Owning an impressive collection of wine is desirable. I’m sure many of our readers strive for such a thing. On first impressions, having a range of wines to select from, from different regions, decades and variants sounds exciting. But in reality, as amazing as it would be to have years upon years’ worth of wine, at your disposal, where and how can your collection be stored?
You may in fact have a dedicated space for your wine. Small collectors will usually clear out a space to home their prized possessions. Serious collectors even go as far as a dedicated wine cellar. Which type of wine collector are you? Or if you’re new to wine, which are you hoping to become?
Wine cellars are a significant investment. Yet, if used consistently and optimally, their worth will be experienced, in fact, even more valuable than the wine itself. Without a home for your wine, preserving your wine for years on end will be very unlikely. Oxidization, gone off wine, mouldy smells, rapidly aged wine, and many lost drinking experiences will soon be down the sink (literally).
So, here’s an introduction to wine cellars for collectors, providing the ins and outs of optimal use, supporting your dream wine collection.
Wine Cellars And Their Value For Collectors
If you’re yet to own a wine cellar, it can add so much value to your collection. Understandably, the cost of a cellar, on paper, can seem unrealistic.
Yet, imagine the cost of wasted bottles, year upon year, down to inappropriate storage? It’s also important to remember that wine cellars come in all shapes and sizes, workable to your budget and area.
By investing, your wine collection can grow significantly, can age gracefully, and can even outlive you, as sad as that may seem. It’s in fact true, wine collections, if cared for, can span over eras, even with strong ageing opportunities.
One benefit of a wine cellar is that all the work that you may currently be doing, to preserve your wine, can stop. Once your cellar is ready to go, and your collection is organised (which we’re covering below), minimal maintenance is required. Now imagine all of the spare time you’ll have to enjoy and grow your collection.
A fit for purpose cellar can preserve your wine, by providing consistent temperatures, hidden away from UV light, ultimately protecting and holding your wine in place, up until you’re ready to serve.
If you’re boasting a wine collection, it’s likely that yours will last longer than weekend drinking, or even yearly celebrations. A wine cellar can make this possible by securing the longevity of your wine and elevating its quality and value.
Of course, wine collections for some are for drinking and enjoying. Yet for others, it’s a hobby in itself, and even an investment, appreciated for the long-term. No matter your aims, our introduction to wine cellars for collectors will be a useful helping hand, improving your chances to make a return on your collection.
How To Make The Most Of A Wine Cellar
When you think of a wine cellar, it’s likely that you’ll envision an organised place, holding a significant number of bottles. Your imagination is in fact true, yet there’s a lot of behind the scenes work to reach this point, providing a workable cellar for your wine collection.
Buy bottles with ageing capabilities
Of course, some of your favourite bottles may be for short-term consumption. Yet, the whole purpose of a cellar and wine collecting in that matter is to prolong the lifespan of wine. To do so, it’s therefore wise to buy the right bottles, which can withstand longevity.
A good way to test this is to purchase a favourite bottle, within your budget, multiple times. Store each bottle the same, within your dedicated cellar. Now every few fears, open one of those bottles, from your collection, and consider the drinking experience it offers.
By experiencing the development phases of ageing, you’ll soon recognise how long certain bottles can withstand within your cellar, helping to refine and consistently keep on top of your wine collection.
Keep well organised racks
Having such a large space, within a wine cellar can feel like the dream for a collector. But over the years, and through hundreds of bottles entering and leaving the space, it can become chaotic. To avoid a disorganised and unkept collection, it’s important to organise your racks from the start. Of course, as your collection expands, you can adapt your structure.
From the offset, decide whether you’re going to organise your bottles from age, from region, or from the brand. This is a great way to firstly pick out your bottles with ease, and secondly, have an idea of the ageing process.
A disorganised cellar can pose the risks of out-of-date bottles, unknowingly filling up your cellar space. By regularly organising your collection, you’ll know when to drink certain bottles by, or how much longer they will take to reach their optimal drinking experience.
Avoid surplus bottles of niche wine
Naturally, we all have a favourite bottle (or a few). Through favouritism, it’s easy to fill your cellar with niche bottles. Yet, this can in fact hinder your collection, along with cutting through the point of a cellar.
Vintage bottles are great to have, but some will lose their value over time, some will age better, others will be outshone by newer variations. Storing vintage wines are recommended if you’re in it for the long haul.
Yet, selecting some younger wines is also encouraged to fulfil your ageing goals.
Investing in sparkling wines, reds, whites and rose bottles is also a strong strategy to follow, equally filling your collection, providing you with a drinking experience for all.
Keep track of the ageing process
This goes hand in hand with your organisation levels. One mistake that many wine collectors make is that they will fill their cellar, with the aim to develop the most valuable collection, harnessing maturity and its benefits.
Yet, throughout this process, they will lose sight of those bottles which have reached their peak, soon tipping the scales.
Keeping on top of the wine ageing process of your collection will help you recognise which bottles to consume, which bottles to pass on, and which to keep safely in your cellar. As we shared above, wine can outlive its owner. Avoid this on a surplus basis by also having the chance to enjoy a wide range of your collection.
Using A Cellar, From The Ground Up
Owning a cellar can feel like a big job, especially because of their original cost. Reasonably, like anything good in life, you will have to initially invest your time (and money), by following steps like some of the ones we’ve shared above.
Yet, there are some starting points, to use your cellar from the ground up, helping your collection develop exceptionally over the years.
The first step of owning a cellar will be to fill it with a good mix of wines. Like we’ve mentioned above, this is the time to consider all drinking experiences, along with those bottles which will fulfil your ageing needs.
It’s also essential to consider your needs on timescales, and how often you’ll be opening a bottle. A full, quality cellar results in a happy owner.
Considering the conditions of your cellar is also important, where temperatures should range from 10°C to 15°C, where UV light should be avoided, and where heavy footfall should be kept at bay.
Organising your cellar is also recommended, however works for you, where labelling, where organised dates, and where regional rows usually suffice.
Once you’ve worked through the initial steps of owning a cellar, managing its ongoing movements and growth will soon become second nature, helping you make use of its full potential and capacity.
Cellaring With Longevity In Mind
Throughout your first cellaring experience, there’s a likelihood that you will make some mistakes. This is pretty much part and parcel of homing in on a collection, so do not worry too much. Overtime, you will develop your own style of collecting wine, by making use of your cellar.
While mistakes are expected, while trial and error are wise, forming an orderly cellar as soon as possible will benefit your wine collection and its long-term lifespan.
Although in some cases, your favourite bottles may be for short-term consumption, it’s recommended to have longevity in mind, where those bottles will have the potential to withstand the test of time. This is the art of a true collection, homed in its very own wine cellar.
You can experience this, by making use of our introduction to wine cellars for collectors, by seeing the potential of a wine cellar, and by investing into a wine cellar, for the long-term.
For guidance with wine storage, we at Elite Wine Refrigeration are experts in this field, here to help you transform your wine collection.
Whether you’re just starting out, or have a wine collection on the go, a wine cellar or a wine cooler could be the exact home that you’re looking for.