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With the WAWL (Wine- and Auction Watchlist) you get the latest information about:

> Price development of cult wines at online auctions
> Newcomers = wines that are newly offered on eBay
> Up-and-comers = Winning wines that have reached new record prices
> Relegated = Losing wines that have reached new low prices
> Auction News

Price development

The auctions in September were sensational!!! The wine auctions on eBay experienced a real price boom in September. Cult wines achieved top prices in rows. Rare top wines in special format bottles from the magnum upwards experienced price increases of unbelievable 40-60% compared to the highest prices valid until then. Above all, it was again the top vintages of the Premiers Grands Crus Classes that caused a sensation. Some examples from my Wine Price Index (WPI):

Wine (content) Highest price so far Highest price September 2006
Lafite Rothschild
1986 (1,5l)
571,00 850,89
Latour 2003 (0,75l) 415,09 479,00
Le Pin 1979 (0,75l) 511,00 955,00
Pavie 2003 (0,75l) 273,22 362,00
Domain Romanee Conti 2003 (0,75l) 2350,00 3990,00

These are only 5 of almost 200 new prices registered in September alone and can be viewed in my WPI.
The prices of the blue chips of the wine world (mainly Bordeaux) have risen so much, perhaps because there is hardly anything available from the much-cited super vintage 2005 and people prefer to put their money into other top vintages and even save money. The top vintage of 2003 is also currently fetching sensational prices


The first available bottles of the 2004 subscription vintage from Bordeaux changed hands. Surprisingly, at prices that were higher than the subscription prices of various well-known trading houses. Proof enough that there are still enough eBay members who (unfortunately) think that eBay is always cheaper than large wine merchants or specialist wine shops.
However, the comparison shows that one should look very carefully: Chateau Montrose 2004 (0.75l) at a wine shop in Cologne 45.99 and on 24.09.2006 at eBay 56.00. This corresponds to a difference of more than 20%. In favour of the merchant, mind you! Even with cult wines from Austria, you are often better off with a trusted wine merchant.

Rising stars

1. France
Domain Romanee Conti 2003 fetched more than twice as much for a 0.75l bottle on 16 September as it did a year ago. Then: 2350.- This year: 3990.- The seller of Le Pin 1979 fared similarly: On 7.11.04 still 511.- this year already 955.- Among the rising stars are again the PGCC from Bordeaux. The top vintages consistently achieved new record prices at all Premiers.

2. Italy
Rising stars? Missing! Hopefully soon. The 2003 vintage seems to have succeeded.

3. Spain
The top rating by Parker for the Pingus 2003 also brought top prices (last 422.00 for the 0.75l bottle).

4. Austria
The Austrian cult wine "Mystique" from top producer J. Pöckl was alone again as an up-and-comer. With the 2003, one seller received 251.09. A price that is spent for very good Latours and Lafites. The price for a Salzberg 2002 (G. Heinrich) in the magnum bottle almost doubled. From 198,90 to 334,33. Last but not least, one paid 222.88 for the rarity of Ernst Triebaumer's "Mariental 1986".


are some wines at the end of their maturity, like Lafleur Petrus 1981 from 82,10 from 2005 to 46,30 from 09/2006. Surprising for me - a very well preserved bottle of Lafite Rothschild 1961 changed hands for only 128,00. A wine that was rarely available on eBay for less than 400,00.

Auction News

Today's Auction News is dominated by ~bold offers~ and ~presumed fraud~.

On 27.08. a seller from the Netherlands posted the following offer
"Mouton Rothschild 1983, Pauillac, 1st GCC, 0.75l" Then in the item description the following
"90 Parker/19 Rene Gabriel/22 Saul Steinberg".

The offer was supposed to last 7 days and the photo showed a Mouton-Cadet that never, ever received these ratings. A few days later I looked at the offer again and saw not only withdrawn bids but also a revised description: "Offer is for 1 bottle of Mouton-Cadet Philippe de Rothschild 1983, Pauillac". It was fortunate that the seller showed a photo and responded seriously to bidders' enquiries.

At the end of September, the section "Gourmet/Wines/France" was dubious and involved large-scale suspected fraud. Various members (registered in Germany) had only English ratings and NO activities for almost 5 years. For me as an observer of the wine scene on eBay a clear case of member account abuse. 5 bottles of Imperial ( 6.0 litres) Mouton Rothschild 2002 for 4,565.00 final price!!!! Sensational and I was the winner. Unsure whether the intention to defraud I suspected really existed, I wrote to the seller in Kiel and requested self-collection and payment on the spot. I never received a reply.

Almost the same ratings and a similar profile (no activities since 2000, only English ratings from customers who had mostly terminated their membership) was used by someone for what was probably another cracked membership account for the sale of 1x 6-bottle case of Masseto 2001. I had entered 1,480.00 to observe the offer and was only in 5th place with this bid in the end. Nevertheless, one day later I received a >Bid to losing bidders<!-- Remarkable when you have 5 cases of Masseto 2001 at your disposal

Since the offer was only sent to me by email and not - as is correctly handled on eBay - via the "My Messages" section, I knew exactly what to make of it. I bought and promptly received a payment request with very strange details as the purpose of payment. 11 hours later, the seller was blocked by eBay. Bad luck for the buyer or buyers who had already paid. The money is almost certainly lost. The first negative reviews soon followed!

Unfortunately, the same will happen to the unfortunate buyers of Mouton Rothschild 1995 in original wooden boxes! Here, too, even (at least) 9 losing bidders were contacted and each case was sold off at a real bargain price. Unbelievable that 3 days later this case of Mouton 1995 was put up again and found bidders, although the valuations should have put EVERY halfway interested bidder on alert.

Other (by me suspected cracked accounts) were reported to eBay, but with very reserved reaction (automatic emails). There was more understanding and support in the eBay forum. Some aggrieved buyers came forward. More bans followed, but not all of them. Moreover, all this takes far too long, much to the chagrin of various members. That's why wine lovers appreciate local traders or reputable eBay sellers all the more, and there is no doubt that they exist! Above all, more and more reputable and equally well-known dealers are offering their wines on eBay.

Email (xxx=privacy of original message) from eBay regarding the allegedly cracked and abused eBay member accounts to me:

Subject: xxxxxx Someone else's eBay account is being used illegally xxxxxx

Hello Werner Feldner,

thank you for your support.

We have checked the mentioned account and have taken appropriate measures
Measures have been taken.

The auctions are no longer on our site.

With kind regards

xxxx xxxxx
eBay security team

eBay - The worldwide online marketplace!

So eBay reacts more gratefully than dismissively. Understandable, because the fraudsters are usually quicker here too. Expensive wines are and always have been of interest to counterfeiters and crooks. Therefore, dear reader, it is better to ask too many questions and to pay only after you have scrutinised everything again after you have won the auction. Or do as I do - buy from the dealer, because buying wine is a matter of trust.

With vinophile greetings from Austria.
Werner Feldner

Addendum as of 18.10.2006
eBay has meanwhile blocked all 4 of the sellers I reported! In the meantime, however, more have been discovered. More news in the next issue of WAWL.

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