Experts within the wine industry reckon the best investors can see returns of up to 30% a year from some bottles.
Of course, like shares, wines can fall in value too - but at least you can drink the negative equity.
Demand for fine wine exceeds supply, which is constantly diminishing as the wine is drunk. No house in the world will sell direct to the public, so you have to buy through a merchant.
You should always deal with an established, reputable merchant. This point cannot be over-emphasised.
Whether you simply hand over a cheque or want to spend hours discussing tannins and vintages, brokers should not charge you a consultation or buying fee. They will, however, take 10% commission when you come to sell, so factor this in before buying.
Less is more when you're buying to invest, so get hold of the top wines from the top vintages. The usual investment unit is one case of 12 bottles and the more expensive wines - worth several thousands of pounds per case - usually have the greatest potential for growth.
Just as your first stock market investments are likely to be FTSE 100 companies, your first wine investments should be Bordeaux. This is the seat of the finest red wines and has a track record for bottling the most outstanding produce.
Since 1855, Bordeaux wines have been classified into five ranks. The crème de la crème are the first growths, closely followed by the super seconds; further down come the third, fourth and fifth growths. The better the wine, the longer it takes to mature: first growths will take 15 to 20 years - sometimes more.
However, the wine will start to be consumed from the moment it's bottled. And because only a finite number of bottles are produced in each vintage, prices generally rise as supply falls.
There is a limited supply and high worldwide demand for the really top-notch stuff, particularly in the China and other parts of the Far East. This is what is what makes expensive vintages good investments.
Other costs to consider
Unless you want to stroke your wines every night, store them 'in bond' in a warehouse. If you store them at home, or want to release them to drink, you will have to pay an import fee of £13 a case plus 17.5% VAT on the purchase price. To store in bond you need to set up an account with a merchant or professional and pay an annual storage charge of about £7 - £15 a case.
Again, factor in this cost before buying. As the Inland Revenue views wines as a 'wasting chattel' - an old tax term used to describe something which will ultimately deteriorate in value - you will not have to pay capital gains tax on the profits you make on your cellar.
Wines are priced at three different stages: En primeur; on arrival into the country two years later; and on maturity. Wines from 2009 will soon be available to buy en primeur. This is risky because the wine has not yet matured, but by taking the gamble you will be able to reserve stock which may be scarce when comes onto the open market. You will also be able to secure it at a cheaper price.
What else determines the value of a wine? The short answer is Robert Parker Jnr, the world's most powerful wine critic. What he says goes. The US commentator has a history of calling top wines before his peers.
Parker gives wines a score out of 100. Anything bearing a Parker score of 90-plus is likely to be an investment worth considering.
TIM - This is Money