Fine wines can be bought in a variety of ways; here we explain the processes involved in buying wines under bond or duty paid, and the way in which fine wines need to be stored in order to reach their full potential.
While much of the wine sold today is designed for immediate or almost-immediate drinking, a small number of wines improve with age and need to be cellared for a period of time in order for them to be enjoyed at their best.
There are ideal conditions under which these wines should be stored so that they are aged in a consistent manner. The wines should be kept in a relatively humid environment, free from disturbance, heat and light. This is most easily supplied by an underground cellar, in which the temperature remains almost constant. An alternative is a specialist bonded warehouse, such as Vinothèque.
Storing in a professional wine storage facility is ideal for serious collectors of fine wines that need very long term ageing, as well as those looking to wines as an investment: wines can remain under bond, allowing the payment of duty and VAT to be delayed, and provenance (key in future resale value) is assured.
If you are storing fine wines at home, you ideally need to find somewhere that is away from direct sunlight and where the temperature is relatively constant and cool (between 10 and 15 degrees). This can be quite difficult in today’s centrally heated homes, which is why some people choose to invest in a wine cave (wine refrigerator). We also recommend that you keep the bottles on their sides. This allows the wine to remain in contact with cork, keeping the cork moist and therefore maintaining an airtight seal on the wine. If a cork dries out completely, it can shrink and allow air to enter the bottle, causing oxidisation.
Buying Fine Wine
When buying fine wines, it is possible to purchase them either duty paid or under bond. With very young wines from particular regions, it is even possible to purchase them before they are bottled.
Wines offered for immediate delivery must bear duty and VAT charges, and these are built into the quoted price.
Buying in bond allows you to spread the cost of purchase by deferring the payment of duty and VAT on your wine until such a time as you wish to have the wine delivered.
En Primeur is a French wine trade term for wine which is sold prior to being bottled, for delivery at a future date.