Wine-futures season is approaching once again.
Given the sterling reviews the 2009 Bordeaux vintage received and the subsequently high prices the wines have commanded, it’s likely there will be significant interest in the 2010 vintage among oenophile-clients.
Unfortunately, it’s also the season for wine-scam artists to trap the unwary.
Last year at this time, the wine media reported on an alleged futures-scam in China, where demand for top-quality wines has been booming. Reports indicated that some merchants in Shanghai were taking customers’ money for the top Bordeaux futures with no plans to deliver the wine.
Timothy Clew, a managing partner of the Wine Trust, a wine investment firm and wholesaler in Ridgefield, Conn., offers the following advice to help wine-futures buyers navigate the market successfully.
One, minimize the counter-party risk. Stick with established and reputable wine merchants that have a history of delivering the goods.
Wine futures are orders for wine that is still sitting in the barrel, which means there will be a lag of at least 18 months between payment and delivery to the buyer.
It pays to shop around for the best price, but beware of merchants and traders offering significantly discounted deals.
It’s the usual caveat emptor, says Clew: “Generally speaking if the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.”