Sir Alex Ferguson has launched an online auction of his wine collection. He has already sold the really expensive stuff at Christie's for almost £2.7 million, and now the rest of his collection has gone up for sale through Christie's online auctions. The estimates for the wines start at £340 for 12 bottles - which is relatively cheap for wine collectors and Manchester United memorabilia fans.
So should you buy?
The winesFerguson says he has been interested in wine since a scouting trip to France. He added: "The importance of collecting wine was that it served as a distraction and gave me balance in my life that helped me in dealing with the intensity and demands required of me as the manager of Manchester United. In retirement I now have the time to visit the places and people that will feed my passion, so I felt it made sense to release a large number of the wines I had collected over the years. I hope many will enjoy exploring my collection."
Estimates range from £340 for 12 bottles to £15,000 for 12 bottles - although the majority of the bottles are priced at less than £500 for six. Successful bidders will get a signed copy of the sale catalogue as well as their wine.
David Elswood, head of wine at Christie's said: "This collection includes a roll call of impressive wines." He added: "It is remarkable to see that Sir Alex's talent of picking quality players for the pitch also extends to picking sensational wines for the cellar."
Should you buy?The price of wine can go up dramatically. In 2013, the biggest gain was seen by a 2006 Masseto - which rose 45% in just one year. However, prices can fall just as quickly. In fact, the past three years have seen declines in the fine wine index, so many investors have been losing money.
If you invest, there are serious costs associated with wine. You'll usually buy it from a merchant, who will add another 15% to the price. Then once you have bought it you will need professional storage to keep it in the best condition - and this can cost £20 a bottle every year. Finally, you'll usually sell it back to the merchant, who will quote you a buy-back price with another margin taken out of your sale price.
If you don't know what you are doing, there's also a very real risk of being swindled. The Met Police highlights that given that it takes 2-3 years for En Primeur wine to be delivered - this provides a great opportunity for scammers to take the money and be long-gone. Even if you buy from a merchant, unless you have done your research, there's also a risk that you will be charged well over the odds for something inferior.
Ferguson has always highlighted that when collecting wine it was all about the love of the wine - the value was a secondary consideration. If this is your approach, and you can afford for the wine to fall in value - then there's nothing stopping you adding some to your existing investments.
Likewise if you're a fan with some money to spend, you might want to buy it to see if Ferguson's taste in wine is as good as the Christie's expert claims - although you'll have to add VAT and duty to the price you pay for it when you take it out of storage to drink.
However, if you cannot afford to take a risk or to drink your investment, you need to think very carefully before you consider investing in wine.