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I'm not a wine enthusiast (unfortunately?), so asking for community help here.

Just found a small collection of wines in the crawl space of my recently bought house and do not know what to do with it - if it is worth it, will be selling it, so someone with a more developed taste could appreciate it. Did some internet search based on the labels but still have questions.

1) 3 magnums of Heitz Cellar, Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1974. based on my limited knowledge gathered from the internet the levels are good and no signs of seepage that I can see. All look identically good to me.


2) 1 bottle of Hoopers Port 1959 vintage


3) 1 bottle of Riesling

1967 Dr. H Thanisch Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese Cabinet


4) 1 bottle of something that looks like champagne to me but has no label. Maybe someone knows how to identify it?


5) 1 bottle of Heitz Cellar, Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1972


6) One bottle of definitely Heitz Cellar, Martha’s Vineyard something, but year is not readable - is there a way to understand a year?



7) Another bottle of something from the same winery, the year is unreadable

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  • IMG_20180817_120457: 1974 1 of 3
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  • IMG_20180817_120055 (1)
Original Post

Thanks for replies!

Some additional info: 74 are not magnums but ordinary bottles (it was my mistake I didn't know how to read the label).

I also identified the wine with worn out labels - it is 78 Heitz Cellar, Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

and Heitz Cellar Treasure Angelica (year not known).

I'll make the pics of the crawl space and measure the temps and post here there for your information.

A bit hard to tell, but the fill level on the German looks low, and unless this crawl space was in the 50 degree range, I'd be pretty surprised if it has held up.  The "Champagne" is almost certainly not "Champagne." The French don't put English words like "naturally fermented" on their labels, and the stopper looks plastic.

Hi Doc- It's pretty common that non-winos post here asking about the value of something they found, figuring maybe there's something of serious value.  The problem with these types of wines is that no one knows where they've been for the last 40 years and you have no reputation that allows you to vouch for them.  

The Heitz wines have real value if they can be verified as legit and have been stored properly.  A well-stored 74 Heitz Marthas might fetch close to $2k per bottle if you can show that they've been stored in your temperature controlled cellar since you acquired them.  If not then I personally wouldn't pay much money for them, despite their status as legendary wines.  Think $200 per bottle for your type of wines, and don't look at me, I wouldn't take a 1 in 10 risk  on your wine, but maybe Justin will.  The 72 is worth much less (maybe $200 if perfect), as is the 78 (maybe $1200 if perfect).

If you really don't/can't appreciate fine wine then try to sell them, get what you can.  If you think you might like to try them then invite over a friend and open one, life is short and you don't have much to lose, especially since these were free to you.  In the end this is not money that will change your life.  It's more likely that opening a bottle and enjoying it might change your life more than the few hundred bucks you can get for the bottles.

The other bottles are not worth anything, BTW.   Open them and give them a try, maybe you'll find something enjoyable or you can clean a shower head with the leftover acid, which is great for cleaning off calcium deposits.

My 2 cents, keep or toss.

For folks who were curious about the port.

1959 was a terrible wet rainy vintage that was not generally declared, alot of folks used the stock to put into their tawnies or in some rare cases, a few  colheitas were bottled.

I've not seen the 59' Hooper Colheita in particular but the IVP seal looks to be from the 70s and the wine color looks to be representative  of a Colheita that old.

Hooper's is one of the many labels owned by Royal Oporto and not particularly regarded as a great port producer, but they have had some ports that have pleasantly surprised me.

To put value in perspective, a recent auction of the 34' Hooper was  hammered at 220$.  (i make no representation if i think that was cheap or expensive)

If this is all legit then I bet those 74 Heitz are actually pretty good, given that 70 degrees is probably the hottest it gets and hopefully it's a lot less than that most of the year, especially since climate change didn't really kick in until the last 5-10 years. 

I would be happy to try one of those if someone else is paying! 

merengue posted:

Hey you are in Bethesda and i am in Potomac. I’d say we get together and pop one of the MV’s and we take it from there.  Only way a buyer will risk it is if one has an idea of how they are. 

I'm also close by.  Glad to meet up with you and Meringue.  We might even be persuaded to bring a couple bottles of less questionably stored wines just in case!


Thanks, everyone for great advice. Probably the best scenario for me will be to sell 1974 and to consume the rest because for other vintages the overheads and hassle of selling will outweigh the proceeds.

If anyone interested in buying locally 1974 bottles for $1300/bottle, I'll happily part with it. Otherwise, it will be sent to an auction this week.

grossie posted:

Good luck Bethesda!

I pity anyone who pays that money for 3 mags of wine of unknown provenance from an unknown seller, but I wish you luck getting your money.  

And they were only 750s, grossie.  And any "professional," who'd buy these wines knowing that they may have been subjected to high temperatures over 40+ years is not very professional.  Probably someone who plans on a quick flip and disappearing into the sunset.


purplehaze posted:
grossie posted:

Good luck Bethesda!

I pity anyone who pays that money for 3 mags of wine of unknown provenance from an unknown seller, but I wish you luck getting your money.  

And they were only 750s, grossie.  And any "professional," who'd buy these wines knowing that they may have been subjected to high temperatures over 40+ years is not very professional.  Probably someone who plans on a quick flip and disappearing into the sunset.


Professional = some dude with a big expense account + wants to show off + doesn't know anything about wine

Would be my guess....

csm posted:

Nice of this dude to show up here, ask for a bunch of advice (free of charge) and then call us all paranoid for voicing legitimate concerns about the wines. I’d love to know where these were sold and what type of disclosure accompanied them, if any.

His name was "BethesdaMD".  Bethesda is a city in Maryland, not far from DC.

The name suggests he is a physician.  Have you ever asked yourself what the REAL reason is that they wear those masks?  Think of the old westerns and stagecoach robberies.


My take- Bethesda comes on here hoping to learn a bit, see what he/she has.  We try to critique, maybe help a bit.  Bethesda learns that he has to tell buyer "this has been in my temperature controlled cellar since release" or some variation.  Bottles look good and the buyer is going to flip them anyways or has more money than brains. 

We surrender knowledge, Bethesda makes money, everyone wins!  Except of course the end buyer who is taking more risk than what is normal in the market place, but I guess that's on them.   Maybe they get 3 great bottles of wine,  maybe they get 3 bottles of stewed tomatoes. 

Lesson learned from me- I'm going to be a jerk to anyone who posts like this in the future.  I've always thought that this board needed to be a bit more friendly to newbies, but this is certainly not the deal here.  

Wow! Seriously, people. I didn't want to offend anyone, my sincere apologies to anyone who feels offended. The whole situation looked a bit funny and I wanted to share it. The whole story was a fun journey for me, and I do not want to spoil the taste of it by offending people anonymously on the internet. I'm leaving the forum now, wanted to say thanks for people who gave advice with best intentions. Hope conspiracy theories will calm down.  Cheers!

BethesdaMD posted:

Wow! Seriously, people. I didn't want to offend anyone...

If you don't want to offend people, don't call them paranoid.

my sincere apologies to anyone who feels offended...

Don't sound very sincere.  A simple "I'm sorry," would have worked better.  We  didn't "feel," offended.  Your post was offensive.  Get it?

Hope conspiracy theories will calm down.  Cheers!

What conspiracy theories?  Jesus, you just can't help yourself can you?

Don't let the door hit you.


Last edited by purplehaze

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