The joy of collecting wine comes from having a variety of bottles that you’re proud of owning and enjoy drinking and sharing with others. Aging the wine yourself as opposed to buying it pre-aged adds a certain satisfaction and a sense of responsibility for contributing to the quality of the wine. Collecting wine can be a very rewarding hobby.
Where to Get Started
Firstly, you need to decide where you’re going to store your wines. In order to preserve the wines’ quality, it’s recommended that you invest in a wine refrigerator with enough capacity to fit your whole collection. For someone just starting out, a wine cooler with a capacity of between 18-32 bottles will most likely be enough. If in the future your collection swells beyond that, you can always invest in another cooler.
What Kind of Wine Cooler or Refrigerator Should you Get?
Thermoelectric wine coolers are widely considered to be the best for protecting the integrity of wine. They produce very few vibrations. Vibrations are not good for your wine and can reduce its quality over time. There are other kinds of fridges or coolers that don’t give off harmful vibrations, but the most common type is thermoelectric.
What Wines to Buy
First and foremost, regardless of what any other collectors or wine connoisseurs may think, what makes a wine great is a matter of personal preference. Almost anyone can be a wine collector if you have a place to put them because the price tag is virtually insignificant. You can get a nice bottle of wine for as little as $30 that will age well and taste even better years from now. The story behind where the wine comes from is secondary. “I’ve kept this bottle in my cellar for nine years” is more intriguing than “This is a 25 year old bottle from XYZ winery that I bought yesterday.” Your guests will appreciate wine that you’ve aged yourself, no matter where it came from.
Choose wines that you enjoy regardless of the price but don’t buy too much at once. Your taste may evolve over time. You wouldn’t want to find yourself with three cases of something you don’t particularly care for anymore. If you decide you want to buy high quality wines to resell later in hopes of making a profit, that’s definitely possible. But you should keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a worthwhile price for them in the future considering what it will cost you to store them in a temperature controlled unit for that long.
Wines That Age Well
Most wines are actually made to be consumed within the first five years. Not all kinds of wine have the acidity to keep maturing over time. You should know which wines age best so that you don’t end up storing something even though it’s already done aging. If you need a few suggestions, here are some wines that are commonly collected.
- Nebbiolo – from Piedmont
- A Petit Chateau Bordeaux
- Gamay Cru Beaujolais
- Pinot Noir – from Oregon
- White Bordeaux – from Pessac-Leognan
- Gruner Veltliner – from Austria
- Riesling – from Germany
- Chardonnay – from California
Where to Buy
Buying straight from the source is always going to be the best and most reliable way to acquire your wines. You’ll know for certain that is has been cared for properly and that you’re always getting what you pay for. If that’s not really an option, then a reliable and trustworthy merchant is also a good place to collect wines from. Be wary of places or people you’ve never bought from before. You should do some research to verify their credibility.
Collect at Your Own Pace
There’s no need to rush out and buy a large amount of wines to start off your collection. Your collection can be as limited as it may turn out to be. If you try something you like and decide to pick up a couple of bottles of it, great. That’s a natural pace for collecting. Especially starting out, it’s better to take it slow and appreciate learning more about different wines as you go.