Ask The Expert

Question subject

Date Asked

Smith Woodhouse 1966

June 22, 2012
Question by: Graham, Montrose

Q:

We have a bottle of Smith, Woodhouse & Co 1966 vintage port.  As none of our family are port drinkers we feel that this bottle would be somewhat wasted on us.  Do you buy vintage port? and if so what sort of proice would you offer.  We have had the port for approximately 32 years all of which it has been stored on it's side, in a basket within a cupboard.

A:

Hi Graham, Symington Family Estates is not active in the secondary market for old Ports, so we cannot advise you re saleability or value of your wines, but we can offer some general guidelines.

We would suggest contacting a top specialist wine merchant in your area, or an auction house such as Bonham's, Christie's or Sotheby's for advice and valuation.  Any broker or potential buyer will want to know how the bottle has been stored, as this affects the potential drinkabiity of the Port. It is not clear from your comment whether your cupboard would have provided the kind of consistently cool conditions that are optimum for ageing Port.  To learn a little more about this issue from a buyer's perspective, you may want to read our article about Purchasing Vintage Port, and also look at our advice about Storing Vintage Port.

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 of these forums are very friendly and helpful places, and both have a thoroughly international following. 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 label, describe the fill level 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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