First of all, wines are for drinking and appreciating, please don’t treat it as a profitable investment.
In the fine wine market, prices of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne has been increasing dramatically over the past decade. Wines from famous and prestigious producers are extremely difficult to get hold of, let alone the absurd price. Sadly, it is the reality that the token for fine wine experience is outrageously expensive. But here are a few methods to buy and appreciate fine wines at a more ‘reasonable’ price.
- En Premier (wine futures)
En Premier is a very common practice for wine appreciators and spectators. You can buy bottles of wine (usually by case of 6 or 12) before they are bottled. This process allows you to secure the wines at a fairer price and guarantee of authenticity of wine. But do consider the time it takes for the wines to mature and storage cost. En premier happens once a year and last around a month. Burgundy en premier in January, Bordeaux in April/May.
- Fine Dining Restaurants
There are a good handful of fine dining restaurants around the world that have direct allocations from prestigious producers like DRC, Armand Rousseau, Petrus, Jacques Selosse, etc. These allocations allow restaurants to buy their wines at a cheaper price, and usually they have agreements with the producers that they cannot sell the wines above a certain price (sometimes below market price). So you can actually enjoy a bottle of prestigious wine as low as 50% the market price. I have seen DRC on restaurant wine list for less than £5000 compared with £11000 retail. Enjoy a nice bottle in a nice restaurant.
- Visit the winery and buy directly (may not be possible)
Sometimes it is worth driving to Champagne or Burgundy to buy wines directly from the producers. It is likely that you will be able to meet the producers and try their wines, as well as the option of buying their wines dircetly (often cheaper than retail price!). I have found several small grower champagne houses that sells fantastic Champagnes at 20-30€, and I am sure there are many more to discover! Please note Bordeaux doesn’t sell wines directly to customers as they have a long and traditional relationship with their negociants.
- Tasting Events
There are numerous tastings events every week in London. For other locations please check with your local wine merchant for their wine events. Decanter magazine host some of the biggest wine events in London and Shanghai, their events can be easily found on their website. West London Wine School has tasting class almost every day. Berry Bros. & Rudd has a range of tasting events from £40 to £4999.
- Wine Gathering
Last but not least, host your own wine nights at your place or at a restaurant that you can BYOB (bring your own bottle). Wine gathering is a one of the best ways to maximise your wine experience, you get to share wines with friends as well as the opportunity to try new producers and regions. If the party has a dozen of people, you can taste twelve (or more!) bottles of wine at the price of one (assuming you brought one bottle to the party). It is also a lot more fun to share the wines than to drink alone!