How to start a wine collection?
Who doesn’t dream of their own private wine collection, filled to the brim with dusty bottles of wonder? While the reality might currently be a space under the stairs filled with boxes from your last house move, things can quickly take change. Whether it’s 10 bottles or 10,000 that you’re aiming for, the rules are the same. Here are some tips for starting your own wine collection from scratch.
Before you begin: Sort the storage
Whatever the size of storage space you have available for your wine collection, conditions must be perfect. For wine, this means a consistently cool environment (around 11 ℃ / 52℉ is optimal); a place that’s slightly humid, dark and free from significant vibrations. Poor storage will result in wines deteriorating more quickly, leakage and possible label damage - all real no-nos if you are thinking about selling them on. A cellar is the ideal option, but as not every house has one of these, you might want to think about investing in a wine fridge or even professional storage somewhere else. Food fridges will dry corks out over time, so avoid, avoid, avoid!
Instant-gratification or patience?
With storage in place, it’s time to actually buy some wine, but where do you start? By now, you should have an idea about whether you want to concentrate on wines that are ready to drink, wines that will keep for a few years or both. For ease, we’ll assume for now that you’d like a bit of both. That way, you’ll always have a choice of bottles to pull out when you need them and some to look at for later. Ok? Good. Here we go with some tips for building your collection:
Tip 1: Start Small. Say, 36 bottles max, no matter how tempting it is to go shopping crazy. A wine collection is a very personal thing, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re buying bottles that you truly love and that are an elegant reflection of your tastes rather than trends. It can take time to work out your preferences and you’ll need to be meticulous about logging everything you have, so less it more – at least until you’ve got a working system in place.
Tip 2: When it comes to keeping wine, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way. If nothing else, it’s worth reading up on how different styles of wine age. For example, you would never keep your delicate aromatic wines as long as heavy reds or you’ll be drinking liquid rubber pretty quickly. Do a little research and leave a note of your findings with your wine collection. If you’re feeling particularly organised (and wonderfully wine geeky), you may want to buy some coloured stickers to colour code your wines according to their drinking windows. Take it from us; it’s remarkably satisfying.
Tip 3: What to buy. Even a starter collection of around 36 bottles is enough to have a decent range of wines for both instant drinking and laying down. To ensure a varied cellar straight off the bat, we recommend beginning with a few bottles each of the following:
Vintage Champagne that will improve over a few years (in magnums if you’re feeling flush):
A ready to drink, all-rounder white:
A ready to drink, lighter red:
A sweet wine that can age:
A quick note on provenance
If you are aiming for a larger collection to eventually sell on, then provenance is key. Everything must be documented and kept, from the conditions of the wine’s sale, to how it was shipped, to how it has been stored at every part of its lifetime. The bottles from Clos19 are all sourced directly from the wineries and their storage and condition are pristine when they arrive at your doorstep.
Today there are many tools available to help keep track of what comes in and what goes out. If you don’t have the information, you may as well simply pull the cork and have a lovely time drinking it. Cheers!