Domaine Auction Guide

This guide has been designed to help our current and prospective clients understand our auction process. Please consult the sections below and reach out to us directly any of your questions.

Domaine Auction Guide - Paddle and Auction Catalog

Ready to Sell Your Wine?

Making the decision to sell part of your collection isn’t always easy. We understand all the feelings involved in collecting, because we are collectors too. More than that, we’ve worked with thousands of clients in the wine storage, organization, transit and auction business for more than a decade.

Now, you’re ready to sell, and perhaps, you’re wondering where to go and what sort of options you have.

Not unlike many corners of the wine world, the auction market can be confusing, and it can be difficult to know where to start.

We you choose Domaine, we have your back, and we’ll help you navigate the auction process from start to finish.

The Domaine Auction Process

Our auction process is simple and transparent. It’s comprised of 5 steps.

  1. We Meet
  2. We Review A List of Your Wines
  3. We Recommend the Best Course of Action
  4. You Make the Choice
  5. We Take Care of the Rest


1. We Meet

Most of the time, this happens electronically. However, we certainly make ourselves available at wine events throughout the country. If you’d like to talk to our wonderful team members in person, you can visit our locations in Saint Louis, Chicago, New York, Washington DC and Napa. You can always call us too.

After we get to know each other, we’ll ask you to share a list of your wines.


2. We Review A List of Your Wines

When you send us a list of your wines, you’re under no obligation to sell. It’s customary to make changes, edits and tweaks during this step in the process.

Along with your list, any additional details you provide will help us determine accurate estimates. It’s helpful to share:

  • The provenance
  • How long your wines have been in your possession
  • Locations of your wines
  • The storage conditions
  • Desired timeline for the sale

With all this information, we will present you with the best course of action.


3. We Recommend the Best Course of Action

After doing this as long as we have, we know that no two parcels are alike. Therefore, each auction experience is highly customized with continued communication as we evaluate your options.

In the past, we have done the following:

  • Sent wines to auction, live and online
  • Offer private buyouts
  • Found a direct sale to a collector

Sometimes, we use a combination of the options above based on the parcel.

We’ll send you an email with your options detailed out including fees and payment structure.


4. You Make the Choice

It’s your collection, so therefore it’s your decision. There’s always pros and cons, and most people’s course of action is related specifically to their specific circumstances.

In the auction market, there are few guarantees. That said, we present you with what believe to the best options. Thanks to our long-shared history of trust and partnerships with auction and brokerage counterparts, we are able to provide you with the best terms and prevent you from paying unnecessary fees.


5. We Take Care of the Rest

After you make a decision, Domaine takes care of everything. We can facilitate the packing, storing and delivering of your wine to auction. Beyond logistics and the elimination of surprise fees, we ensure that you are getting paid the proper amount and on time.

Throughout the sale of your parcel, we will communicate with you after each post-sale and make you aware of when you should expect payment.

Common Auction Pitfalls

Unfortunately, we’ve heard too many stories where sellers were unaware of fees, timing, payment or reserves. It’s heartbreaking, and we wish we had been there to help. So if you’ve decided to go it alone, here’s what you can expect.


Fees at Wine Auctions

Fees can vary and are not always disclosed online. Below are examples of common fees you might encounter when negotiating on your own.

  • Handling fee
  • Buy in fee
  • Photography fee
  • Internet sale surcharge
  • Advance fee
  • Guarantee fee

When you choose Domaine, we can ensure you’re never surprised by additional fees.


Seller Commissions for Wine Auctions

Some online auctions even charge a hefty seller’s commission. Our fees vary based on the services required, and you gain access to our exclusive commission rate with the auction house.


Reserves for Wine Auctions

Some houses will drop the reserves precipitously if your wine fails to sell in the first pass. Often times, an appraisal can be unrealistically optimistic, while the final results fall far short.

When you choose Domaine, we provide accurate market data and hold our partners accountable for realistic pricing.

About Domaine

In 1998, Domaine’s founder worked at a fine wine retail shop and quickly became aware of the ways in which retailers struggled to support their largest clients. He began filling in the gaps through inventory and organizational services which allowed the clients to focus on more enjoyable aspects of their hobby.

This passion for wine and first-class customer service was so inspiring that his business grew quickly to include other services. Those initial services are still at the core of our work, and we have grown to offer support throughout the entire wine collecting lifecycle.

We partner with new and established wine collectors to grow, sell, organize, move, store and protect their collections.

The company has 3 divisions: Advisory, Storage and Transportation and includes 5 refrigerated warehouses in Chicago, Saint Louis, New York, Napa and Washington DC.



  • Over 2 million bottles in storage at our nationwide network of 5 facilities
  • Each storage facility maintained at ideal conditions: 55°F and 70% humidity
  • Secured with a backup generator and robust security


  • Appraisals
  • Market intelligence on what to drink, buy and sell
  • Negotiation, inventory tracking, packing, shipment and payment processing
Cellar Organization - Guide to Domaine - Domaine Storage
Storage - Guide to Domaine - Domaine Storage


  • Comprehensive, competitive wine insurance coverage including accidental breakage
  • Industry’s best cardboard boxes; 45% thicker than average
  • Varying box sizes to fit every bottle type
Napa Lounge - Guide to Domaine - Domaine Storage


  • Catalog wines in home cellar or off-site storage
  • Make cellar space easier to navigate and wines more accessible
  • CellarTracker™ inventory and tracking


  • 100% temperature-controlled logistics network with professional handling during packaging, pickup and delivery
  • Up to 45% savings on shipping compared to common carriers
  • Access to our importer for purchases made in France and the UK

Meet Your Domaine Auction Team

Nicki, Andrew and Joe are here to assist you with all your wine collection and ensure it is properly appraised, stored and delivered to auction. To reach out, feel free to call them at 636.4892217 or email Nicki directly at

Nicki Ball

General Manager, Advisory

Andrew Traughber

General Manager, Private Cellars

Joe Quigle

General Manager, Transit