Wine collecting is one of the fastest growing pastimes in America. United States wine sales totaled $23.2 billion in 2004, and fine and rare auctions in the U.S. netted over $166 million in 2005, according to numbers just released by the major companies–a sharp increase of 31 percent over 2004. To house their burgeoning collections, wine connoisseurs are adding wine cellars to their homes in droves.

Today, wine cellars rival other luxury items such as granite countertops and mahogany floors as must-have amenities in high-end homes. However, from an insurance perspective, the stakes are much higher for wine than for many household items. Not only can wine be extremely valuable, but it is also fragile, perishable, and much more prone to loss. As more and more collectors seek wine collection policies, the insurance industry must be prepared to assess the unique risks associated with wine and provide knowledgeable claims adjusters.

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