How to Start a Wine Collection: A Beginner’s Guide
Collecting “collectibles” is one of the oldest hobbies that continue to hold sway over Homo sapiens since time immemorial. The items collected for the sheer joy ranges from stamps to seashells to match box labels to paintings to coins and much more.
The idea behind collecting has also undergone tremendous changes. While it probably began for enjoyment and pleasure derived from the entire collecting and preserving process, today it is considered by many as more than a simple hobby.
It is seen as a means to making money. Collecting has changed his colors from being a simple hobby to a potentially successful commercial venture.
Wine comes quite high in the hierarchy of items that are popular among collecting hobbyists. I have written this article for the curious and for those keen on starting out on this unique yet thrilling journey of wine collection.
There are multiple reasons why wine is a great collectible. A great option for investment, convenience, pleasure and the irrepressible human curiosity are some of the reasons.
It goes without saying that the value of collectibles increase with time and antiquity lends an invaluable price tag to the item. Hence it makes sense to collect wines whose value can be quantified through well-proofed documents and many times, associated legendary stories that accompany the wines, the vineyard or the specific bottle itself.
Moreover, wine collecting can be a very personal hobby. For starters you do not need to focus on wines that are prohibitively expensive or sometimes merely backed by brand hype creation.
Choose your initial collections from your heart. Maybe, the vineyard has a history personally connected to you or your family; the year of manufacture was your wedding year or your birthday etc. Look for such “personal” reasons!
And these wines can be toasted on special occasions and each time the associated legend and other nice details can be reiterated adding to its value in your home and among your loved ones.
Critical Tips Before Starting out on your Venture
- Disposable Income – Collecting wine will cost money of course.
- Have a Basic Plan – develop a strategy, start in an organized way and remain organized. Any venture started out in a haphazard manner is bound to meet with little success.
- Listen to yourself – as a novice, while listening to experts is important, do not forget to listen to your own heart and taste buds. Even if you cannot sell it an exorbitant profit, you will enjoy drinking the wine. And the journey then becomes enjoyable and fun.
- Maintain records of your collection – Every time you add to your collection, ensure the related documents are neatly and retrievably documented. Additionally, as your collection grows ensure you regularly update your paperwork and ensure your collection is appraised regularly.
- Do Not Cringe on Investing in a Good Cellar / Storage Utility – It is critical that you handle wines, especially the vintage ones, with extreme care. Do not cut corners while investing in a cellar because if you cannot care for your wines well, then their value is not going to get any better. Your cellar should have the right temperature, humidity, darkness and inviolable environment for the best aging results.
- Flat not upright – It is recommended that you keep your wines flat and not upright ensuring that the cork does not dry out.
How to make your Selections
White or Red – bold and big red wines with a higher alcohol content age very well. Some classic examples are Rioja, Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Similarly, full-bodied and aromatic whites such as Rieslings, Burgundies and Chardonnay are great options.
Keep a look out for undervalued wines – Remember the older the wine, the enhanced value! So keep an eye out for those wines that have the potential to age well and increase in value. Then you will find many such options which will fit your wallet wonderfully and yet will have the power as they age in your cellar.
A few starters that fall easily on your pocket
Here are a couple of good wines that have potential to age very well and yet priced reasonably today. It is great idea to buy two bottles if you intend to add to your collection – one bottle to drink occasionally and make notes while you taste at regular intervals and the other bottle for the storage cellar.
- Macon from France – A simple white Burgundy that improves considerably in taste and texture as it ages
- Californian Bubbly – is great as it ages. The bubbly calms down and the taste and texture get richer and nuttier with cellaring.
- Californian Cabernet Sauvignon – a mid-range wine (avoid the lower end) of this category improves well with aging.
- American Syrah – are fairly explosive and difficult to drink when young; after a few years, however, these become smooth and lovely to the palate.
Discerning power for anything of beauty is a skill that develops slowly but surely if you invest sufficient time and resources for it. Wine combines beauty, headiness and some great flavors and textures to boot.
Wines add that oomph to your personality and your home. Will you turn down any dinner invite when you know that the host/hostess has an excellent wine collection? The same holds good when you can boast of a good well-stocked cellar,
Wine collecting is not a mere hobby; it has the potential to make you an artist. It has other facets too such as the excitement of discovering a new wine, regular tasting exercises that can be real fun, making notes, noticing differences in flavor and/or texture as the wine ages and more.
Debunk irrelevant myths such as wine collection is only the rich, one needs a big basement and large capital to start off etc. By investing a small (but disposable part of your income), time and patience, you can get an enviable collection at home! So go ahead, follow your heart!