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Question subject

Date Asked

Selling Old Ports

May 7, 2012
Question by: Shirley, Bournemouth, UK

Q:

I have 5 bottles of vintage port I would like to sell they are as follows:
J.W Burmester & Co. 'ld Oporto Colheita 1955 extra selected
Taylor's Quinta De Vargellas 1978 Vintage Port
Cockburn Vintage Port 1975
Taylor's 10 year Tawny port bottled in 1998
Vinho do Porto Messias Vintage Port 1984

A:

Hi Shirley,   Symington Family Estates are not active in the secondary market for Port, however we can offer some general suggestions.  First and foremost, any broker or buyer will want to know more about the provenance of your bottles and expect some evidence that the wine has been well stored since purchase.  For a buyer's perspective on these matters, take a look at our guide to Purchasing Vintage Port.  Note also that in general only Vintage Port from top producers is sought in the secondary market, though there may be interest in a Colheita.  A 10 Year Old Tawny, which was bottled ready for consumption and never intended for ageing in bottle, is not likely to be of any interest.  If the bottle has been stored in cool, dark conditions, you may still be able to enjoy this yourself.

If your wines have been well stored, we would suggest you contact a specialist retailer such as Berry Brothers & Rudd, who have the BBX on-line wine exchange where you will be able to look at recent prices for these or similar wines.  Alternatively, you may want to contact one of the auction houses that routinely handle vintage wines, such as Bonham's, Christie's or Sotheby's.   

Another alternative to the auction house route, particularly for odd bottles as opposed to full cases, is a private sale to a keen port lover. There are two internet chat forums devoted to Port: The Port Forum, which is UK based, and For The Love of Port, which is based in the USA. Both have a thoroughly international following, however. Registration is free on both sites, and you will find both are very friendly and helpful places; many of the members are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the secondary market for Port, and they can - and probably will! - give you candid advice.

On the Port Forum, post your query in the Port Conversations chat room. If you take a look, there are a number of threads like this already posted, with members offering advice re how the wines are drinking, price levels, etc. Interest in buying is usually expressed via the private mail function on each site, rather than publicly in the thread.

On For The Love of Port, go to the chat thread Port & Madeira Marketplace to post your message – and do read the Marketplace Disclaimer notice.

Post a full description of each wine, including exact wording on the label, describe the fill level and overall condition of the bottle, and all the information you can about when and where the wine was acquired, and very importantly, how and where it has been stored. If you have photos, you can post them, or send an email to the moderator asking for assistance, and they will add the photo into the thread.



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