have drank wines I will never have a chance to drink because of their generosity. I want to repay them or do the same for other friends.

But, I do not want to drink special wines with people who do not appreciate them. Though, I am an elementary school teacher and plan to retire in 5-6 years. I plan on drinking a magnum of Yquem with them- I figure everyone loves desert wines and drinking the best with them would be a token of my appreciation; they sure have helped me a lot throughout my career. But, I will never tell them the value or they’ll think I am crazy (okay, most of us are crazy with this stuff anyways).

When it helps pay the down payment on your first house, as 12 of my precious bottles did 4 yrs ago, good bye 82’ Mouton, 99’ DRC Riche, 86’ Mouton, 00’ Latour, 00’ La mission, ect, ect, ect…


I’ll open anything (and have - as Rich Trimpi can attest, I once brought two bottles of '86 Lafite to a blind Oregon pinot tasting [wink.gif] ).

But I have a related question for Greg - how do you get current values off CellarTracker? By that do you mean clicking the Wine Searcher link, or are you referring to some other feature of the software?

It’s an investment until you drink it…

Little fish here, but when I hit around $200, it is too much. With that said, I have a bottle of 96 Dom waiting for me when I retire or get promoted. I got it from a friend when I got promoted 5 years ago.

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We have some valuable bottles in our cellar. If money became tight, I could see selling some. But, honestly, I hope that day doesn’t come, and that we have lots of wonderful opportunities to enjoy them as the two of us or with family. We have opened some beauties for the special occasion of just being together and celebrating our happiness.


Only time I consider selling is if I find I don’t enjoy the wines any more, or the style, or the vintage proves to be a let down, and then usually you find you lose money rather than make it…

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