How to invest in: Wine

Bottles of wineMany of us enjoy the odd glass of wine - especially during the festive season. But, with research and a bit of luck, investing in wine can also make you richer.

Here, we explain how you can make money from your favourite tipple.

Demand for fine wine exceeds supply, and the price of a prized vintage can go up every time someone in the world drinks another bottle of it. Between 2000 and 2010, some of the famous Bordeux vintages even quadrupled in value.

And the good news is that any gains made on wine are not subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

As with all other types of investment, there is no guarantee that the value of your wine will not fall.

However, you can improve your chances of making a decent return by following the steps below.

Find a reputable wine merchant
The wine trade is unregulated, making it a haven for scam dealers looking to con naive investors into buying dodgy bottles of wine.

So make sure that you pick an established merchant with a good reputation and no consultation fee.

And don't forget to factor the 10% commission the merchant will take when you sell your wine into account when doing your sums.

Choose top-end wines
The wines that go up the most in value tend to be those produced by the most famous winemakers.

Consequently, you will generally need a few thousand pounds to get started by buying your first case of 12 bottles of a top wine.

Do some research before buying and check how long the wine will take to mature to its full potential - a really good bottle of Bordeaux, for example, can take 20 years or more.

Hang on to it for that long and the idea is that the supply will have become even more limited, creating demand from as far afield as China and Hong Kong.

Store it securely
You can, of course, choose to keep your investment wine at your home. However, it is easy to ruin an otherwise valuable bottle by failing to maintain the correct temperature, for example.

You will also have to pay an import charge of about £13 plus VAT on the purchases price for the privilege.

Most wine investors therefore prefer to store their bottles in a purpose-built warehouse to which they pay an annual storage charge of about £7 to £15 a case.

Consider other options
While buying individual cases of wine is the traditional method of getting involved in the wine trade, some exciting alternative investments have become available over recent years.

Fans of Argentinian wine, for example, can invest in the the Los Arbolitos Vineyard project, located in Mendoza, the country's best-known wine region.

Options available via the project include investing in the vineyard itself, which is managed by an expert on-the-ground team that sells grapes to local wineries and has projected retunes of about 15% a year on a minimum investment of about $200,000 (£129,000).

For around $250,000, meanwhile, you could build yourself a three-bedroom holiday home/investment property nestled among the vines.
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