• Peter Wilson

7 Tips to Creating a Good Collection of Wine

I have a lot of friends that love their wine (well it's most of them...loving wine is not a prerequisite for being my friend, but it seems to help) and they'll often say that they wished that they had a decent quantity of good wine stored away. This is usually remarked upon when someone is a guest at our home and I pull out a bottle that was purchased a number of years prior - usually while on a long weekend getaway to visit wineries, and usually with said guests. Not only does it spark memories of those weekends away, but the wine is often tasting a lot better with some age on it.

At any one time, we have around one hundred bottles in the house stored away (we’re not rich - this article isn’t designed for those who are. If you’re rich, install a bat-cave like space under your house, consistently purchase hundreds of bottles of excellent wine; et voila! You’re done). But although we don’t have bat-cave money, we do spend a bit on wine because it’s something we enjoy. Using the tips below, you can build up a good selection of wine that includes some cheaper everyday drinking wine, some bottles that have improved (and gone up in value) with age, and a few bottles that you regret buying and will probably gift to someone who will drink anything.

Tip #1: Don’t Drink All of Your Wine

This one might seem too obvious, but it is the first step to building up a collection and usually the step most people fail on. The best tip someone gave me for this is to buy some for now and some for later. If you buy a case of wine, drink six and put six away. Try to forget about them and buy more when those first six are finished. This works for any quantity, whether you buy two bottles or 24. Stick to this rule and the wine will start piling up.

Tip #2: Buy Wine That Will Age Well

If you’re going to build up a good collection of wine, pick ones that are going to improve with age. We are generally talking about red wine, who’s tannins in particular soften over the years, but I’ve had many whites like Chardonnays that have tasted better over time as well.

You don’t have to be an expert to know whether wine will improve, you just have to do a bit of research. Most wineries will have tasting notes about their wine on their website that suggests a drinking period, or if you’re at a cellar door just ask. I doubt any of our wine suggesting that it is best drunk in 2030 will be around by then, but it’s nice to dream!

Tip #3: Cheap Wine Probably Won’t Age Well

If you buy a $2-dollar bottle of wine that tastes like grape juice mixed with turpentine, don’t expect it to all of a sudden sing on the taste buds in a few years’ time. Trust me, I’ve tried it. Said bottle was in the cooking wine pile after two sips (the second sip made by an unsuspecting friend to confirm it was poison). If the wine is horrible now, it will be horrible in years to come.

It does of course depend on your definition of ‘cheap’. I have a bottle I purchased for $25 in 2012 for instance, that is difficult to find for less than $70 now.

Tip #4: Find the coolest place in the house

Wine is best kept in consistent cool temperatures (the ideal being 55° F for reds). For people who live in a in a warm climate like us, this can be an issue. I’ve found the centre of the house in a dark cupboard the best place in our home, but I have friends that store it in their basement, or under the house.

Do not store wine in your laundry next to the dryer! I had a friend with a large collection of expensive wine who did that. After a year it was all ruined and he had to throw it out.

For the best option for storing wine (if you can’t afford that bat-cave), see Tip #5…

Tip #5: Buy a wine Fridge

We have a couple of wine fridges that ensure the better bottles we own are stored in perfect conditions. There are a lot of options out there, depending on your wallet size and the physical space you have to put it in. We have this one and this one which suit us. There are of course bigger ones, ones with dual-zone temperature control, ones with digital displays and fancy lighting.

Tip #6: Write What you Paid on the Bottle or Store the More Expensive Wine Separately

This tip doesn’t necessarily help you grow your collection, but it does definitely help avoid drinking an expensive bottle late in the night when lesser quality wine will do. This has happened to us many times, so we now have a system to avoid such catastrophes.

Tip #7: Join A Wine Club

The best way to ensure the bottles of wine keep flowing to your door. Most wineries will have a wine club, or there are companies that offer mixed dozens monthly as well. We usually have a couple of wine memberships on the go throughout the year and we do stop and start different ones to get some diversity in our collection. We prefer to go direct to the wineries (they are often small businesses and make a better margin that way).

Good luck! Again, your biggest hurdle is going to be not drinking your wine before purchasing more. If you can get past that one, the rest is easy and you’ll have a nice collection of wine ready to go for any occasion.

This article was originally published at https://www.welovewinos.com/

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