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Wine Insurance

Six Figure Offer Rescinded Due to Wine Damage During Storage

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Winston Art Group recently shared a very thoughtful and well put together case study on an inherited wine collection. The case study illustrates why proper storage and care is critical to realizing value over the life of the collection.

This particular collection had been meticulously created over 30 years. That’s three decades of buying and collecting wines many of which were purchased directly from the Château or a trustworthy retailer. Upon purchase, each bottle of wine was stored in the collector’s cellar. This cellar, however, was not climate-controlled nor stored correctly.

After the death of the collector, the family put the collection up for sale. Shortly after they received a six-figure offer. When the collection was being vetted and prepared for shipment the buyer found bottles with tattered labels, low filled levels. Bottles were covered in dust, partially leaking or actively leaking. Some bottles looked to be stored correctly, but upon testing, those bottles proved to be undrinkable.

Wine can easily become undrinkable when it is exposed to changes in temperature and humidity. If bottles are stored upright instead of on their side their corks will dry out and the wine begins to evaporate. Think of the six crucial concerns of storing wine when setting up wine storage.

Due to the state of the collection, the six-figure offer was rescinded.

Luckily Winston Art Group was allowed to create a case study to share with their users and wine drinkers alike. Collectors should read it as a cautionary tale.

Visit Insure Your Wine to learn how we can help protect your collection.

To read the full case study visit, Winston Art Group.

Creating the Best Wine in California

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In the December 2nd edition of the Capital Gazette online, Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr detail the development of one of the best wines in California.
It starts with Jess Jackson of Jackson Family Wines setting out to create the best California wines ever. A meeting between Jackson’s wife and Monique Seillan (the wife of a Bordeaux wine maker) solidified the partnership between families. Thus Vérité was born, one of California’s most collectable and expensive wines.
At $390 a bottle, this is a wine meant to be collected and enjoyed. According to Tom and Patrick, “the depth and complexity of these great wines are unparalleled in Sonoma County.” Wine critic Robert Parker awarded it 100 points. You can read the entirety of Tom and Patrick’s article at the Capital Gazette.
Beginning a collection whether it is with a $390 bottle or something a little less expensive is an investment of time, money and often emotion. Protecting that investment is key to peace of mind and realizing a return. One way to ensure your collection is safe is to purchase a comprehensive wine insurance policy from Insure Your Wine.
A comprehensive insurance policy will protect your wine from devastating events like the back-up of sewers, drains and sump pumps. Back-ups of this nature can destroy a basement wine cellar.
A key component of any comprehensive wine policy is the protection of wine while it is in transit. Collectors sometimes move or ship their collections to offsite storage facility costs. While in transit wine is at great risk of temperature changes, vibrations, breakage and more. All of which will decimate the value of a wine collection.
To learn more about our comprehensive wine policies, visit our Wine Policy page. Read the entire Capital Gazette article, here.






Wine Fraud and Arson Detailed In New Book

By in theft, Wine Insurance Comments Off on Wine Fraud and Arson Detailed In New Book

Investing in rare and fine wine can be a great way to enjoy wine while realizing a potential return. Like all investing, however, it doesn’t come without its risks. In a recent article for the New York Post, Larry Getlen, writes about two of the biggest crimes committed against the fine and rare wine industry, both of which are detailed in a new book by Frances Dinkelspiel.9781250033222

Outlined in Dinkelspiel’s new book, “Tangled Vines” and in the New York Post article, are the stories of Mark Anderson and Rudy Kurniawan, each of whom severely hurt the fine and rare wine industry in their own ways.

In 2005 Anderson, who had been illegally selling his clients’ rare wines for years, set fire inside of the massive Wines Central warehouse in California, where he rented a 2,500-square-foot bin to store his clients’ wine collections. The warehouse held over 4.5 million bottles of fine and rare wines which were stacked on pallets, stretching some forty feet high and the length of two football fields.

Over a quarter of a billion dollars worth of wine was destroyed in the fire and it took firefighters up to 8 hours to get the fire under control. Anderson was ultimately sentenced to 27 years in prison and ordered to pay $70.3 million in restitution, but even these harsh punishments wouldn’t help some of the small wineries who had most or their entire inventories stored at the warehouse. Many of them discovered that their insurance would not cover the damages because wine in a warehouse was considered “in transit.”

In addition to Anderson’s arson charges, a man named Rudy Kurniawan affected the fine wine industry, but in a different way – fraud. Kurniawan, who quickly became the wunderkind of the wine world, was at one point spending up to one million dollars a month to collect coveted wines and was said to have the greatest cellar in America.

Kurniawan began setting records at fine wine auctions, bringing in millions of dollars at each one. The problem was that many of these bottles were fraudulent and his operation was later discovered.

Even though Kurniawan’s fraud was eventually found out, it still inflicted real damage to collectors and the industry as a whole as collectors became more and more suspicious of the authenticity of many of the wines up for auction. Global auction sales of rare and fine wine dropped 19% in 2012 and another 13% in 2013. Some believed this was a direct result of the fraud committed by Kurniawan.

These two stories are the very extreme of what could happen to wine collectors and their collections, but they still offer sound lessons. Many collectors store their wine in off site storage facilities like Wines Central. And while wine storage facilities typically have systems in place to protect the collections they store, such as sprinklers, back-up generators and even humidity controls, it’s impossible to plan for events like arson or fraud.

While there is certainly some level of protection on these wine collections, most don’t realize the significant gaps in their insurance coverage. Having a comprehensive wine collection insurance policy can give peace of mind to wine collector or wineries.

A policy from Insure Your Wine will provide protection from drain or sewer back-up, while wine is in transit, from hurricanes or floods and much more. Learn more about our wine insurance services at


Read the entire New York Post article at




Still On The Hunt For The French Laundry Thief

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920x920Last Christmas dozens of bottles worth an estimated $300,000 were stolen from famed restaurant, French Laundry. One month later, the collection, with the exception of 4 bottles, were recovered in NC. But, the thief still remains at large.

According to the sheriff’s department the recovery was brokered through a lawyer who was less than helpful. None of the three sheriffs that flew to NC to recover the collection were able to meet with the person who gave up the collection.

Despite the strange way the collection was recovered the sheriff’s department is still determined to find the culprit. “This is still a priority for our agency,” said sheriff’s Capt. Doug Pike. There have been musing around Napa Valley that the theft was an inside job, “That is one of the theories that we have contemplated as well,” Pike said, according to a SF Chronicle article. Interestingly, the alarm was not armed the night before the theft took place.

One piece of the puzzle not mentioned in any of the articles is if the collection was returned in the same condition in which it left French Laundry. As collectors know slight changes to temperature and the vibrations of a nationwide move can wreak havoc on a wine’s value. For example, if the vibrations of the move caused air to seep into the bottle and loosen the cork the wine could spoil and lose its value.

This is why having a wine insurance policy from Insure Your is a smart move. While such a policy will not fend off possible thieves, it will protect you from theft as well as damage during transit in the unfortunate case that your collection is compromised. Having a policy to protect your investment can not only give you peace of mind, but can allow you to relax and enjoy your collection.



Famous Wine Merchant Loses Thousands of Dollars in Wine Due to Theft

By in theft, Wine Insurance Comments Off on Famous Wine Merchant Loses Thousands of Dollars in Wine Due to Theft

1+BBRweb+1Berry Bros. & Rudd (BB & R), the famous wine merchant to the Royals, lost crates full of “luxury” bottles of wine due to theft. Burglars cut a hole in the side of BB & R’s warehouse and stole some of the finest wines the wine merchant had on hand.

Cutting a hole into the wall of a warehouse seems dramatic, but for burglars the pay off can be worth it. Overall, the burglar’s haul is estimated at £100,000 (close to $155,445). One bottle was estimated to be worth £5,000 (or $7,772.25).

There is no doubt that BB & R have insurance policies in place that protects them from such an event, but the robbery goes to show the lengths in which robbers will go to score high-end bottles of wine.

For the collector, this becomes a cautionary tale as thieves and burglars become more advanced in their tactics they may be able to identify individual collectors that may have high worth bottles of wine in their collections.

Ensuring that your cellar and collection are covered from theft and damage is key to protecting your wine collection investment. Not only are you protecting your collection from burglary but from the damage and destruction that can be caused from a botched heist. Burglars and vandals may leave your collection susceptible to changes in temperature, humidity and many other damaging factors.

A wine insurance policy for will give you peace of mind and protect your collection from theft. A comprehensive wine insurance policy will also protect your collection from extreme temperature fluctuations, the backup of sewers and drains, and much more. Read our policy coverage, here.






Early Record Set for Single-Owner Wine Sale

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UntitledSotheby’s set an early 2015 record with the sale of a single-owner wine sale for HK$56 million (about 7.225 million USD). Not only was this the highest grossing sale of 2015, so far, it also set some other high bars.

  • 6th largest sale in Sotheby’s history
  • 4th largest single-owner wine sale
  • Leading sale of the year globally

Sotheby’s achieved a 100% sale of the collection with 50% of the lot exceeding their estimates. Burgundy represented around 75% of the total value of the wine collection. One of the key components of the collection were 800 bottles of Champagne which Robert Sleigh referred to as, “one of the best collections of Champagne to ever come to Asia.”

Not all collectors are as lucky as the collector that sold his collection in HK. Some collectors fall victim to many of the crucial concerns with storing wine. For example, if a portion of the collection had not been stored on its side the corks could become dry and let in air, spoiling the wine and their price at auction.

Wine insurance is another factor when investing in wine. Not having proper protection leaves the collection subject to spoilage from temperature fluctuations, or humidity changes or even theft, as seen at The French Laundry. Find out more about protecting your collection at our policy details page. If you would like to apply for a quote please fill out the following application.

Six Crucial Concerns of Wine Storage

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Most wine collectors understand that wine should be stored in a cool dry place. What isn’t often understood is that there are six crucial concerns when storing a wine collection. For example, it isn’t enough to just keep your wine collection in a cool basement. Keeping a constant temperature is essential in keeping the long term value of wine. An emergency generator is essential for keeping temperature fluctuations to a minimum. Without a generator wine is susceptible to temperature fluctuations due to power outages.

Wine insurance in addition to having a back-up generator is key to protect wine as an investment. With out a comprehensive wine insurance policy wine collectors are left with out recourse in the event of an earthquake or flood, even if your wine is damaged during transit. Learn more about our comprehensive coverage and apply for coverage.

For more information on the six crucial concerns of wine storage have a look at our infographic below.

6 Crucial Concerns of Wine Storage - A Wine Insurance Companhy Infographic

Wine Community Applauding the Return of Burglarized Wine from the French Laundry

By in theft, Wine Insurance Comments Off on Wine Community Applauding the Return of Burglarized Wine from the French Laundry

On December 25th 2014 one of the country’s premiere restaurants, the French Laundry, was burglarized of close to $300,000 in fine wines.  At the time of the robbery, the restaurant was empty and the wine cellar alarm had not been set.


Now almost a month later, the cache of fine wines were found some 3,000 miles away in Greensboro, NC.

How the wines got 3,000 miles away still remains a mystery, but if they were transported across the county in non-refrigerated trucks, the chances they were damaged is high.

Red wine should typically be stored and kept at a temperature of 55 degrees. If the temperature of the wine is raised, even for a moderate amount of time, into the high 70s or low 80s it could be damaged beyond the point of a future sale.

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Premier Restaurant is Robbed of Over $300,000 in Fine Wine

By in theft, Wine Insurance Comments Off on Premier Restaurant is Robbed of Over $300,000 in Fine Wine

FrenchLaundryMany wine collectors are scratching their heads at the news that one of the best restaurants in America, the French Laundry, could have been burglarized.  Chef Thomas Keller maintains a staff of over 120 people, and the French Laundry operates nearly round the clock. Despite the high level of security, someone managed to make off with over $300,000 of gems from the French Laundry cellar on Christmas Day, when the restaurant was closed for renovation.  This should be a wakeup call to all collectors since most cellars are even more vulnerable.

In the case of French Laundry, the wine thief had a nose for high-end wine, bypassing hundreds of bottles of lesser vintages to nab the priciest wines in the collection. In the process, the thief made off with 76 bottles including some French Burgundy treasures, Screaming Eagle, and most notably, Domaine de la Romaneé-Conti, which sells for more than $10,000 a bottle internationally.

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Protect Your Wine Collection from Sewer and Drain Backup

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Wine collections are often stored in basements that can leave them vulnerable to damage from sewer or drain back-ups.

According to the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, incidents of backed up sewers and drains have been increasing annually by 3 percent, making water damage one of the most important events to protect your valuable wine collection from.

Causes of sewer backup can vary from area to area, below are some of the most common causes of sewer backups.

  • Aging Sewer Systems
  • Combined Piplines
  • Blockages Due to Tree Roots
  • Sanitary Main
  • Water Basement

Don’t Worry You’re Covered

Insure Your Wine Coverage protects your wine collection from the backup of sewers and drains making it one of the most comprehensive wine insurance programs in the country.

Insure your wine. Protect your collection. Protect your investment. Learn more about our coverage on our policy coverage page.