Selling wine by auction

Please send Steinfels a list of the wines you would like to sell.

For each wine, please ensure your list states the grower, the name of the wine, its production region, its vintage and the number of bottles you would like to sell. Please remember to provide your telephone number so that we can check back with you on any details which may be unclear. Please click here to view a sample estimate form.

If possible, please provide details of any damage to the label and foil capsule and of the ullage (the level of wine in the bottle). Please click here to view an ullage scale. If no details of label/capsule damage and ullage are provided, our estimate will assume that the bottles are in perfect condition.

Based on your list we will provide you, at no charge, with an auction estimate of your wines.

Should you decide to consign your wines to us for auction, we will send you and auction contract stating our consignment terms:

  • An auction commission of between 10% and 20% of the auction proceeds will be payable, depending on the volume and quality of the wines consigned to us
  • A flat fee of CHF 10.- applies to each lot
  • The insurance fee is 1% of the hammer price
  • The auction commission, insurance and lot fees are subject to Swiss VAT (8%)

We will close consignments about 6 weeks before each auction.

You are welcome to deliver the wines to us in person or to have them sent to us by a forwarding agent. Small quantities of wine may also be sent by post. On request, we can also arrange to have the wines collected for a nominal charge.

Steinfels Weinauktionen groups the wines into lots which it lists in its auction catalogue.

Roughly 2 weeks before the auction takes place you will receive the auction catalogue and a separate listing of the individual lots you have consigned to us.

During the 4th week following the auction we will send you an auction statement, which you then confirm along with your payment instructions. Our payment to you will then be made within 30 days.

What can I sell in auction?

As a general rule, any renowned or rare fine wines

can be consigned to us for auction. This applies to red and white wine, champagne, port, Madeira, sherry, old top-quality spirits, cognac, whisky and rum. The bottles must be sealed with their original corks and must not leak. Their labels and/or capsule foils should enable them to be clearly identified. Bottles which have been resealed or re-labelled can be accepted for consignment only with our expplicit prior approval. In some instances it may be necessary to remove the capsule foil so that the cork marking can be checked. Bottles with particularly low ullage levels or whose content appears questionable will not be auctioned (except in the case of antique collectors’ items!).

The benefits to you of consigning your wines to Steinfels Weinauktionen

Everything in one place
Every step of your wine sale, from initial delivery to dispatch after sale, takes place on our premises here in Zurich:
  • Our own wine experts take delivery of your wines. We have no off-site warehouse and no third party-staff.
  • The assesment of the wines’ condition (ullage, labels, capsule, etc.) is carried out by our own trained staff.
  • Prior to their sale, the wines are stored in our own cellars. The wines are under constant supervision and may be viewed by potential buyers at any time during business hours.
  • The auction is held on our premises.
  • Every auction is supervised by a notary public from the canton of Zurich. Any matters requiring clarification can thus be resolved immediately.
Realistic estimates

Our estimates are based on actual prices achieved in the international wine auction market. We will not raise false hopes by making exaggerated estimates. On request, we will be happy to discuss reserve prices with you.

Clearly structured catalogue

Our printed catalogue is designed to maximise convenience for the bidder. The wines are listed first by wine-growing region and then alphabetically within each region, so that a particular wine is very easy to find. The catalogue provides a detailed description of each wine’s condition. We also have an online catalogue which is easy to browse through. Photographs of the wines are also provided in the online catalogue. The photographs are meant to help bidders assess the condition of the wines.

Multi-faceted clientele

We have an extremely broad and varied clientele. For high-quality fine wines, we can rely on a well-established international network of business partners in Europe, the United States and Asia. We supply older vintages and single bottles to specialised retailers and collectors throughout the world. We also have a very large clientele for more modest vintages and ready-to-drink evreyday wines.

Best prices

The bidder-friendly service we offer and the breadth of our client base enable us to generate significant bidding volume and consistently high prices. We maintain statistical records of the prices we achieve for the wines in which we do the most business. We often achieve higher prices than other auction houses.

Prompt payment

You will receive your auction statement 4 weeks after the sale. Once we have received your acceptance of the statement, we guarantee to pay the proceeds due to you within 30 days, whether our payment from the buyer has been received or not.

Further information

Ullage (fill level) scale

in – into neck bn – base of neck ts – top shoulder hs – high shoulder ms – mid shoulder ls – low shoulder l – low The ullage of wines in Burgundy bottles is measured in centimetres from the cork.

Bottles of wine which are more than 20 years old will no longer be filled to the usual level.
Unless our catalogue states otherwise, an ullage or fill level of TS (top shoulder) or HS (high shoulder) for these wines should be regarded as normal.

Based on the results

we have achieved in previous auctions, those seen on other auctions platforms and our assessment of the current market value of the wines consigned to us, we determine a price range, which is shown in the catalogue as the upper and lower price estimates. The reserve price (i.e. the price below which we will not allocate the wine to the bidder) is known only to the consigner and ourselves.
Generally speaking, the reserve price will be set some 10-20% below the lower estimate price. A decision may be made to set no reserve price, thus affording the auctioneer some room for manoeuvre in attracting the interest of bidders of wines which might otherwise be difficult to sell given current demand (for a particular vintage or region), assessment of their appreciation potential, or quality-related factors (such as low ullage or label damage).
As a general rule, we are happy to accept clients’ instructions on reserve prices. Experience has however shown that setting too high a reserve price tends to reduce the probability of a successful outcome, whereas setting a fair reserve price often leads to a significantly higher final price being achieved, as it tends to encourage the bidding contests which frequently occur at auctions.

Each lot has its own individual number

in the catalogue. A lot can be one or more bottles of the same wine, or single or multiple bottles of different wines of different provenance.
Since the same flat fee applies to each lot, it is advisable to group lower-priced wines together into mixed lots with a somewhat higher overall value.
Unless the client consigning the wine to us specifically instructs otherwise, our staff will determine the composition of these mixed lots.