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How to Resell Wine: Avoid Hefty Fines and Sell Fine Wines

Whether you’re a seasoned wine collector or new to the hobby, you can start reselling wine at any time. It helps if you already have a collection, but it’s not necessary. Those new to wine selling will just require more time to get started.  

You’ll undoubtedly want to get the highest price for your wines, so it’s essential to know the best process on how to resell wine. It’s critical to avoid fines, get the right licenses, and maximize your profits. Let’s go over that! 

Is it Possible to Resell Wine?

Yes, it’s possible! 

Wine retailers can sell to various buyers, such as restaurants, retailers, or wine collectors. Each of these buyers is looking for something different and requires unique strategies to reach them successfully. 

What Kinds of Wine Sell Well?

Older red wines that initially cost over $100 will sell well as they age. Over time, the taste improves, and they become more rare for buyers to find, driving the price up. Cheaper and newer wines don’t have much of a resale market. 

VinoVest recommends investing in Burgundy and Bordeaux wines, although their popularity is slowly decreasing in the market. 

Recent years have seen Italian wine, Champagnes, Rhone Valley, and US wines gain popularity. This trend is expected to continue, so you may consider investing in some of them. 

The top-selling wines in the market right now are Burgundy and Cult California Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Napa, according to The Wine Cellar Insider

What Is the Value of Wine?

The wine market is steady. Highly sought-after wines don’t change in value much over the years. Wine actually outperforms the stock market.

While some cheap wines are worthless, others can sell for over half a million dollars.

If you’re looking at reselling wine, you’d likely want bottles that cost between $100 and $5,000 upfront. The finer wines will gain more value, on average, over time.

Does Wine Lose Value Over Time?

It depends! Most wines will have an ideal window for consumption, and that is often many years after they’re bottled. Cheap wines don’t do this. 

Only 1% of wines are intended for long-term aging, while most will be best when aged in a bottle for 3 to 5 years. 

You’ll want to sell when a wine is in its prime, so it’s important to research that knowledge before buying or selling. 

Things to Consider When Reselling Wine

Selling wine requires careful consideration in your approach. It can sometimes be illegal, a poor and slow investment, or too difficult to sell. You should know what you’re getting into before buying a few bottles.  

Licenses and Legality

The most important thing with selling wine is doing it legally. One wrong move, and you’d face hefty fines. Most states have strict laws for individuals selling alcohol, so ensure you learn the right legal steps to become a wine seller. 

Nationally, it’s illegal to ship alcoholic beverages if you’re an individual without a license. Some states even restrict it in general. 

Before jumping in to sell wine, ensure you know which of these licenses you may need: 

  • A permit from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)
  • A retailer’s license for your state
  • A winery license from your state
  • An online sales registration with the TTB 
  • A state-specific shipper’s license
  • An out-of-state Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) license for shipping

Keep in mind these will each have fees associated with them. They vary based on the state, but if you’re sending only a few bottles to a state, it may risk profits. For state-specific information, check out this list from the California Winery Advisory

When to Sell Them

While the demand for wine is relatively steady, as well as the prices, there are times when you shouldn’t sell them. 

When the stock market is down, wine prices and sales follow. The buyers of these products are affected by the market and will approach buying luxury items with more caution. 

Certain wines, like roses, whites, and champagne, increase in price during the summer months. However, the warm temperatures of summer can damage the wine during the shipping process, so some buyers will hesitate to purchase them. Meanwhile, fall and spring are great seasons for selling all wines. 

Slow Process

Selling wine can be a slow process to maximize profits. It takes time for wine to age and gain value. Unlike other products, you can’t just buy and flip wine in a week. It takes years for the value to increase. If you’re looking for a quick profit, it may not be the best option. 

You want to wait until the bottle has reached maturation. Selling before this will significantly lower its value. Maturation will vary, but it’s 3 to 5 years with most wines. 

Value of Wine

Many factors determine the value of wine. If you understand these, you’ll be able to pick the best wines to invest in. 

Consider these factors:

  • Wineries historical background and standing
  • Winery’s categorization (e.g., Premier Cru, Grand Cru)
  • Quality of the vintage and prevailing weather conditions
  • Rarity or production volume
  • Terroir characteristics
  • Methods employed in winemaking
  • Presentation and packaging
  • Evaluations and ratings from wine critics’ tastings
  • Potential for aging
  • Whether it was acquired en primeur (while still in the barrel)
  • How many people have owned the bottle
  • Storage conditions over the years

You can use Wine-Searcher.com to determine the price of your wine or similar wines to one you might buy. 

Single Bottle Vs. Case

Many buyers stock their restaurants or bars. They need more than one bottle to sell, so they look for a case of 12 wines to purchase. Higher demand drives the price higher than if each bottle was sold individually. 

If you get a case of 12, ensure you keep the receipt and don’t bother opening one of the bottles. Some buyers will be hesitant to buy a case of 11 because they assume there could be something wrong with them. 

Where to Resell Wine

You have plenty of options as to where to resell wines, but here are the top 3 places that can give you the most profit:

Auction Houses

Wine auctions are the oldest methods for wine sales. Nowadays, they’re reserved for rare wines and large collectors. Getting a wine into an auction house can be difficult, but not impossible. 

There is often a minimum wine value to put it up for auction. This number varies, but expect it to be at least $2,500 for a bottle.

Those with wine collections to sell, ideally worth more than $20,000, will have better success in getting their wine into auctions.    

What Makes This Option Great

This is a great option for fine wines that have high value. The auction house will get many buyers’ eyes on the wine, and the competition can drive the price up higher.  

  • Fees/Commission: 6% is standard for a seller’s fee, but this will vary. 
  • Payment Methods: Bank deposit after sale of bottle 

Online Merchants

There are retailers online that will buy your wine from you and use their license to sell it. While commissions or fees will be taken, you’ll save overall on not needing your own license. 

The wine they accept doesn’t need to be the finest. They will usually want proper documentation, and then they will value it themselves for the sale. 

Some of the best websites to consider using are: 

What Makes This Option Great

It saves you the hassle of figuring out licenses and shipping. All you need to do is acquire the wine and send it to them. It’s much easier and quicker than other options. 

You don’t need the most expensive wines, either. It’s an excellent option for those who don’t have thousands to drop on the rarest bottles. 

  • Fees/Commission: This will vary based on the company. Finer wine companies charge greater commissions, around 10%, while others charge 1% as a seller. 
  • Payment Methods: Bank deposit after sale of bottle

Target Private Buyers

You can sell through avenues to private buyers. This may be through online groups, listings, a private wine community, or other ways. 

The most essential thing to know if you do this is that you’ll need the right licenses. As previously mentioned, this varies for your location, but you’ll want to be careful before you go shipping a bottle of wine. 

You’ll be dependent on your marketing tactics and wit if you choose to do this.

What Makes This Option Great

You don’t have to worry about fees or working with a third party. It’s a great way to find yourself a community of fellow wine lovers as well. What’s more, you can make use of Drizly delivery drivers to help you deliver wines to customers within your immediate area.

This is a good option for selling single bottles as well. Some other methods will only accept wine collections.

  • Fees/Commission: None!
  • Payment Methods: Up to you

What You’ll Need to Resell Wine

Selling wine is a simple process that requires few items. It’s easy to jump in and get started, especially if you already have a wine collection! 

  • Wine Collection: You’ll need to start buying wines that can appreciate over time. 
  • Wine Knowledge: Some wines won’t appreciate and will be a waste of money as an investment. It takes time to learn the industry, so you’ll need to gain wine knowledge before starting. 
  • Business License: Aside from the licenses and permits mentioned above, you’ll need to secure a business license before you can begin operating your business. 
  • Internet Access: Most routes to connect with buyers will require online communication.

How to Resell Wine: Step-By-Step Instructions

The wine-selling process varies based on who you want to target as a buyer.

Step 1: Determine Your Method for Selling 

Evaluate where you currently sit within the wine industry. Do you have a wine collection to jump in and start selling? Or do you need to acquire a wine collection first? Knowing this will help you determine your next steps. 

You’ll want to figure out who you plan to sell to and the route you want to take to target them. You can:

  • Sell single bottles to online merchants that will sell for you
  • Sell single bottles or collections via auctions 
  • Sell single bottles through personal connections 
  • Sell cases to restaurants or retailers

Step 2: Get the Licenses Needed

If you’re selling the wine to a buyer who will use it for their personal or commercial use, such as restaurants, retailers, or personal connections, you’ll need a liquor license. 

For any shipping, you’ll need specific licenses. It’s best to conduct thorough research to understand what you need depending on your state to avoid the fees. 

Step 3: Buy Wines 

If you don’t have wine already, you’ll need to get some. Research what wines will appreciate over time. Ensure you keep all documentation and store the wine safely. 

Wines can go bad if they’re stored improperly in hot or cold temperatures and decreases in value. If the bottle has any damage, it will also decrease in value. 

Step 4: Sell Wines

Ensure you pick the best time to sell each of your wines. Reach out to potential buyers, whether online or in person, and ask for a valuation. You’ll want to do the final valuation yourself so you don’t get undercut. 

In time, your network will grow, and you’ll be able to repeatedly sell to the same buyers and grow your business! 

Can You Make Money Flipping Wine?

It’s a great idea to think about starting a wine business to make money. Wine is one the best investments, averaging a 30% gain recently with less risk and volatility than other investments.  

What Is a Wine Resale Business?

Starting a resale business with wine involves buying and selling large quantities of it. You’ll be responsible for buying the right kind, storing it properly, and selling it at the right time. 

Is Reselling Wine a Good Way to Make Money?

Selling wine can be a great way to make money, but you must take into consideration the upfront money to invest and the slow process to see the return on your investment.

Reselling wholesale products like clothing or electronics will be a quicker turnaround, while wine takes years to turn a profit.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Wine Selling a Good Business?

Wine selling is a great business to be in. The demand remains steady; many people pursue it as a hobby because it’s so fun; and it’s a worldwide experience. 

Reselling wine is just the first step into the wine industry; you can grow your experience into many other career paths if you’re interested. Check out jobs like becoming a sommelier, wine salesperson, or vintner to continue your passion in this solid industry.

Is It Difficult to Make Wine?

Yes, making wine is a difficult process, hence why it’s so highly valued. While you can make cheap wine through simple fermentation techniques and juice, the entire process for fine wine is much more complex. 

Someone who knows wine well understands that the quality of the grapes, the climate they’re grown in, the process of creating the wine, and many others will change the tiniest detail in its flavor profile.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

If you feel that wine reselling isn’t a suitable business idea, here are other reselling gigs you can consider:

  • Resell Things From Walmart: Learn how you use retail arbitrage strategies to buy things from Walmart and sell them in other places for a profit. 
  • Resell Items From Goodwill: Goodwill is a goldmine for quality items at low prices. If you find the right items, you can sell them with a markup to customers who want them.
  • Resell Items From Costco: Not everyone has a Costco membership to get great deals. That’s why you can resell Costco items for their market value and make some money as a side hustle. 

Wrapping Up 

Selling wine is an excellent way to combine a hobby with a side hustle. If you’re a wine connoisseur or have a wine collection, you’ll have a fun time investing in bottles that increase in value over time.

Ensure you use the best legal strategies for your approach to selling, and you’ll be reaping money in no time. 

If this helped you with how you can sell your wine, comment or share it with your fellow wine friends. 

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