Whatever about me collecting wine, it’s a job as well as a passion. But what about you? If you’ve been bitten by the wine bug and you want to start collecting wine – what do you do first? Prices are rapidly increasing so you want to start ASAP.
Do you instantly rush out and use your credit card to start buying wines as fast as possible? No! Why not? Well, I would advise that you determine why you want to start collecting in the first place.
In a previous post I outlined some of the Secrets of Wine Storage. In this post I want to delve a little deeper and cover the topics of becoming a wine collector, how to cellar your wine and finally broach the subject of investing in wine. So, what are the reasons people might want to start collecting wine?
- Collect bottles that remind them of milestones in their life. Something that they can enjoy later and reminisce.
- Stock up on a country/region or vintage that they have an interest in.
- See what a mature wine tastes like and compare to younger versions.
- Start a collection and cash-in the investment when value increases
How to start collecting wine.
As you can imagine, it would be easy to saunter into Green Acres and buy endless amounts of wine to start your collection. As much as I would like you to do so, this would be the worst move you could make. The first step, as repeated in numerous Green Acres posts heretofore, is to become a little more knowledgeable about wine.
It’s a really good idea that you taste as many different wines as possible before embarking on your quest. I mean, what’s the point in having loads of good wines that you don’t actually like/enjoy? Yes, high scoring wines usually denote quality, but that is nothing to do with personal taste.
For me, the key for everyone who wants to collect wine is to experiment with your wine tasting and then decide on the style/taste you like. They might very well be wines recommended by friends, critics, wine writers or me.
But you might also discover those wines are not for you. Your palate might prefer different styles of wine. Wine, like life, is all a matter of personal taste.
All of this tasting doesn’t have to be at home, Retailers such as ourselves often hold tastings or dinners. There are classes held by wine clubs, restaurants and even private people host them. You can join or form an online group e.g. on Facebook.
It is easy to meet fellow wine lovers. If in doubt contact me and I can give you a heads-up.
Considerations when collecting wine.
There are seven considerations to take on board when you start on your wine journey.
- Affordability. There is no point in starting a wine collection if you don’t have a budget put aside. There are extra costs such as storage, security, insurance etc
- Storage. I will come back to cellaring wine later but suffice to say that your collection will require an investment in a cellar (or a reputable storage facility).
- Records. You will need to keep track of your collection (with tasting notes if opened) and there are apps for this, if you don’t want to stay manual.
- Worthwhile. Whilst you might love a particular wine it has to be worth cellaring if you are to build your collection.
- Appraisals. You should constantly have the value of your collection appraised. For instance, for insurance purposes.
- Hands-off. It really will be better in the long run if you don’t man-handle your bottles. Put them away and leave them lie, particularly with very old wines.
- Fake Wines. Unfortunately, they exist. What may be too good to be true probably is.
So, once you have decided why you want to start a collection and are aware of the above considerations, my advice is to start small. You don’t need to impress anyone. This is for you. Stick with what you like and ignore what the trends might be saying.
A trend can guide you toward an investment, but always buy what you want.
Cellaring your wine.
I do not intend to go into the finer details of best-cellar practices here, but if you’d like to discuss the topic with me just give me a buzz here in Green Acres.
Ninety five percent of the world’s wine does not need cellaring. Most wines are in fact at their peak the day they are released. When you think of it, almost every bottle of wine is consumed on the day it is purchased, or shortly thereafter.
However, a small amount of great wine is produced that ages and improves with age and proper cellaring. Wine is a living thing. It changes with time in the bottle. Depending on the wine, it can take from years to decades for the molecular structure to change. But changes do occur from cellaring wine.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to engage in cellaring wine to enjoy it. The truth is, most people like the taste, aromas and texture found in young wine. There is nothing wrong with that. All wine appreciation is a matter of personal taste.
I’m also conscious of the fact that to a lot of young people, the thought of buying a bottle of wine, putting it in a cellar to drink 10/15 years later sounds like a joke. To these I will say that there is simply no substitute for time, but also to enjoy the wine you’re with.
People buying fine wines understand that with time, a wine becomes more than what it was when it was originally placed in the bottle. Cellared wine is more than bottled history, although there is value in the history discovered with aged wine as well.
Grapes all over the world are picked today at greater levels of ripeness, giving a softer, rounder feel to the wines. This allows consumers to enjoy their wines with less cellaring than the previous generation of wine lovers.
As suggested in my previous post, referred to above about storing wines, the key to aging and cellaring wine is:
- temperature control and
- humidity, along with a
- lack of light and
Regardless of the type of wine, and the size of your cellar, those four points are your sole concern. Wines with the ability to age and evolve into something greater than its youth are rare and expensive. Depending on the wine and vintage, it could take years, or often decades for the wine to reach maturity.
By the way, if you store your wines in a cardboard box, that box will eventually bend and disintegrate with time. You might want to consider placing your wine in either wood cases of wood racks if you are planning on long term storage.
Also, if you are buying wine either for investment, or think you might want to sell the wine in the future, save the original wood case. This can add 10% to the price of the wine, especially if the wine is still in the wood case, or if the case remained unopened.
If you don’t fancy the hassle of cellaring your wine most wine merchants can offer temperature controlled, wine cellaring facilities, see our site for details. Another alternative is a stand-alone, properly refrigerated cellar that holds from say, 50 bottles, up to 500.
Cellaring your fine wines is the only way to ensure perfect provenance. Cellaring wine demands patience. But if you are a fan of older, aged wine, the rewards outweigh the cost in both time and money.
Why Invest in Wines?
It could be argued that wine investments outperform traditional investments such as stocks/ share or commodities with higher returns and lower risks. However, I am not a qualified investment manager, so I’ll leave that point there.
For me, the advantages of investing in fine wine are:
- It is a personal ownership of a tangible asset (you can feel, transport and drink it)
- It is subject to supply and demand (any given vintage is finite)
- It can offer impressive returns compared to most other assets
- It is considered a luxury product. (therefore, not as prone to market turbulence)
- It offers stability in the current climate of economic concern
- It is still your wine at the end of the day (you can drink it when you want to)
A properly put together wine cellar is a fantastic asset, literally and figuratively. A cellar’s primary benefit is an investment in pleasure. Laying down a wine you love, allowing it to rest for a decade or longer until it finishes going through its much needed evolution, is what cellaring wine is all about.
All the world’s great wines need aging. It is only when those wines have reached maturity that they begin delivering the amazing tastes, smells, textures and sensations that wine lovers have been drooling about for centuries. Why not join the club?
One last thing – did you know that we launched the Green Acres mobile app recently? Now you can bring us home in your pocket. Book tables, browse wines, learn of special offers, check events, connect with us, earn loyalty rewards and much more. We would really appreciate if you would click on either of the tabs below to download for free.
Talk to you soon, Donal.