Champagne

A wide variety of champagne is offered for sale at regular auctions on thesaleroom.com.

Moet and Chandon 1959 Dry Imperial

Two bottles of Moet & Chandon 1959 Dry Imperial that sold for £400 at a McTear’s timed online auction that ended in November 2019.

Based on its quality, rarity, date and price, some bottles of champagne are bought to drink whereas others are bought by collectors or investors.

When it comes to buying champagne for consumption, many modern-day bottles can be bought at auction for less than retail.

For older bottles, the majority of examples available at auction cannot be found in shops.

Technically, the term ‘champagne’ refers to sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region in northeast France. The primary grapes used in its production are Pinot noir, Pinot meunier and Chardonnay.

Each champagne is made using a different combination of raw materials, fermentation techniques, distillation and ageing processes to achieve a unique flavour. Famous examples include brands like Moet & Chandon, Bollinger, Taittinger, Laurent Perrier, Mercier, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart and Dom Pérignon.

When choosing which champagne to buy, don’t be overwhelmed by what might seem at first like a complex area with its own terminology. Simply try to find champagne that you like by exploring the different taste of the different brands.

Beginners can search for information online to compare the specialities and heritage of different brands and you can then search for bottles available at auctions on thesaleroom.com.

Check the label on the bottle and the lot description to see how long it has been aged and the date of bottling – both will affect the character of the drink.

Champagne is offered at auction both as single bottles and as multiple bottles in a single lot. Bottle sizes include the Magnum (1.5 litres), Jéroboam (three litres) and even the giant Nebuchadnezzar (15 litres).

Bottles can make great presents – for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas in particular – so why not buy someone a great-tasting bottle or two? Prices at auctions are also normally better value than retail, so opportunities to a grab a great purchase abound.

Buying champagne to collect or invest

As well as being bought to be consumed, champagne (like wine and whisky) has also become a highly tradable commodity. Vintage bottles are now classified as one of the world’s leading alternative investments with rare bottles and cases helping to diversify an owner’s asset portfolio.

Once the preserve of dealers and restauranteurs, the necessary information to buy wine and champagne at auction is far more accessible than it was in the past. There are all sorts of statistics and indices to draw on and the auction room is a great place to learn about the merchandise with specialists on hand to offer advice on what you could buy based on your needs and budget.

Rare and collectable champagne can be bought online at auctions on thesaleroom.com across a wide range of price-levels and you can search for different brands like Bollinger and Dom Perignon using thesaleroom.com’s search facility.

Auctions offer the chance to acquire types of champagne that are no longer manufactured and can’t be bought in retail outlets. The fact that the supply of older vintages is finite and cannot increase means prices should, in theory, rise as long as the market remains consistent.

As well as the brand, vintage and age, values are affected by the condition of the bottle – especially the capsule, fill level (known as ‘ullage’) and label. Whether a bottle comes with its original box or packaging is also important to a collector.

Older bottles may not be drinkable but, as well as being collectable, they can look great on the shelf. Some buyers like to purchase a bottle from the year of their birth.

What to do next

Decide how much you’d like to spend and use the search facility on thesaleroom.com to find champagne coming up for sale.

You can filter your search by, among other things, price and by location of the auction house to narrow down your selection.

You will find a range of specialist sales in which all the lots are champagne, wine, whisky or spirits. Auction houses holding such sales will typically have an in-house expert you can contact if you need further information on a particular lot.

You can also find champagne on offer in other auctions where lots across many different categories are sold such as weekly general sales.

To research recent prices at auction to see how much different types of champagne sold for you can also try out our Price Guide.

If you are new to bidding check out our guide to buying at auction – it’s easy once you know how.

It’s worth checking whether the auction is a live auction or a timed online auction because many wine, champagne and spirits auctions are timed rather than live these days. Timed auctions can be good for novices because you have the opportunity to consider your bid for longer than you do during the thrill of the live sale.

And remember to take into account any delivery costs if you are bidding on an auction taking place far from where you live.

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