Picture the scene: you’re clearing out the spare room, and you can’t believe the amount of stuff that you didn’t remember you owned. What are you going to do with all the books, trinkets and long-forgotten holiday souvenirs? Trudge to a car boot sale – or stick them on eBay and see what happens.
Auction sites like eBay are fantastic for selling curios, knickknacks and the like – but as a platform to sell wine online in the UK, especially bottles with some real value, you’re just not looking in the right place. There are practical and legal reasons for this but also – more importantly – you’ll find it tricky to realise the true value of your wine.
We find it hard to believe that you’d take your wine collection to a car boot sale – and similarly, you shouldn’t sell your fine wine on a site like eBay.
What you need to consider before selling your wine
Firstly, there are legal hurdles to overcome: primarily that you can’t sell wine without an alcohol licence. You also have an obligation to go through all sorts of other legal hoops to ensure that the person receiving the delivered bottle is aged over 18.
If you sell a bottle or a case of wine online, you also need to think of how you would get it to the purchaser. You could just sell to people who live locally, who can actually come and pick it up in person, but this severely limits the potential purchasers you can reach.
Offer it to everyone, regardless of distance, and you’ll have to pack it up and send it via courier to its destination. Every courier has different rules about carrying alcohol and liquids, but you can expect to pay a premium to guarantee safe delivery of breakable glass bottles, as well as having to pack it really well to avoid breakage.
You also have to manage the risk of your purchaser not being happy with what they receive. What if there’s a breakage, or the wine turns out to be corked? Maybe the purchaser decides he or she doesn’t like what he bought? These are all complications you could happily do without.
Selling wine bottles on eBay in the UK
You could, of course, quite legally sell the bottle on eBay – just not its contents. However, unless you’ve got a few empties of Bordeaux first growths lying around, the value still might not make the online auction worth your while.
Believe it or not, there really is a market for empties of these top wines: rare examples of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild are particularly popular, as each year since the end of the Second World War the Chateau has commissioned different famous artists to create a piece of art for the label, making the bottles exceedingly collectible.
But the busy trade in empty fine wine bottles also has a darker side. In recent years, top wine companies have taken to destroying the empties of leading Bordeaux and Burgundy vintages after tasting events, to remove the risk of forgers refilling them with fake wines and selling them on. Empty bottles have sometimes changed hands for as much as £300 a piece.
Your bottles are likely to be full: so aside from the legal issues, there are also practical reasons to avoid online trading platforms for selling wine, which can seriously affect your bottom line when selling. We all love to find a deal, and eBay is undoubtedly great for putting products in front of a lot of possible buyers – but it doesn’t do much for realising the potential value of your cherished bottles.
Aside from eBay, there are other online trading platforms too, some of which even specialise in selling wine. Yet they still have to cope with the same issue – they’re not really designed with the seller in mind.
As a seller of fine wine, you want to convey all the positive attributes of the wine you’re offering, from the condition of the bottle and its contents to the history of its provenance and how it’s been stored over the years.
That’s what we, The London Wine Cellar, do best. Based on examining all those factors, we can explore the market and achieve the best possible price for you, the client. Online platforms won’t proactively seek out the best offers for your wine from around the world: nor do they make you a distinctive net figure offer on enquiry. We’ll do all of those things for you as part of the service, and offer a uniquely hassle-free, fast, and fault-proof way of selling wine.
Try finding that on eBay.