How to Start Your First Wine Collection, and Make It Thrive
Maybe you’ve just walked away from a stand out meal, made complete with the perfect wine pairing. Or, perhaps you’ve purchased a bottle unique to a wine region you’ve just traveled to. Whatever the catalyst may be, you know one thing: today is the day you’re finally ready to start a wine collection.
With an ever-increasing abundance of vintage bottles, new harvests, and regional favorites to choose from, it’s important to have a plan for two things: how to start your collection, and how to store it. With decades of experience sourcing, collecting, and preserving wine, Mt. Tabor Fine Wines is ready to share our ten essential tips every new wine collector should know, regarding how to start and store a collection.
Set a Firm Budget
A foundational tool for any hobby or investment, is to establish how much you can afford, or wish to spend on your wine collection. What is realistic for your budget? Award winning wine advisor Alder Yarrow believes that, “aspiring collectors may be surprised to know that as little as $300 or $400 can be enough to buy some excellent bottles that will [last] the next 20 years.”
And remember, you can start small and reassess how much you’re willing to spend over time, so don’t be dissuaded from starting a collection today, even if you start out small.
Exercise a Wine Buying Strategy
If you decide you are willing to devote $1000 a year to your wine collection, it’s unlikely you plan to shell out this sum in one instance. As a guide, your buying strategy should reflect your patterns of consumption. If you enjoy wine regularly with meals, and if you often host events for others, consider purchasing 1 or 2 cases per month for general enjoyment, and then an additional two cases for special occasions throughout the year.
You can adjust these numbers based on your habits, but consider how much you want to consume and how frequently you want to buy, and then develop a buying strategy that aligns with your budget.
Buy What You Like
Prefer red over white? Do you regularly prepare either meat or seafood and have a pairing preference? While collecting wine often tempts new collectors to buy into expensive labels, think practically. What do you enjoy drinking? Whether you have a specific vineyard or type of wine you enjoy, be sure to make this a focal part of your collection.
Don’t Under-Stock Your Favorite Vintages
In a similar vein, overstock your favorites. If you have a sentimental or favorite wine, buy more than you anticipate drinking. As some bottles are preserved for nostalgia and value, you’ll inevitably want to bring out that favorite bottle of wine to accompany an evening meal or the perfect event.
Leave Your Wine Alone
Yes, it’s tempting to dip in to your newly founded collection, but resist! This not only helps you establish a well-stocked selection, but also aids in enhancing the quality of the wine as it ages. If you’ve designated a bottle for aging, refrain from moving the bottle until you’re ready to enjoy its contents.
Designate a Space for Your Wine Collection
Once you have started purchasing bottles for your collection, it is key to devise a storage space. As wine is incredibly sensitive to its surroundings, take care to select a space that accounts for the impact that outside influences will have on your bottles’ flavors. Invest in a cellar, rent space in a climate controlled facility, or design your own racks, but either way, be sure to pick a space dedicated to your collection.
Keep Your Wine Cool
As increased temperature procures a faster aging process for your wine, strive to find a cool wine storage area that varies between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In tandem, be sure the spot you select maintains a near constant temperature.
Moderate Humidity for Wine Storage Spaces
Take care to store your wine between 65 and 75 percent relative humidity; this range is ideal for preserving the cork in your bottles. A space with less humidity will impede the cork’s ability to extract easily from the bottle, thereby jeopardizing your ability to access your wine when the occasion arrives.
Don’t place your wine in a precarious storage situation; you’ll want to minimize any vibration that your bottles could experience. The bonds found in aged wines, which provide cultured aroma and flavor, are jeopardized and broken when a bottle experiences too much movement, so be sure to find a place to store your wine that’s unhampered by movement.
Minimize the Wine’s Access to Light
To protect your wine from UV radiation, which can impair the quality of the wine, be sure to store your bottles in a dark space that receives minimal attention from light. A basement or a dark cellar will be particularly effective.
The Inaugural Harvest
As you prepare to engage in the art and culture of collecting wine, enjoy following these tips to successfully collect and store your new bottles. Happy collecting! And when you’re ready to find the best Pinot Noir in Oregon to add to your collection, get in touch with Mt. Tabor Fine Wine. We’ll be happy to help you start your collection off right.