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Value of Vintage Ports

October 3, 2012
Question by: Jackie, London, GB

Q:

I would like to know the value of the following bottles of Vintage Port: Grahams - 1980. Warre's - 1977 and 1960.  Offley - 1983 and Quarles Harris - 1980, 1977 and a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1965.

A:

Hi Jackie,  What a nice collection of Ports, and fine bottle of claret you have!  We hope they have been well cellared in a cool, dark place, also that you will consider enjoying these superb Ports yourself, with family and friends - do take a look at the tasting notes for Graham's 1980, Warre's 1977, Warre's 1960, Quarles Harris 1980 and Quarles Harris 1977.  The Offley is not one of our Ports, but 1983 was generally an exceptional vintage.  If you do decide to open these bottles yourself, be sure to look at our guidance on Decanting and Serving Vintage Port.

Symington Family Estates are not active in the secondary market for Ports so we are not well placed to advise you on the value of your bottles.  Your best bet is to consult a specialist wine merchant, such as Berry Brothers & Rudd in London, or an auction house that routinely handles fine wines, such as Bonham's, Christie's or Sotheby's.  

Be aware that you will have to satisfy 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.



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