Know Your Grapes – Appraising Wine

By: Cris Drugan ISA-AM, MIPAV-OS

Selecting an appraiser for your valuable assets is difficult enough; don’t get “tanked” over selecting one for your wine collection!

As with any appraisal, when selecting a qualified appraiser look for a formal, up to date, education in appraisal theory, procedures, ethics, and law. The appraiser you hire should also be familiar with the type of property you want appraised and know how to value it correctly.

Wine is no different.

Where a wine retailer, wholesaler or importer may have “in depth” knowledge of the product and the trade, they may not know how to proceed in researching the proper values that you need for your purposes. This is where the formal appraisal methodology training comes in. On the other hand, a well-trained and otherwise competent appraiser may not have the necessary expertise in the trade or product.

Wine, like other asset classes including art, antiques and firearms includes the areas of product knowledge, market knowledge and appraisal methodology. In an attempt to keep this simple, personal property appraisal methodology, industry accepted standards, will be assumed. (I know the problem with assumptions, no need to remind me here) Your appraiser must be well versed in all three.

In this article I’ll list just a few aspects of Product Knowledge. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list, just things to think about.

DOES YOUR APPRAISER KNOW...

> Wine Appellations: (DOC) Denominazione di Origine Controllata in Italy, (AOC) Appellation D’Origine

Contrôlée in France, (AVA) American Viticultural Areas, (DVAs) Designated Viticultural Areas in Canada

> Regional Classifications: Burgundy, Bordeaux, German

> Grapes, Grapes & More Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Nebbiolo,

Niagra, Pinotage, Delaware, Dolcetto, Sémillon, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir

> The Effects of… on the Product/Value: Climate/Micro-climate, Tannins, Alcohol, Bottle Size (size does

matter), Storage, Temperature, Relative Humidity, Bottle Color, Vibration (trick question? …or

not),FoilLabel, Condition, Ullage, Sediment, Corks v. Screw Caps

As with any appraisal, when selecting a qualified appraiser look for a formal, up to date, education in appraisal theory, procedures, ethics, and law. The appraiser you hire should also be familiar with the type of property you want appraised and know how to value it correctly.

Wine is no different.

In this final article I’ll list just a few aspects of Market Knowledge. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list, just things to think about.

Does your appraiser know…

> Wine Marketing: How are different wines from different countries marketed?

Winery Only, Wholesale, Retail, Restaurant?

> Provenance Where did the wine come from?

Winery, Broker, Auction, Private Collector, Wholesaler, Retail

> How it arrived?

Planes, Trains & Automobiles, (sorry, that was a Steve Martin and John Candy movie from 1987) Trucks,

Ships

> When it arrived?

What was the time of year shipped with respect to the countries Involved? Was the Heat or AC on?

> How it was stored?

In a Basement – temperature & humidity controlled? / Closet / Refrigerator /

> Primary & Secondary Markets for Sales – Wineries, Retail outlets, Live/Online Auctions

A qualified appraisal will include information needed to identify the item, validate ownership, document condition, authenticate (if necessary) and value the property. Because of the extensive marketing by the diamond industry, most everyone knows that among other identifiers, color, cut, clarity and carat weight must be included in a diamond appraisal. What should be included for wine? A qualified appraiser experienced in appraising the subject property will know and include the appropriate information in their appraisal report. The appraiser will also be knowledgeable in appraisal methodology and well versed in the current market trends in order to provide correct values. Qualified appraisers can also assist by providing appraisal reviews and market values for possible acquisition or sale.


About The Author

I am the Principal at Emerald Art Services, LLC and a “qualified appraiser” with an ISA-AM designation from the International Society of Appraisers since 1999.In 2013, I was accepted as an Overseas Member of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers in Ireland. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Kent State University and I am pursuing my Masters of Art, in Art History and a Certified Specialist of Wine certification through the Society of Wine Educators.

Visit Cris Drugan ISA-AM, MIPAV-OS's web site