What is Wine Trading?

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Contributor, Benzinga
June 29, 2023

According to Survey Monkey, roughly 75% of Americans drink wine. The drink generates significant business for wineries, restaurants, vineyard owners and other groups. Traders also take part in the beverage’s success by trading wine. Just like stocks, wine can gain value over time, and some wine bottles yield incredible returns. Wine trading is a segment of alternative investing, and based on the returns, it’s easy to see why investors stay in this industry. 

How Does Wine Trading Work?

Wine trading involves buying and selling wine, hoping to make a profit in the process. Investors hold onto wine bottles for months or years before flipping them. They use online marketplaces to find wine bottles and list their inventory. While waiting for a wine bottle to gain value, the investor must carefully store the wine to ensure the bottle remains in good condition and the wine is still of good quality. Wine has to be stored at a constant temperature of 53-54 degrees Fahrenheit. Some investors store wine themselves, but most of them store their assets at a local wine locker.

Top Strategies For Wine Trading

Investors have several ways to profit from wine trading. Here are some of the most common strategies.

Bulk Wine Trading

Bulk wine traders buy entire cases or containers of wine instead of individual bottles. Buying wine in bulk reduces the average cost of a wine bottle. Traders can then decide to sell their bulk containers or sell individual wine bottles. Selling individual wine bottles takes more time but can also increase your profits.

Futures Trading

Wine futures let the buyer lock in a price for their favorite wine. Traders can use futures to trade wine bottles in the market or ones that will be released in the near future. If a wine’s value significantly increases, the futures contract will gain value and reward the buyer. Futures also tend to have lower prices than the wine’s price at release, allowing the investor to secure a discount. 

Spot Trading

Spot trading allows wine investors to immediately purchase wine and receive it at a specified date. The spot price is the market price for an asset, and you can get wine upfront instead of waiting longer for a futures contract.

How to Trade Wine

Wine trading can be profitable, but it’s a bit different from buying stocks at your favorite brokerage firm. While there are some differences, the basics of wine trading mirror stock trading.

Educate Yourself

Educating yourself on the wine market can help you discover good wine investments. Investors have to decipher what characteristics profitable wine investments have in common and if an investment opportunity lives up to those traits. Vintage, critical ratings and the producer each impact the value of wine. Staying updated on industry news can keep you ahead of other wine investors.

Research Wine Marketplaces

Some wine marketplaces are better than others. Shopping around and comparing wine marketplaces will help you find a reputable marketplace with reasonable fees. Investors should also filter their search to wine marketplaces with plenty of activity.

Set Your Budget

You shouldn’t rush to commit your life’s savings to wine trading. This asset has risks, just like any other investment. Know how much you can afford and decide how much of your investment portfolio will consist of wine. Investors should consider their financial goals and risk tolerance before trading wine.

Identify Investment Opportunities

Every asset has traits that indicate good and bad investments. Some wine investments can double in value within a few years. Researching investment opportunities and learning more about the wine industry will help you decipher good investments from unprofitable ones.

Monitor the Wine Market

The wine market plays a role in wine valuations, similar to how stock market trends impact individual stocks. Subscribing to newsletters, reading blogs and participating in online wine groups can help you stay on top of the news. Investors should also look at historical prices for specific wine brands, bottles and other assets.

Determine the Right Time to Sell

Monitoring the market and walking into an investment with an exit price can help you lock in gains. Some investors hold onto their wine for too long and miss out on opportunities to sell wine bottles at higher prices. Timing is a critical element for any trader, and staying on top of wine industry news can increase the likelihood of optimal timing.

Manage Your Wine Portfolio

A wine portfolio should consist of several wines. Savvy traders also keep track of their costs to acquire wine. While stock brokerage firms list the cost basis for you, traders have to calculate their purchase price, storage costs and other fees related to holding wine. Knowing these fees will help you calculate your total returns from each bottle of wine you trade. Each wine trader should assess their performance and make appropriate adjustments to their portfolios.

Seek Professional Advice

Wine traders should surround themselves with experts in the industry. Each expert can give you a new perspective and provide feedback that can improve your wine trading strategy. Wine experts, brokers and financial advisers are some of the people who can guide you in the wine industry.

Factors That Can Affect Wine Trading

Getting started with wine trading can be exciting and open the doors to higher returns. However, it is important to know which factors impact wine trading before you get started. These forces impact wine prices and can be responsible for significant gains or losses.

Vineyard Location and Climate

A vineyard’s location influences how wine grows. Some areas have better positioning for sun exposure than others, and more sun exposure leads to higher-quality grapes. Vineyards located within 30-degree to 50-degree latitude are optimal, and a consistent, moderate climate can yield better wine. Less predictable climates can lead to unexpected outcomes that ruin the wine.

Wine Quality and Vintage

Wine quality and vintage impact the taste of the wine. These two elements influence wine trading prices. Higher-quality wines and rarer vintages will command higher values.

Economic and Market Conditions

Wine, like any investment, is subject to economic and market conditions. Wine investments perform better when the economy is strong, and consumers have more disposable income. While macroeconomic economic trends impact wine prices, traders must also consider market conditions within the wine industry.

Advantages of Wine Trading

Wine trading provides several advantages, including the following:

  • The potential for higher returns: Wine investing can attract high returns for investors. Some wine bottles outperform the stock market. 
  • Portfolio diversification: You don’t just have to rely on stocks and real estate. Alternative assets like wine can give your portfolio more opportunities to grow and help minimize losses.
  • Stable investment: Wine doesn’t have volatility spikes like stocks. The asset is subject to downturns like any other asset, but wine investments have proven stable in the long run, averaging annual returns of roughly 10%.

Disadvantages of Wine Trading

No asset is perfect, including wine. Here are some of the disadvantages associated with wine as an asset.

  • Storage: Wine traders have to pay storage fees to preserve their assets, and you’ll also have to get an insurance policy. It’s more work than buying stocks, but wine investing can yield good returns.
  • Temptation: If you like to drink wine, you will have to resist the urge to drink a wine bottle you’ve held onto for several years. Some wine investors may drink their investments away if temptation gets the best of them.
  • Liquidity: Wine isn’t as liquid as stocks. It can take days or weeks to sell wine bottles. Wine marketplaces connect you with other wine enthusiasts and investors, but it can take a while to move the asset.

Comparison: Wine Trading vs. Long-Term Investments in Wine Stocks

Trading physical wine takes more work than trading wine stocks, but you have more control as the bottle holder. Investors can realize greater profits if they trade wine bottles, but wine stocks offer an easier way to get into the industry. You also don’t have to worry about storage fees or insurance premiums. It’s also easier to back away from wine stocks if you don’t feel like the industry is right for you. Beginner wine trading mistakes can also be more expensive than beginner wine stock trading mistakes, but you can minimize your downside by allocating less capital to wine.

Trading Wine for Profit 

Wine traders profit from buying wine and selling it at a higher price. Some wine investors hold onto bottles for several years before selling them, while other wine traders keep bottles for a few months. Investors have several ways to approach wine investing and other alternative assets. Staying on top of the industry and learning as much as you can will increase the likelihood of becoming a profitable trader.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the risks involved in wine trading?


The risks involved in wine trading include potential losses, the bottle getting mishandled, high storage and insurance costs and other risks.


How do I start wine trading?


How do I start wine trading?


Who can participate in wine trading?


Anyone can participate in wine trading.

Marc Guberti

About Marc Guberti

Marc Guberti is an investing writer passionate about helping people learn more about money management, investing and finance. He has more than 10 years of writing experience focused on finance and digital marketing. His work has been published in U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, InvestorPlace and other publications.