Personally, I think that everyone who drinks and enjoys wine should collect wine. I know that a number of people who drink wine don’t want the expense and hassle of a wine cellar…or the expense of collecting bottles that may not be opened for years.
Yes, those collectors exist along with their cellars. I don’t necessarily consider myself a collector. I like to refer to myself as a person who “over buys” wine. What I am suggesting is that every wine drinker should have a stash, or collection, of at least 36 bottles of wine you like. If you want to have a larger wine cellar, a collection of 240 bottles is a reasonable goal. This amount could easily be stored in several large wine coolers.
But perhaps a better way to determine the number of bottles in your collection is to consider how many bottles of wine you drink per week and your budget.
Here are a couple more thoughts on why to collect wine:
- We all know that the majority of wines produced are made to be consumed within 12 to 24 months. 70% to 90% of consumers drink wine they purchase within 24 hours of purchasing it.
- The best Reds always seem to taste better after they have aged at least several years (or longer). For a guideline use wines that cost $50.00 to $60.00 per bottle as the ones that need aging. Aging just seems to mellow the tannins and the wine’s fruity flavors evolve into layers of earthy complexity. The wine’s flavor profile is greatly improved. Tasting how a wine changes with age, even just a little age, is one of the pleasures of wine drinking.
My Tips on Collecting Wine
- Set a budget (unless money isn’t an issue) and stick to it. Wine collecting can quickly be driven by passion and the excitement of having a special bottle of wine. If you aren’t careful your wine buying can quickly get out of hand. Take my word for it. You can go from collecting to “over buying” and not even know it.
As I touched on earlier, I suggest you figure out how many bottles of wine you drink per week. Let’s say you drink two to three bottles a week. This is the equivalent of a case a month or 12 cases per year. This is where collecting gets tricky. Let’s use $20.00 to $30.00 per bottle as your budget. Remember you can get some good 90 point or higher wines for $20.00 or less if you look for them. At $20.00 per bottle that is $240.00 per case (and there is usually a 10% to 15% discount for case purchases at most wine shops) or about $2,880.00 per year. If your budget is $30.00 per bottle it would be $360.00 per case or about $4,320.00 per year. You might consider using your case discount to purchase another bottle of wine to try.
When you have a wine you enjoy, especially one that tastes young to you (one that tastes tough or mouth puckering) I would suggest you buy one or two extras to add to your collection. Also remember not to rush. You have all the time you need to find the right wines for you.
- Pay attention to your storage needs and think ahead. Do not store your wines in a wine rack in the kitchen, especially near the stove or range. Remember these bottles aren’t décor items. Select a cool, dry location for storage. If you aren’t going to invest in cooling equipment or in temperature-controlled units, I would suggest using a location in your basement near an outside wall. However, I do recommend that you consider purchasing a temperature-controlled unit that you can keep set at around 55 degrees which is the ideal temperature for storing your wine collection.
- I recommend you keep track of your inventory. At a minimum what you need to know is:
- Vineyard or Winery
- Type of wine
- How many bottles you have
- Wine score (if it matters)
I would also ask your insurance company (Homeowners) about insuring your collection. As the collection grows it becomes more valuable.
- Buying wine is like buying art, the difference being you have to drink wine to enjoy it. So pick wines you like but be adventurous and follow your taste. Don’t worry about investment potential; remember we are collecting wines to drink.
- Taste before you buy. Buy a bottle and try it before buying a case. I also would recommend that you don’t buy more than two cases of any one wine.
- Purchasing from a reliable wine shop, retailer or direct from a winery is always best. Look for good deals at these locations. We have talked in the past about case discounts, wine club value and deep discounts at the big box retailers. Shopping online is good but tricky. Don’t be seduced by prices that are too good to be true!
Finally be prepared to be obsessed. Wine can and does take over your life. It is part of an enjoyable lifestyle. If you start thinking about it all the time and then talking about it all the time…well, you are hooked.
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Until next week,
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
May 25 – International Chardonnay Day (Thursday before Memorial Day)
June 21 – Lambrusco Day
August 1 – Albariño Day
August 14 – International Rosé Day
August 18 – Pinot Noir Day
August 31 – International Cabernet Day (Thursday before Labor Day)
September 15 – International Grenache Day (3rd Friday in September)