Selling Wine on Consignment: Strategies for Staying Legal and Finding the Best Consignment Service

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A few years ago, a Chowhound forum member faced a problem many collectors have when they suddenly inherit a huge wine collection: how to sell the bottles on consignment. The writer was brand new to wine, and had no clue what the wines that had been willed to him were worth on the market. “I don’t have the space for it, unfortunately, so I need to sell it off. The thing is, I’m pretty sure most of it isn’t in great condition,” the writer explains. What would you do in this situation? Not only do you need to decide whether the bottles are worth selling in the first place, but you need to find the best consignment service for the job. The best wine consignment services offer collectors a diverse range of options, regardless of whether the collector has prior experience selling wine. Here are the qualities your wine consignment service should have.

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Powers Winery to hold Renewable Energy Farm Walk

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Bill Powers was the owner and founder of Badger Mountain Vineyard in Kennewick, Wash. The Washington wine hall of famer died in 2014. The 73-acre vineyard is certified organic, and the production building in the background is topped with solar panels. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

KENNEWICK, Wash. – In a sense, every day is Earth Day at the organic Badger Mountain Vineyard and solar-powered Powers Winery, but Monday brings something special as the Columbia Valley property stages a Renewable Energy Farm Walk.

It is a public event that also will serve as a living tribute to the vision and groundbreaking work by the late Bill Powers. His son Greg continues to lead the vineyard and the wine program, and he’ll be a part of the afternoon event along with head winemaker Jose Mendoza.

“It’s a way to promote what we – as a company – are about,” Greg Powers told Great Northwest Wine. “The big focus of this event is on solar energy, but we’ll also talk about the organic growing of our grapes. These are things that we believe – as human beings – are the best ways to do things.”

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How Much Do Wine Auctions Charge Collectors in Fees, and Should I Buy Wine from Auctions?

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Buying or selling wine at an auction isn’t a decision to make lightly; although most auctions are staffed by knowledgeable experts who check bottles for authenticity, there’s still a risk when you buy or sell wine at auctions. For starters, many of Rudy Kurniawan’s wines were sold through auction houses, which is one reason he got away with selling fake wines so easily. At the time, wine industry veterans thought of auction houses as infallible, and they were shocked to discover that even esteemed auction houses had been duped by Kurniawan. In addition to fraud risk, major auction houses don’t allow bottle returns. If you buy a bad bottle, you can’t get your money back from the auction house, and you can’t go to the winery for a refund either, since you technically never bought the bottle from the winery.

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Building a Meaningful Wine Collection as You Transition from Casual to Serious Collector

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An acquaintance of mine adored wine, but for some reason, he hated calling himself a “serious” wine collector. When he imagined a serious wine collector, he envisioned stuffy, wealthy elitists who own thousands of bottles in their enormous home cellars and read nothing but Liv-ex reports and Wine Spectator reviews in their down time. Even as he made fun of these imaginary collectors, I watched as his collection grew from a handful of fine wine bottles to his very first wine case, and from that first case to hundreds more bottles; the same man who once owned only Oregon Pinot Noir now treasured his Abreu, Hundred Acre, and Margaux vintages. When he could no longer keep all of his bottles in one place, he was forced to admit that he had become a serious collector. This often happens with wine collectors: they buy bottles so slowly that they rarely ever experience a single moment when they realize they’ve become serious collectors. Yet it’s essential for wine lovers to recognize when they’ve made this transition. As one wine writer points out, if you go into serious collecting without a solid plan, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed.

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The Best Winery Tasting Rooms That Every Collector Needs to See in Their Lifetime

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Estates like Robert Mondavi Winery offer a wide range of tasting tours designed to cater to both beginning wine lovers and seasoned wine collectors. Photo Credit: David Ohmer

Wall Street Journal wine columnist Lettie Teague says that Joan Fennell runs Washington’s Chateau Ste. Michelle with an iron fist. Fennell requires every staff member in her tasting room to be knowledgeable about the wines and provide every guest with the best winery tasting room experience possible. At one point, Teague was watched Fennell critique one of the wine tour guides; the guide had forgotten to explain why Chateau Ste. Michelle never rinses out guests’ glasses between wines (there is too much chlorine in the water). This might seem like a minor detail, but for Fennell, it was an absolutely essential part of the wine tasting. As she explains, when a winery opens its tasting room to the public, it is offering a vital service to wine collectors. One oversight could taint the reputation of the winery itself, and potentially the reputation of the entire wine region. For collectors, a wine tasting can make or break their opinions of a wine forever; some collectors miss out on incredible wines simply because they weren’t able to try them first.

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Feds establish Lewis-Clark Valley AVA, modify Columbia Valley

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Rivaura is a young site in the new Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticultural Area along the Clearwater River near Juliaetta, Idaho. (Photo courtesy of Lane Hewett)

Perhaps it did take a small act of Congress, but the Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticultural Area becomes official today.

The Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued a statement Tuesday that it will publish a final rule in the Federal Register to establish the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA, identifying a 306,658-acre segment within the historic grape-growing region surrounding Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Wash.

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