Clare Harris

+44 (0)1223 785289

View full profile →

How to treat fine wine in Wills

Wealth Preservation / 09 June 2020

Many of us enjoy the simple pleasure of a glass of wine but for some people, it is a passion that can lead to a collection of fine wines over time which is ultimately an asset of someone’s estate.

If you have a wine collection, you need to make decisions regarding your Will. Are any of your intended beneficiaries passionate about wine? Would you rather your beneficiaries sell your wine or drink it themselves?

If you feel that your potential beneficiaries have no interest in wine, it may be best to sell or donate your collection under the terms of your Will.  On the other hand, if you have friends or family who enjoy wine or who can benefit financially by inheriting the wine and selling it at a later date, you might consider passing the collection to named beneficiaries.  The three general options for you to consider as part of your estate planning are:

Leaving your collection to named beneficiaries

This is the simplest option to plan but becomes the most complicated after your death. You can state in your will who should inherit the collection when you die; however, if you don’t give detailed instructions, your wine could be under-appreciated, undervalued, or compromised in quality. Include as many details as you can in your will.  In addition to leaving your wine to your beneficiaries, make sure any spreadsheets, valuations, and databases you use to inventory your wine are accessible to your executors.

Sale by specialist auction

This is a great option for those who do not have beneficiaries to whom they want to gift their wine collection. It is a good idea to initiate relationships with an auction house who specialise in wine sales while you are still collecting and to inform your executors that you would like them to deal with the auction house that you have built a relationship with.


This is the ideal option for collectors who don’t wish to leave the collection to named individuals or who want to avoid the potential inheritance tax on their wine collection.

Once you have an idea of your collection’s value, decide what charity or charities you would like to support.  It’s important to ensure they are a registered charity in order to obtain 100% relief on the gift for inheritance tax purposes.

Equally important is to confirm that the charity would actually like to receive the gift of your wine and if they are able to accept it for subsequent sale.

You may also want to consider setting aside a few specific bottles now to give to your loved ones. Buy wine in your children’s birth years, or cellar a case of your personal favourite vintage.  You might also consider buying a vintage that you would want your loved ones to drink in remembrance of you.

It’s also important to enjoy your collection, if there’s a bottle you have been meaning to try, you should open it.  After all, wine was made to drink, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your wine to the fullest while you’re alive!

For further advice on specialist gifts in your estate planning, please contact the Wealth Preservation Team on +44 (0)203 691 2080 and we will put you in touch with a lawyer who can help.


Sign up call to action button

This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email:

Get in touch with us

Interested in finding out more? Use this form to let us know how to contact you and what you’d like to know, and we’ll get back to you.

Alternatively, contact anyone listed on our website direct, they will be happy to hear from you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.