Wine Collecting: 10 Tips for Beginners

published Apr 27, 2012
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Have you ever considered starting a wine collection but were unsure how to begin? Here are some useful tips for any readers considering having more than a few dozen bottles around at the one time.

If you decide to collect wine, the most important first step is to be clear about your objectives. Are you collecting for your own everyday and future drinking pleasure? Or are you investing in an asset, which you plan to sell at a future date for a profit? Depending on your answer, how you set about starting and building your collection will differ greatly.

For the purpose of this post, let’s assume you are collecting for your personal pleasure.

Collecting Wine: 10 Essential Tips

1. Not all wines age well. Collect wines that have at least 2 to 3 years aging potential. The real fun in collecting is seeing how these wines develop over time. Get to know the categories of wines that age. For example Bordeaux ages but simple Beaujolais does not

2. Proper storage is critical. Do not keep good wine in an over-heated apartment, and especially not in your kitchen. Invest in a temperature controlled wine fridge if you do not have a cool, dark room that stays a consistent temperature all year.

3. Mix it up – collect a balance of styles and colors – red, white, dry, sparkling and sweet.

• 4. Unless you have serious money to splurge, forget about buying the top vintages from Bordeaux or Burgundy. Seek out lesser vintages or buy from other regions such as Loire Valley, Rhône. Similarly forget the cult Napa cabs, try Sonoma, Oregon or other US states.

5. Research, read, ask questions – get to know your local fine wine store. Books such as “Wine for Dummies” or “The Wine Bible” are really good starting points to get a good overview and understanding of the world of wine.

6. Try to buy at least 6 of each wine so that you can open one bottle when you buy it, one maybe 9-12 months later and so on.

7. Keep an up-to-date inventory. As your collection grows you may want to invest in a cellar management system.

8. Join or form a wine club with your friends. After all wine, is about sharing, exchanging opinions.

9. Read a variety of critics’ reviews such Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast et al, but don’t be a slave to the scores. Have your own opinions and trust your own palate.

10. Finally have fun!

Do you collect wine or keep wine in long-term storage? What’s your strategy and approach to this?

Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.

Related: Why You Should Invest in Cheap Wine

(Image: Mary Gorman-McAdams)