How the scam works:
As you grew older your taste buds started to appreciate wine more and more and, before you knew it, you became a wine expert - or at least you consider yourself one.
You know how to differentiate a Shiraz from a Cabernet, so time brought you a nice wine collection in the basement. Your chats with the local liquor store manager became more interesting, and he occasionally brings in the store specific great wines you request.
As your hobby grows and you start reading about the annual Top 100 wines you get hooked. Not only wanting to own a bottle to drink, you also start to think about investing when coming across descriptions like “Elegant, with aromas of cherries and wild red berries, this 95-point Pinot is estimated to triple its value, by 2018”.
Not only are you a wine connoisseur, but now you clearly see the investment in it, too! These high rated wines are hard to get, so since the store manager can’t bring them in, you desperately start looking for them online, just like several other wine enthusiasts. This is where the scam occurs.
Say you finally find a certain wine online, and the seller is a distributor who has great reviews and testimonials, such as “Our award-winning company keeps your investment wines in specially built rooms, 15-feet underground, at the perfect temperature. This way, at its peak, your wine will be ready to be picked up and enjoyed or make you money (in 2018)”.
Scammers advertise in specialty wine magazines their “rare to find” wines, create amazing websites crammed with the perfect pictures and descriptions (sometimes fake virtual tours!), a ton of fake reviews – and start selling. A few years from now, when the investors want to collect their wines, the crooks are long gone.
How to avoid:
To better understand the process of wine investment, look at the items (bottles) the same as you look at the gold bullion opportunity (you buy it, but don’t see it, knowing it’s in a safe place). In order to buy the bottles, you have to do a lot of research on the seller. It’s even more difficult than gold, since you can’t even buy these wines locally, but try to find other testimonials about them.
Look on wine forums about what people say, find and talk to somebody who actually picked up their wine. Ask a couple of journalists or bloggers about it. Don’t be shy - it’s not easy, but it’s worth the time, trouble and money – lots of it.
Make your friends and family aware of this scam by sharing it, using the buttons above.