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Master Sommelier, Cameron Douglas: “Recordkeeping can go a long way” when selling your wine collecti

Cameron Douglas, MS (credit: Cameron Douglas)

Being a MasterSommelier is one of the most exclusive certifications in the world. There are 573 Noble Prize laureates and only 230 Master Sommeliers. Achieving this stature is extremely rare and demonstrative of unique ambition, drive and talent. It also means that you probably know as much about wine as any other person in the world.

That’s why we’re so excited to interview Cameron Douglas the first and only Master Sommelier from New Zealand. His amazing jobs include blogging, rating wines, judging wine competitions, consulting restaurants (like Musketroom in New York) on building wine lists and proudly representing New Zealand wine on the world stage.

Sell Wine Guide: Most of the secondary wine market focuses on the top regions in France and Italy, a little Port and some California cults. Being the first Master Sommelier of New Zealand, what are some of the most coveted New Zealand wines that have secondary market appeal?

Cameron Douglas, MS: to name some of the leading wineries I’d say, Te Mata Estate “Coleraine” (Bordeaux blend), Stonyridge Larose (also a Bordeaux blend), Trinity Hill “Homage” Syrah. For whites we have Kumeu River “Mates” or “Coddington” Chardonnay as well as Millton Clos de Ste. Anne’s wines.

Sell Wine Guide: You have constructed wine lists for top restaurants – where do restaurant typically source old vintage wine? Are restaurants active in the secondary market?

Cameron Douglas, MS: Restaurants typically source older wines at auction or lobby a specific producer to release some library stock to them. I’ve been successful with this approach, but the truth is that it doesn’t happen very often. There are occasions where some people who want to move their wine collections and engage a broker to sell them directly to restaurants or other collectors.

Sell Wine Guide: We touch frequently on the general concept of provenance of wine collections, but we want to get more specifc: what are some of the external signs that imply less than ideal storage conditions and exposure to heat?

Cameron Douglas, MS: If a wine is closed under cork – look for any wine seeping from the cork or through the capsule or if a cork is protruding from the bottle even if it’s very slightly those could be signs on non ideal storage. Wine should be cool to the touch. Labels that are torn, scraped with missing pieces are also negating factors.

Sell Wine Guide: Any additional tips for prospective wine collection sellers?

Cameron Douglas, MS: Recordkeeping can go a long way: Keep a record of purchase, take photo or video evidence of the wine in the cellar so it can be date stamped. Try to keep records that show how the wine was shipped and from where, how many hands it’s been through before it got to you etc.

It’s also helpful to have the wine direct shipped from the source. Don’t aim to receive wine on a Friday – Tuesday through Thursday are the best receiving days. Don’t open boxes unless you absolutely have to, wrap all expensive bottles in glad wrap or clingfilm to protect the labels and stop tiny bugs from eating the paper labels.

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