For the uninitiated, wine futures - buying at a set opening price in hopes that the wine will appreciate - can be a troublesome business. Oh, it's smooth to be able to talk about your Margaux and Latour futures. And good wines have appreciated in recent years. But so have stocks on the stock market and when the market turns, stocks are much easier to unload than wine. Indeed, in every state except Illinois, and in special cases in California, it is illegal to sell wine without a retail license.
One thing about wine: You can always drink it. But that can be risky, too. Most fine wines are drunk long before they are properly aged. Most of us can't resist. Only serious collectors with extensive cellars usually have enough wine on hand to be able to resist opening their best bottles prematurely.
The fact is that wine investing, like any other form of investing, should be approached with caution and a willingness to learn. As an example, it is probably safe to say that uninformed investments in the 1985 vintage could be quite a gamble. Many of the wines are exceptional; some are not. And the opening prices were high. The wines may not appreciate in the same manner as the 1982s. It is also well to bear in mind that there are experts, a minority to be sure, who are still not convinced about the 1982s. They think these wines will be short-lived ones that will never live up to the early notices.