Ask Dr. Vinny

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I recently started collecting wine (and I don’t even drink wine). Most of the wines I buy are celebrity-type bottles. I saw today that a bottle rated “92 points.” What does that mean? Will wines like I Love Lucy and The Walking Dead ever be worth anything?

—Eddie, Lockport, N.Y.

Dear Eddie,

Welcome to the world of wine, kind of!

First a word about “celebrity wines.” There are so many of them these days. Some of them use their celebrity in their branding and marketing, others are labels that are owned by famous people, like Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook, Sam Neill’s Two Paddocks or Drew Bledsoe’s Doubleback. Those are all great wines that could have secondary-market value for years to come, but not because they are owned by celebrities.

The celebrity connection is a double-edge sword. There are certainly some brands that will sell very well just based on their association (which is why Beyoncé seriously needs to make some wine). But for some wine lovers, celebrity wines have a bit of a stigma that’s not always positive. I don’t think this is unusual to wine—celebrity’s making products to sell to and profit from their fanbase can feel a little insincere. But I know there are also celebs who are truly passionate about wine, and it shows. Stars! They’re just like us!

While celebrity wines might be a novelty or curiosity (or terrific gift idea), it’s going to be quality or value that assures repeat sales. If the wines are good, people will buy more.

Same thing when it comes to collectible wines. A wine won’t be collectible unless it’s got a reputation for being delicious, high in demand, aging well, critically lauded and verified that it was stored in proper cellar conditions. This usually means the wine was also pretty pricy on release. In fact, I can’t think of an example of a cheap wine that ended up being a goldmine later on.

While it might be fun to collect bottles of wine with pop culture references, they will not be a good investment in the way I think you’re asking. But they might be a lovely investment in memories, or a fun display to enjoy.

As far as a 92-point score, that’s a good thing! Wine Spectator rates wines a 100-point scale. I’d recommend cracking open some of those bottles of wine, like that 92-pointer. You might find out that you’re a fan of the juice inside.

—Dr. Vinny

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