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K&L Wine Auctions FAQ

  • K&L Wine Auctions allow customers to buy and sell some of the world’s most coveted wines in a secure and convenient venue. Since 1976, we have been a trusted wine retailer with thousands of loyal customers visiting our stores and website each day. We bring that trusted reputation to our online wine auctions, where you can rest assure all auction items have been closely inspected for authenticity and held to strict quality standards.

    To participate in K&L Wine Auctions, you must first become a registered customer. If you don’t already have an account, sign-up for free. Please note, in order to place bids on K&L Wine Auctions, you must have a current credit card on file and a shipping address within a state that allows the Buyer to import alcohol directly.

Getting Started

  • Bidding

    Once you have registered for a K&L customer account with a valid credit card on file, you may begin bidding on active auction lots. Simply click the “Place Bid” button next to any lot to enter your maximum bid. For more detailed information about bidding, please refer to the “Placing Bids” section below. If your credit card is expired, the computer will prompt you to enter a new card before accepting your bid.

  • Selling

    Sellers should also have a K&L customer account to sell wine. Go to “My Account” section of the website, and select “Auctions - Selling” to export our template worksheet, check the status of your current lots or view your lot history and K&L Account Credit balance. You may also submit a list of your wines by emailing [email protected]. Please include provenance and storage information with your list. For more information, please refer to the “Sell Your Wine” section below.

Sell Your Wine

  • Selling your wine through K&L Wine Merchants is both safe and effective. To get the ball rolling, email a list of your wines to the Auction Department (Excel format is preferred) at [email protected] Please include provenance and storage information with your list. A buyer will contact you regarding the sale of your wine. We appreciate your patience as we research the value of your collection.

  • If you are located outside of California, we can assist you with shipping your wines to our Northern California facility for inspection prior to the auction. Any shipping charges K&L incurs will be deducted from your final auction proceeds. If you are local, we can arrange a time for you to drop wine off at any of our retail locations free of charge or our auction headquarters.

  • Once we have received your wines, we will inspect them to ensure their quality and authenticity. You will receive a confirmation report showing the bottles in our possession, the bottle conditions, final reserves and lot groupings. After photographing and reviewing all current tasting notes to include with the listing(s), your wine will go up on our website for a 7 day auction period. Please note that not all lots from one consignment will be listed at the same time and that we will find the most appropriate time to list each lot.

  • Sellers may not bid on their own lots or participate in any activity to intentionally drive up the cost of their lot.

  • Upon completion of the auction, you will receive an email notice of the winning purchase price for the lot. Once the transaction with the winning bidder is complete, proceeds from the sale of your wine will appear in your K&L Credit Account, less the listing fee and any applicable shipping charges. This will not exceed a period of 30 days from auction lot end date.

  • In the “Auctions-Selling” page under the My Account link, sellers can view a full transaction history of auction sales and withdrawals made from the K&L Credit Account, request a check or track consignments. The current K&L Credit Account balance will show both the total proceeds available for check payment (reflects seller commission) and funds available for store credit. Apply your K&L store credit to any future online retail or in-store purchases and pay no seller commission (not valid on auction purchases).

  • When you request a check online you will receive a confirmation notice that the request has been received by K&L. Please allow 2-3 business days for the check to be processed. You will receive a second email notice once payment is underway. Prior to K&L processing the check, you may cancel the request online or email a request to [email protected] Requests for cancellation after a check is issued will not be granted.

  • All checks will arrive through first class mail 7-10 business days after the check has been processed.

  • Storage Liability for Loss: K&L Wine Merchants assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to auction lot items, except for loss or damage arising from the gross negligence or intentional misconduct of K&L Wine Merchants, its agents or employees, arising from the handling, storage and/or shipping of such items after delivery of possession or custody to K&L Wine Merchants. We strongly encourage you to acquire and maintain adequate and appropriate insurance for such purposes.


  • The K&L site incorporates our active auction lots with our current retail inventory, giving further exposure to your wine. You can review our inventory using the search bar at the top of the page or sort by variety, country, sub-region, and product type or bottle size.

  • It is also possible to review and search our previous auction results here: previous auctions.

Placing Bids

  • In order to place bids on K&L Wine Auctions, you must be logged into your customer account, have a current credit card on file and a shipping address within a state that allows the Buyer to import alcohol directly.
  • When you place a bid, enter the maximum amount you're willing to pay for the item (the minimum bid will be displayed in parentheses below the bid box). The seller and other bidders don't know your maximum bid. Only the current bid and previously placed bids are visible to the public.
  • Once you enter your maximum bid in the field provided and click the “Place Bid” button, you will be taken to the bid confirmation page to review and confirm your bid. After your bid has been placed, you will receive an email confirmation for your records.
    • If you do not receive a confirmation email, your bid may not have been recorded. Please check the “Auctions – Buying” section of the “My Account” page or contact the Auction Department to confirm that your bid was recorded if you do not receive a confirmation email.
  • At any time, you may view your bid history and/or increase your maximum bid by going to the “My Account” section of the website and selecting “Auctions - Buying.”
  • K&L’s automatic bidding system makes bidding easier and less time consuming:
    • Your maximum bid reflects the most you are willing to pay for the lot.
    • When placing a maximum bid, it must be equal to or higher than the bid increment for the lot (see chart below). The increment amount is determined by the current bid.
    • Your bids will be placed automatically in reaction to a competing bid. The automatic bidding system will only bid the minimum amount necessary to make sure you remain the high bidder, up to your maximum bid. If you and another bidder bid the same amount on a lot, the bid placed earliest takes priority.
    • If your maximum is outbid, we will notify you via email so that you have an opportunity to raise your maximum bid before the auction ends. Please note each auction has a defined end time and no bids will be accepted if placed after that time.
    • Make sure you have correctly entered in your maximum bid since this will be considered a binding contract to buy if you should you win the lot. Therefore, only bid on items that you intend to buy.
    • Bid Increments: Each auction lot follows a bid increment based on the current bid on the item (see table below).
      Lower Price Upper Price Bid Increment Value
      $0.01 $0.99 $0.05
      $1.00 $4.99 $0.25
      $5.00 $24.99 $0.50
      $25.00 $99.99 $2.00
      $100.00 $249.99 $5.00
      $250.00 $499.99 $10.00
      $500.00 $999.99 $25.00
      $1,000.00 $2,499.99 $50.00
      $2,500.00 $4,999.99 $100.00
      $5,000.00   $250.00
  • Maximum bids must meet or exceed the minimum bid (one bid increment above the current bid amount); however they need not be whole numbers or multiples of the bid increment.
  • Your maximum bid can be increased by more than the standard increment if it is necessary to beat another maximum bid placed ahead of yours.
    • For example, Lot A has a current bid of $100, and the winning bidder (Bidder A) has a maximum bid of $125. If Bidder B places a bid at $130, the current bid would jump to $130 with Bidder B as the current winning bidder. The bid history will show the sequence of bids including the automatic (proxy) bid of $125 by Bidder A.
  • It is also possible to get outbid by less than a full increment. The winning bid needs only to be higher than the next highest maximum bid by one cent.
    • For example, Bidder A places a bid of $120 on a lot with a $100 reserve. Bidder A is the current high bidder at $100. Bidder B then places a bid of $105, which causes an automatic bid of $110 on behalf of Bidder A, and outbids Bidder B. If a third bidder (Bidder C) places a bid at $120.01, then Bidder C becomes the current winning bidder at $120.01. Bidder C’s bid is both higher than $115, the next minimum bid per the $5 increment, as well as Bidder A’s maximum bid of $120. Bidder C would not have known that Bidder A’s maximum bid was $120, since only the current bid is visible to the public.
  • Bid History:
    • Each lot will show a link with the Bid History.
    • The bids are shown in chronological order from when they were placed on the auction lot.
      1. Gray italicized text indicates an automatic (proxy) bid placed by K&L Wine Auctions on behalf of the bidder in reaction to another bid. Automatic bids display the bid date and time of the originally placed bid.
      2. Automatic (proxy) bids are displayed in the bid history in the order they get placed by the automatic bidding system to show their role in the bidding sequence.
  • Buyer's Premium:
    • K&L charges a 5% buyer’s premium on top of the winning bid. When a bidder enters a maximum bid, the buyer’s premium is calculated and displayed to the bidder on the lot detail page as well as the bid confirmation page. Buyer is only responsible for paying the buyer’s premium on the winning bid, which may be less than the maximum bid (see above explanation on maximum bids).

Watch/Track Auction Lots

  • To follow an auction lot, select the button on the lot detail page that says “Add to Watch List.” You’ll receive an email confirmation with the current bid, the lot end date and time information and a link to the auction lot on KLWines.com. For any lots on your watch list, you will receive a 24-hour reminder email notice as well a notice when the lot closes with the selling price. You must be logged into your K&L account to manage your watch list or place bids.
  • To view the lots you are tracking, please visit the “Auctions-Buying” page in the My Account section of the site. You can bid directly from this page, or click the lot name to go to the detail page. The Watch List is divided between active lots and lots that have closed. The list will default to show only active lots, but select the “closed” link to view past tracked lots. If you want to be notified when a particular wine comes up for auction, select the keywords for email notification link and add preferred wines.

Paying for Your Wine

  • As the winning bidder, you will receive an email notification directly following the auction close that provides a link to confirm your order and select shipping preferences. You must do this within 3 days of the auction end date or the total purchase price will be automatically charged to your credit card on file. You may also call 650-591-1705 to confirm your order over the phone. The auction lot will remain in our fulfillment center until you arrange to claim your merchandise.
  • If K&L places your order after the 3-day window period has expired, we reserve the right to charge any valid card on file should the default credit card be expired or declined for other reasons.
  • You may only pay for your wine with a credit or debit card.
  • Title to the property will not pass from Seller to Buyer until full payment is received by K&L Wine Merchants. Any applicable storage or shipping charges must also be received prior to the release of the lot.
    • If you are interested in K&L Wine Merchants temperature-controlled lockers available in our San Carlos, California fulfillment center for forty-three dollars ($43) per month, please contact [email protected].

Emails About Your Transactions

  • K&L Wine Merchants keeps both Buyers and Sellers informed with email notifications about the status of auction lots.
  • Bidders will receive a variety of emails including bid confirmation notices, outbid notices, winning bid notices, and shipping notices.
  • Sellers will receive a variety of emails keeping them up to speed on their auction lots. Sellers will receive a notification when we’ve initiated the first lot in the consignment and each time a lot sells or if a lot ends without a winner.
  • It is very important to keep your email address up-to-date in order to receive these critical notifications. You can always reach an Auction Department by sending a message to [email protected].
  • To update your email address, go to the My Accounts section of the website and click ‘Account Profile’ to make changes to your contact information.

Shipping - Sellers

  • Non-local Sellers will need to ship their wine to our Northern California fulfillment facility for inspection prior to sale at auction. We will send you a pre-paid shipping label to use and if necessary, proper packing materials. In the case of large consignments or periods of extreme weather, alternative shipping arrangements may be made.
  • The shipping costs will be deducted from your final payment after the wine has been sold.
  • Upon receiving your shipping label and packing materials, please safely pack your wine and include a signed copy of your Auction Consignment Form. You will be able to drop the packages off at a local FedEx or UPS office or arrange a pick-up from your home.
  • For wine being shipped FedEx or UPS, we require the use of Styrofoam wine shippers. If proper packing materials are not used, K&L cannot be held liable for any breakage during transit.
  • If the wine is not in the same condition as indicated in the Seller’s original list and/or is not the correct wine, Seller will be responsible for paying for the outstanding shipping costs as well as the fees incurred in returning the wine to the original address should K&L not be able to proceed with the auction.

Shipping - Buyers

  • All purchased auction items may be arranged for shipment on behalf of the Buyer from our Northern California warehouse after receiving payment of the purchase price and pre-paid shipping charges.
  • The Buyer may also arrange to pick up the wine from any of our retail locations in Redwood City, San Francisco or Hollywood, California free of charge. Local deliveries to certain zip codes can be arranged by contacting the Auction Department.
  • Buyer will have an opportunity to select their shipping preferences, provided the requested shipping address is within a state that allows the Buyer to import alcohol directly. If a customer lives in a state where importation of wine by a consumer violates the law, we suggest that the customer provide an alternative address in another state or have their wine shipped to a third-party storage facility in a direct shipping-friendly state.
  • We automatically include insurance for a nominal fee on all auction orders at the time of shipment (excludes Will Call orders). If the Buyer declines insurance, a written acknowledgement to hold K&L without fault for any damage during shipment is required.
  • Wine shipments cannot be insured against loss resulting from hot or cold temperatures; we strongly suggest using accelerated shipping methods, or delaying shipments until weather conditions are moderate.


  • 5% Buyer’s Premium on winning bid.
  • Seller’s Commission – K&L’s seller commission is determined by how payment is taken (check or store credit) and the value of the consignment. If auction proceeds are applied to K&L online or in-store retail purchases (not valid on auction purchases), no commission is charged to the seller. For more questions on K&L seller commission, contact an Auction Buyer at [email protected]
  • Listing Fee – There is a $5.00 listing fee for each auction lot, which is subtracted from the seller proceeds as soon as a lot sells.
  • Shipping – All K&L customers benefit from our greatly reduced shipping rates. Buyers should note that shipping is not included in the winning bid. Sellers will pay for the shipping materials and rates associated with sending their wine to K&L Wine Merchants for inspection. Shipping insurance is required for both Buyers and Sellers.

    *Please Note: We make no profit on our shipping rates, passing the savings onto our customers.


Automatic Bid: A bid placed on behalf of a bidder in reaction to a competing bid. An automatic bid will only reflect the minimum amount necessary to keep the bidder in winning position, up to their maximum bid. Automatic bids are displayed in gray italics in the Bid History for a lot.

Below Reserve Offer: An offer extended by the Seller to the highest bidder, whose bid remains below the reserve amount after the auction close. Bidders are under no obligation to accept this offer since their bid did not meet the reserve. Bidders have a 3-day time frame to place their order, or the offer may expire.

Bid Increment: The minimum amount a bidder must raise their bid from the current bid. Bid increments grow in amount as the current bid increases.

Buyer’s Premium: A percentage fee charged on top of the winning bid/hammer price.

Consignor: The owner who is transferring property to K&L to sell at auction.

Current Bid: The current winning bid on an auction lot, viewable to public. The current bid is the basis for the bid increment, which can change as the current bid increases through the course of an auction period. The current bid may not reflect the maximum bid placed by an active bidder in the auction.

Hammer Price: The final and winning bid price that is recorded when the bidding period on an auction lot ends.

Horizontal Lot: An auction lot containing two or more different bottles of wine from the same vintage, usually from the same producer.

Lot: One or more bottles of wine offered for sale at auction as a single unit.

Maximum Bid: The highest amount a bidder is willing to pay for the lot. A bidder’s maximum bid amount is not published. K&L’s automatic bidding system will automatically place bids on the behalf of the bidder up to this amount in reaction to competing bids.

Mixed/Tasting Lot: An auction lot containing two or more bottles of wine that are related in some regard, typically vintage, region, producer, etc.

(OWC): Original wood case. If an OWC is available as part of an auction lot, it is noted in the lot listing name and generally included in the photo of the lot. Occasionally the original cardboard case is available for wines that come in such packaging. This is noted as “OCB.” For Champagne lots that have the original display gift box, this will be noted as “Gift Box.” OWC boxes will ship separate from the wine to protect the bottles and will be automatically assigned the least expensive shipping option (does not apply to Will Call orders). If the buyer does not the box, they must contact the Auction Department.

Provenance: Information about how the seller of the wine has come to own the wine and how it has been stored in their possession.

Reserve: The minimum purchase price that the Seller is willing to accept for the lot. The exact Reserve price may not be published should it differ from the starting bid.

Reserve Not Met: When a bid is placed below the reserve, this message is displayed on the lot and indicated in the bidder’s confirmation email. You must raise your bid until this message no longer appears in order to have a winning bid. Sellers do have the option to extend a “Below Reserve Offer” to bidders after the auction period is over should the highest bid remain below the reserve amount.

Second Chance Offer: An offer sent the second highest bidder in an auction. This happens if the original winner is unable or unwilling to purchase the lot and the runner-up is given the opportunity to buy the wine. The potential new winner has the option to accept or decline this offer.

Seller’s Commission: A percentage of the Seller’s final auction sale price paid to K&L.

Starting Bid: The opening and lowest acceptable bid for an auction lot. The Starting Bid may also be the reserve price, but not necessarily.

Vertical Lot: An auction lot containing two or more bottles from consecutive vintages of the same wine.