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Selling Old Ports

May 11, 2012
Question by: Susan, West Sussex, UK


Could you tell me how I can sell a bottle of 1945 Borges & Irmao port, I have had several estimates but need the experts, regards.


Hi Susan,  1945 was a declared year, and is in fact one of the great landmark vintages of the 20th century - if well cellared the best wines will still be drinking very well indeed.

Symington Family Estates are not active in the secondary market for Ports, nor is this one of our brands, so we are not well placed to advise you on the value of your bottle.  Your best bet is to consult a specialist wine merchant, such as Berry Brothers & Rudd, or an auction house that routinely handles fine wines, such as Bonham's, Christie's or Sotheby's.  Be aware that as a general rule only top vintages from top producers are sought in the secondary market, and it will have to be clear to any broker or potential buyer that the wine has been well stored and likely to be in good condition. 

Another alternative to the auction house route 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

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 the bottle, including exact wording on the label, describe the fill level of the bottle, the condition of the capsule and bottle generally (e.g. signs of leakage or staining)  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.

Both of these forums are very friendly and helpful places, and the members are very knowledgeable and will offer candid advice. Good luck.

Impresso em

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