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Question
I have a 750ML bottle of 1996 Buena Vista Carneros Estate Zinfandel, Cat Series Number Six (the bottle says 200 cases produced).
The label is etched and in great condition and the foil is still in tact.  I am trying to determine the value to sell this bottle at an auction for a charity fundraiser.
Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

Answer
Hi Staci

This was a nice bottle of wine when it was made, but it is now almost twenty years old, and I am afraid it may be past its prime. Zinfandel is not a wine that is famous for aging as long as something like Cabernet, and over time the wines tend to lose their fruit and become a bit tired and faded.  It's perfectly safe to drink, but it is probably browning in color, with aromas that are more like port and caramel than the berry fruit it had when it was young.

For all those reasons, this one won't have a lot of value on the resale market.  I doubt you would find many collectors or connoisseurs who would want to pay more than about $25 for this bottle.

But you have nothing to lose.  Open it up on a special occasion and see what it has to offer.  You might get a pleasant surprise.  Just have a back up bottle on hand in case it really is completely over the hill.

Hope that helps

Paul Wagner  

Wine

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Paul Wagner

Expertise

Wines of the world, wine a food matching, wine and food service questions. I currently teach Wine courses at Napa Valley College, am an international wine judge, written many articles for publication, and have been a guest speaker at way too many wine conferences to remember. 25 years in the business. With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, I authored the definitive book on wine marketing: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book for professionals! With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, I host a radio show and podcast called Bottletalk at rickandpaulwine.com, where I answer questions about wine and food on the air.

Experience

30 years in the business.

Organizations
Society of Wine Educators, Academy of Wine Communications, American Wine Society

Publications
Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine, Fine Wine Journal, les Amis du Vin Journal, Society of Wine Educators Journal, and more.

Education/Credentials
I have taught at Napa Valley College for the last twenty years.

Awards and Honors
Spanish National Wine Fair: A lifetime dedicated to wine award. Espaderino della Castelania di Soave in Italy.

Past/Present Clients
Wineries include Caymus, Wente, Parducci, Shannon Ridge, Paul Dolan Wines, Vigilance, and others. Wine regions include the Union des Grand Crus de Borcdeaux, Union des Grands Crus de St. Emilion, Consorzio di Chianti CLassico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Consorzio di Franciacorta, Rioja Alavesa, and others.

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