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  • Wine Buying Guide: Tips for Beginners to Collectors | Vinfolio

Purchasing best practices

Producer Spotlights

Where to buy hard to find wines

You have to be persistent if you want to find rare wines for your own collection, seeking out the few retailers that have those precious bottles in-stock. When you choose a quality online retailer you get the best selection and prices on the rarest bottles. If you enjoy seeing your wines in-person before you buy them a rare wine auction is an excellent choice as long as you have a solid game plan. If you have years to wait, a mailing list is a foolproof option. No matter how rare a wine is, it's not worth buying if it's from an untrustworthy source. Learn more.

How to identify a great wine

We talk a lot about trends in the wine world because trendy wines can mean fast profits for collectors. However, trends can also inflate the price of wines that ordinarily wouldn't get much attention. The first step to knowing a good wine is to look at the three qualities that objectively produce higher-quality vintages: oak, time, and terroir. On average, you'll pay $2 to $4 more per bottle for proper oak aging, and this price hike is well-worth the extra expense for serious collectors. Learn more.

Wine Ratings 101

When you see that a critic gave a vintage a perfect score, it's tempting to invest in that bottle before considering any other factors. What you must remember is that ratings can be flawed, even at major wine publications, and they are always subjective. Rather than relying solely on ratings, think of them as a small piece in the puzzle, using them to supplement your own research and experience with a wine. When vintages have received mixed reviews or have only been rated by a handful of people, their ratings are usually not reliable sources of information for collectors. Learn more.

How to decide which ratings to trust

Everyone's palate changes day by day and even hour by hour, so it's difficult for anyone to rate a wine with the same score every time it's tasted. Knowing this, how can a collector trust wine ratings at all? The key to getting the most out of wine ratings is to follow one of two steps: either choose to take advice from a wine critic with a similar palate as your own, or think of wine ratings as larger chunks of information, rather than relying on individual wine reviews. Learn more.

**Photo courtesy of The International Man

How to avoid buying faulty wine

A faulty wine can be a huge loss to your wine investment, which is why locating common wine faults is so important before you agree to buy a wine from a retailer. At Vinfolio, the most common faults we see during inspections include protruding corks (caused by heat exposure), damaged wine labels, broken authenticity seals, and signs of oxidation. We refuse to sell any wines with these problems, but some wine retailers will ignore these serious issues - putting the onus on you to spot them. Learn more.

The future of wine provenance is bitcoin

Bitcoin is going to revolutionize the way that wine provenance is understood in the digital age. Imagine a world in which you hold ownership of both a physical bottle of wine and a unique digital record that verifies exactly who owned the bottle of wine before you – traceable all the way back to the original producer. Bitcoin has created a platform that enables digital asset transfers across the internet. The wine industry is now presented with the opportunity to leverage an emerging technology to make digital provenance a reality. By associating each physical asset (a wine bottle) with a digital asset (a minuscule fraction of a bitcoin), one can create a traceable, pseudo-anonymous, decentralized, permanent historical archive of wine transactions. Learn more.