Where can I find Vintage Champagne?
14th April 2021
Though we like to be very much up to date with the latest gadgets and trends in life from mobile phones to fashion, many of us will be rather attracted to those vintage items from classic cars to vinyl records. I’m sure that at some point or another we collected items in a subject that involved the words aged or vintage or collectable or rare and we were seeking out first or limited editions. Who had a stamp or coin collection, enjoying seeking out Pokémon cards or pin badges, maybe vintage hand mirrors or oil paintings was your thing…
“Poul Høegh Poulsen (b. 1944) of Rødovre, Denmark, has amassed 101,733 different bottle caps from 183 countries since first beginning his collection in 1956.” source Guinness World Records
As I sit in my tasting room (it’s called the ‘green room’ in our house) and look around I see several vintage items which I might not be an avid collector of, but they have appealed to me over anything modern or in the latest catalogue as such. A vintage snooker cue (acquired years ago from a car boot sale), vintage theatre lamp (mounted on a wooden tripod and purchased via Facebook Market Place) and also a vintage solid silver photo frame (from I can not now remember). Funny enough, I also have a few bottles of Vintage Champagne in view too…
Where can I buy Vintage Champagne?
One of the most popular items to collect is strangely enough wine. The great thing about wine is that some examples are great for ageing thus collecting them will mean that your collection will rise in value as it matures. Not all wines can be stored for long durations, many are produced and sold to be drunk within a period of time such as Prosecco which you’d not be expected to keep beyond 1.5 years from production. Many collect spirits such as whisky:
“The world’s largest private collection of whisky could fetch up to £8million when it goes under the hammer next year. The trove of more than 3,900 bottles includes two of ‘the most legendary, most expensive whiskies ever produced’, say auctioneers.” source Daily Mail online
Any collector will know that you sometimes find additions to your collections at some very unexpected locations, but below are some popular places where you can find vintage Champagne for sale.
- At the Champagne House! Yes, it might be a little bit too obvious, but deep down in the cellars of the Champagne region is stored millions of bottles of Champagne and many are ageing away for either special releases or to be used / sold for special events / private collectors. Many Champagne houses will have stored bottles sometimes back to the 1800’s and though these are precious items of history, they can sometimes find themselves up for sale – Reach out to them by taking a visit to the region or contacting them via their website. I remember asking one Champagne maker if their pre 1900 bottles were for sale and he replied simply by saying, “At the right price, anything is for sale“.
- Specialist Auction Houses and Re-Sellers. A search on Google will result in a long list of companies that specialise in wines / spirits and re-selling of them. These companies will usually be at the pricier end of the scale though and will likely be able to get hold of the more desirable items. You will likely compete with many other collectors at the auctions.
- General Auctions / Auction Websites. Who hasn’t purchased from eBay yet? Not only has the world’s biggest auction website eBay sometimes rare vintage wines for sale, but you can also check the likes of Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and more. Sometimes there will be restrictions on selling alcohol and at times the item will be listed as sold as seen / not fit for consumption.
- Clubs, Groups, Accounts, Pages etc. There are many clubs dedicated to wine from simple monthly meets to enjoy a few glasses of vino with nibbles to those which are more serious and made up of wine connoisseurs / collectors / professionals as members. These clubs will likely have members who have collections of wines and sometimes they exchange bottles and also buy / sell / trade. Social media is another place that vintage Champagne collectors can find joy with many dedicated groups / pages / accounts on wine to include Champagne – An example is Champagne Collectors on Facebook.
- Boot Sales / House Clearances. A great way of discovering bargain vintage wines, not often though enough so that it keeps you seeking, is via the likes of car boot sales, jumble sales, second hand shops, house clearance companies and more. I have contacts of a few house clearance companies who know to always call me when it comes to anything to do with wine from bottles to racks, I suggest you do the same.
- Wanted / Adverts. Sometimes you need to ask in order to find, a simple ad in a local media outlet such as a newspaper or dedicated website can bring results. Many people have wine collections left to them or over the years fallen out of love with wines or may have changed their lifestyles such as now not drinking alcohol. Here you are likely to only be offered single bottles to smaller collections, most times it may be time wasting, but on the odd occasion, you can get lucky.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.