Advice to Help Protect Your Wine Collection

January 2015

Advice to Help Protect Your Wine Collection

Many people choose to use storage facilities to house either part or all of their wine collection. Unfortunately, we have seen an alarming number of losses to stored wine.

One PURE member found that nearly $300,000 worth of his wine collection was missing after his storage facility was robbed. The culprits were eventually caught and the wine recovered. Thankfully, our very diligent member had his collection fully inventoried, and his wine was kept in special personalized crates that proved his ownership. Both of these precautions simplified the claim and recovery process.

If you are among those who use storage facilities, Maureen Downey, Managing Member and Founder of Chai Consulting (a renowned wine collector service) suggests that taking the following precautions may help protect your stored wine from theft and other risk factors:

  • Inventory your collection and maintain up-to-date values. Include specifics about the locations of each bottle and case so that, should labels go missing (a likely result following water damage), you can still determine which bottle is which and what has been lost. Through the Member Advocate®, PURE members have access to a network of inventory professionals who can help you inventory and maintain your collection, often at a discounted price.
  • Mark each bottle and case with a personal and permanent identifier. If anything is stolen, this will help to prove ownership.
  • Avoid storage facilities that also sell wine. This could be a conflict of interest and is not worth the risk.
  • Do not allow anyone other than you (and your wine consultant, if you have one) access to your wine. Facility management should not have access.
  • Find out whether the wine facility you are considering has sustained any prior losses. Prior losses could indicate weaknesses in security, the building structure or cooling systems. Check with the facility owner or manager as well as local law enforcement. If there were prior losses find out how they were addressed.
  • Make sure that temperature and humidity within the facility are monitored 24/7. A change in these conditions can devastate a collection, even if it is caught within 24 hours.
  • Know the facility’s emergency preparedness plan. Prior to storing your collection, do a thorough review of the facility’s security procedures and emergency preparedness plan. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes, you can also take additional measures to make sure your collection is protected. Ask the facility owner:
    • Is your shelving designed to absorb the impact of an earthquake?
    • Is your generator powerful enough to keep the storage unit cool if you lose power for an extended amount of time?
    • Does your alarm system connect to the door of the storage unit?

We suggest taking the following additional measures to ensure your collection is properly covered in the unfortunate instance of a loss:

  • Ensure your collection is properly covered. Most Homeowners policies do not cover losses to wine caused by temperature changes, whereas a Collections policy issued by a specialist carrier, such as PURE, does — often with a $0 deductible.  Schedule any high-value single bottles; in most cases, blanket coverage is sufficient for the rest of the collection.
  • Consider having a risk management consultation conducted. During this consultation, the risk manager will assess the storage conditions (whether that’s in a facility or your in-home wine cellar) and can provide recommendations to mitigate most risks. 
 

computer-icon-contact-us.pngFor assistance with locating a wine storage facility in your area, or if you have concerns with your current storage facility, contact a PURE Member Advocate® at memberadvocate@pureinsurance.com or 888.813.7873.


Tags: Collections | Wine | Theft