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FAQ: Bidding on the James Halliday Collection

FAQ Bidding on the James Halliday Collection

So, you want to bid on a slice of wine history. By purchasing a bottle from James Halliday's private cellar, you will join a select few who are fortunate enough to taste wines personally collected by Australia's foremost wine critic. With so much interest comes plenty of questions. Before you bid, take a moment to browse our most frequently asked questions about the James Halliday auction catalogue. 

Why is James selling his wines? 
James has been collecting, drinking, judging and educating on wine for the majority of his life and has amassed an astonishing cellar. Now, at 82 years of age, James recognises that he won't get the opportunity to drink every bottle, so he feels it's time for others to share in the magic of his collection.

What should I do once my wine arrives?
Set it down in a cool, dark place for a day or two. This allows the wine to settle back into itself and removes what we term 'bottle shock' – a muting of flavours and aromatics common following a wine's transportation.


NOW CLOSED: Thursday 24 September

James Halliday: WA

WA wines: featuring Moss Wood, Leeuwin Estate & Xanadu


NOW CLOSED: Thursday 24 September

 James Halliday: Bordeaux

Bordeaux wines: featuring Chateau Latour, Lafite-Rothschild & Palmer

 What's the sticker on the bottle?
We have affixed a special sticker to each bottle to show provenance. It proves that the wine was stored in James' cellar as part of his personal wine selection. A great talking point at your next dinner party!

Can I continue to cellar these wines into the future?
Of course you can, but be mindful that many of these wines are ready to drink now. The storage has been done for you in James' personal cellar in Victoria.

Are James' cellar conditions right for storing wine long-term?
As you would expect from Australia's greatest wine name, James' cellar was specially constructed to house wine at moderate temperatures, a constant 14-16 degrees throughout the year. 

Some of the wine looks to have evaporated from the bottle. Does that mean the wine is off?
Not at all. Wine can diminish from a bottle for a number of reasons. In the case of old bottles, the space left when wine does leak out isn't necessarily oxygen, but rather nitrogen, an inert gas that doesn't do harm to the wine. So a wine showing low shoulder height doesn't necessarily mean the wine has gone bad. See what our friend Huon Hooke recently said on the matter.


NOW CLOSED: Thursday 24 September

James Halliday: New Zealand & Tas

NZ & Tas wines: featuring Te Mata Estate, Domaine A, Ata Rangi


NOW CLOSED: Thursday 24 September

James Halliday: NSW & ACT

NSW & ACT wines: featuring Brokenwood, Clonakilla & Tyrrell's

The labels are old and scratched. Why?
These wines are old and old wine labels will often show damage, no matter how careful the owner is.

There is a lot of old wine from wineries I have never heard of. Why?
James has been in the wine industry since the 70s, when the Australian wine industry was young. He was able to procure bottles from brilliant wineries and friends, many of whom did not survive Australia's global wine push for whatever reason. These wines are part of the history of the industry—rare collectors items that may not be seen again. Put it this way, if James has held onto it, there's a very good reason for it.

Will every bottle I buy from this auction be perfect?
Hopefully yes, but realistically, no. Our specialist team have spent weeks closely assessing and cataloguing each of these wines, but, as with all wine, not every bottle will be perfect.

If my wine doesn't taste right do I get a refund?
As with all of our auction wines, these too are buyer beware. Please look at the photos closely and read the information provided before bidding.

Further Reading

Who is James Halliday?

Who is
James Halliday?

James Halliday is Australia’s undisputed ‘Mr Wine’. Nobody else comes close...

Q&A James Halliday’s favourite Penfolds bottle of all time

Q&A: James Halliday’s favourite Penfolds bottle of all time

From his favourite bottle of Penfolds ever, his dark horse favourite variety, and oldest wine tasted...

Q&A: James Halliday on Bordeaux & More

Q&A: James Halliday on Bordeaux & More

The man himself reveals insights into the wines you will find in these launch auctions...


ABN: 77 159 767 843
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ABN: 77 159 767 843. New South Wales: Liquor Act 2007. It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years. License Number: LIQP770010303 Victoria: Victoria Liquor Control Reform Act 1998: It is an offence to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years (Penalty exceeds $19,000), for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor (Penalty exceeds $800). License Number: 32055289