How to Invest in Wine

The buzz around wine investment has dimmed in recent years, but what are the pros and cons? We ask around to find out if you can still make a profit from wine. 

Words David Brookes


Wine investment is a funny beast, as it tends to inflame passions. It can make your ears prick up at the thought of diversifying your current investment portfolio with a sneaky few glasses of top-shelf wine along the way. Or if you are a purist, the very thought that wine can be considered in such a way may repulse you. A middle ground no doubt exists – purchasing wines with the aim of selling a percentage of the bottles to fund your hobby – and this probably sums up my attitude. But whatever the path, the best piece of advice is simple: research is the key to any success.

Despite the fads and fashions of the wine industry, certain wines have historically fared better than others in investment terms. First released in 1991, the Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine has become the benchmark for investment in Australian wine. It ranks this country’s best-performing wines, based on market demand and secondary (or auction) market performance over time. 

Wines in this classification are ranked in four categories depending on their secondary market performance: Exceptional, Outstanding, Excellent and Distinguished. In the Exceptional category, you will find the blue-chip Australian wines that need no introduction; 17 wines in the current classification range from the iconic Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace to long-time solid performers, such as Rockford's Basket Press Shiraz, Brokenwood Graveyard and Wendouree Shiraz. 

As is expected, certain wines have dropped off this classification over the years, but the top performers have pedigree and with research (there’s that word again) into vintage conditions and cellaring potential, there can be returns to be made from the blue-chip wines. 

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