All merchants and wine stores will negotiate special deals for large orders, so it is always worth buying with a group of friends to get the maximum discounts, or you could consider setting up your own wine club. Most people buy their wine through normal retail outlets or wine clubs, but auctions can yield some great bargains and they are not as imposing as you might think - so long as you exercise self-discipline!

Many leading French producers and a growing number of others offer a proportion of their wine for sale shortly after the vintage each year. This wine is sold ‘en primeur’ and the producers use it to test demand. If there is a rush to buy, the price usually goes up, so buying early can save you money.

Buying en primeur however, can have pitfalls. It is not unknown for prices to come down and you have to be able to tell how the very young wine will develop in perhaps five or ten years’ time.

I think the en primeur gamble is worthwhile. Don’t opt for the premier cru wines or top domaines but go for wines that you know you like, and which you will enjoy drinking when they are mature.

If you choose wisely, buying wines in this way can be a very good drinking investment. Some of the best growths in Bordeaux can increase in price tenfold over a decade and there are similar benefits in choosing the best wines from Germany or California. Making that extra investment and buying two cases of the best wines instead of one means you can enjoy the first dozen and sell the second at a handsome profit to finance further purchases.