Investing in wines

- If the stock markets' wild ride this January is starting to make you sick, maybe it's time to consider a little "winevesting," i.e. investing in wines. At Sherry-Lehmann on Park Avenue in Manhattan, you can put your money in Bordeaux wine futures, buying the 2015 vintage straight out of the barrel before it's bottled and shipped.

In April of every year, Chris Adams, the CEO of Sherry-Lehmann, travels to Bordeaux with other wine merchants and the press to taste barrels of the previous vintage. This April they'll try the 2015 vintage, harvested last fall. They'll share their opinions on the wines and prices will be set. Those 2015 wines will be available for investment this summer, then will be bottled in 2017, and shipped in 2018.

The minimum purchase to put a little liquid in your portfolio? Sherry-Lehmann asks that you spend $100, whether that's in one case of wine or one bottle. But to really make money investing in wines, you may need to shell out a little more.

Adams says investing in Bordeaux wine futures can really become interesting and profitable, if you have a few thousand dollars to spend. Is it possible to have a wine down the line that's gone up $10,000, $20,000, even $30,000? Adams says absolutely. It takes some time, but it can happen with special vintages.

One of the best parts about buying wine from the barrel is that you can bottle it however you like, even in large formats like magnums (the equivalent of two bottles), double magnums (the equivalent of four bottles), or imperials (the equivalent of eight bottles). Those bigger bottles are more rare and, according to Adams, can be more valuable.

They're not only considered trophies, but they also allow the wine to age slower because the proportion of wine to air is much greater. He says they're certainly worth considering as part of your Bordeaux futures strategy.

Adams says that historically Bordeaux futures have proven to be a very solid investment is not in question. If you invested in these wines in the 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s, your money today would be relatively safe.

Getting rich off Chateau Latour, Chateau Lafite Rothschild or Chateau Margaux is not guaranteed, but when it comes to investing in these financial times, Bordeaux futures may leave you with less of a hangover.

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