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© Ric Einstein 2009
Wine Investment Question
The following exchange took place by instant message on a wine forum and I
thought readers may find it interesting. The person who is asking the questions
is fairly young for a wine lover, and lives in a small country in the northern
hemisphere, for the purposes of this exercise, we will call him Tom.
Tom: I am looking into going into Australian Cult wines. Could you please list
Australian wines you consider cult and if possible info about them. Thanks in
TORB: When you say "going into" tell me more please. As an importer, for
investment, or what?
Tom: As a collector, I know these wines will age
good and well. I would like to buy some for drinking while others maybe for
TORB: I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm but "cults" are for mugs.
The reason I say that is two fold. First, they cost far more than wines that are
just as good. Secondly, trying to make a profit from them is a mugs game,
especially when you are not in Oz. If you want to buy for drinking/cellaring I
am happy to help.
Tom: Well I would like to cellar some of those
wines and drink them but some of those high RP scored wines can be in 10 years
be the next Chateau Petrus. This is the list wineries that I am interested in:
Wild Duck Creek
RL Buller Calliope
Amon Ra Godolphin
How much Greenock Creek Block Shiraz 2001 case would cost in Australia (was
TORB: At this point I asked for his email address so I could provide a
more lengthy response.
TORB Responds: Where does one begin to discourage this point driven
madness? As far as list of wines is concerned, I have wines from eight of those
producers in my own cellar, and although I have access and could probably
purchase wines are from the majority of the rest reasonably easily, have chosen
not to do so. Even those that I have purchased from, have been done so for one
reason and one reason alone, I actually like the wine.
The thought of how many points Robert Parker has awarded the wines, or anyone
else for that matter, have not entered into my purchasing thought pattern. In
many cases, and this is important, the wines have been purchased before Robert
Parker's points have even been published.
Why is that important? The answer that is simple. Once the wine is awarded a
stratospheric score by Parker, the cost goes up exponentially as the greedy
sharks in the distribution chain take advantage of the feeding frenzy of the
buyers who make their purchasing decision based on Parker's scores.
The only way to make real money on these Australian wines, which wind up getting
high Parker points, is either be in Australia where access is easier, or to get
lucky enough to be able to find a label that Parker eventually rates very
highly. If you live in Europe, the chances of either one of these two is pretty
Whilst some of the wineries listed above make some very good wines, not all of
them will be rated highly, and if they are purchased in the northern hemisphere
after they have been rated very highly, the chances are those in the
distribution chain will have already absorbed a large percentage of the
There are a couple of other factors to take into account here as well. A lot of
the highly rated Bordeaux classics, have a very long history and track record of
producing outstanding, very long-lived wines. Only about five wineries of those
on this list have been in business for more than about 20 years. What also has
to be seriously questioned is the ageing ability of many of the wines produced
by these wineries. Based on my experience, the majority of wines produced by
these wineries will probably the best consumed between approximately 7 and 12
years of age. There will be some exceptions to that, but they will be in a
minority. This age worthy factor is important when considering investing in
Parker's influence on Australian wine also needs to be considered. A number of
years ago when Australian wine was "the newest in thingĒ, a high Parker score
would send the market into a frenzy. Nowadays, unless a wine scores something
like 96 points and is under $30, there isn't a stampede to buy it.
Finally, just because the wine scores a very high score, does not mean that the
purchaser will actually like the wine when they pull the cork. So after all
this, if you are insistent upon buying some of these wines because they are
"cult" be prepared to pay a hefty premium for doing so, and the possibility that
should you be stuck with them, you may not even enjoy drinking them.
If you want to invest in something, wine and Australian wine that, would be
about the last thing I would consider.
© Ric Einstein 2007