Investors Uncork Wild Wine Prices

Internet, foreign funds make even second-tier wines pricier
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2007 6:50 PM CST
Cameron Stark, winemaker at Unionville Vineyards, sniffs one of the company's wines in the tasting room at the winery in Ringoes, N.J., Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007. Vineyards here and in a dozen other states...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Investors are uncorking a new area of speculation these days: fine wine. Thanks to the Internet, which has turned an elite hobby into a worldwide auction, prices are overflowing. Buyers can even throw money at vino investment funds and an electronic trading exchange based in London, which is up 39% this year, and behind oil by only seven points, the Washington Post reports.

But wine investors are subject to the whims of key wine critics like Robert Parker and Stephen Tanzer. "This (price) volatility is completely out of your control," one investor blogged. And emerging wine-drinkers in Russia and China are pulling even second-tier wine prices out of the cellar and through the roof. "The demand is just flat-out crazy," said one Californian, who bought $3,500 in wines last month, only to sell them two weeks later—for $10,000.