Building a wine collection is a great pleasure for wine lovers and a popular hobby across the world. Building a collection takes time and each will be personal and unique to the owner. It also need not be an expensive hobby reserved only for aristocrats. It is becoming increasingly popular with the younger generation.
Types of Collectors
People build wine collections for different reasons, some people for investment purposes. This is fairly risky and requires a great deal of research. Others enjoy the wine themselves, purchasing wine now at a lower cost, storing, and then consuming the wine themselves at a later date. This is extremely rewarding and the most popular option.
With prices of wines varying immensely it is important to identify a budget. If you have a small budget it may be worth searching for discounts. You can get a 10 – 20% discount if you are buying in bulk.
How to Research Wines
Even experts continue to learn throughout their lives, constantly discovering new techniques and areas of interest. There is a lot of information about wine out there and many novices may be overwhelmed. A good place to start is food and travel magazines or wine columns in newspapers. There are also plenty of online reviews, discussion boards and online winery websites on offer. A fun way of starting your research is to attend wine tasting events held in your local area. This will also help you to make friends who share your passion and to learn from each other. Don’t be afraid to ask the experts at such events questions to expand your knowledge. For the more seasoned collector specialist wine magazines are available.
When building a wine collection an important step is to seek advice from the wine merchants before making a purchase. You should give them an indication of how long you wish to keep the wine for. Most wines are intended for short-term use, in fact over 90% of all wines should be consumed within 1 – 3 years. Storing for longer than this can be damaging to the wine and so care should be taken. The remaining wines are specifically designed for ageing and can typically be stored between 5 and 25 years. Your wine merchant will guide you in the right direction depending on which you are looking for.
Before committing to a large purchase it is important to taste the wine, as a minimum read reviews. When purchasing a vintage wine it is also important to enquire into storage conditions as poor storage can seriously damage the quality. You may wish to request certification of storage conditions if possible.
Where to Start
There are some types that may be useful to begin a collection with. Try to purchase some traditional wine from old age areas such as France and Germany. Also include some New age wine from Australia and finally some everyday wine for immediate use. Try to include a mixture of both red and white and do not limit yourself to one style of wine. Although collectors should follow their own unique tastes in order to produce a personal collection, it is also important to diversify and try new varieties. This will expand your horizons and improve your knowledge.
It is vital to correctly store your wine – this is particularly true for vintage wines. There are two important factors when storing wine, temperature and humidity. Temperature should be kept between 45 and 60 degrees whilst humidity should be kept between 50 and 75 percent, this prevents the cork from drying out. Direct sunlight should be avoided at all costs. Some serious collectors have their own wine cellar, however this is not always essential. You can use a closet or a wine locker, some local wine retailers offer this service.
For vintage wines, it is important to consult books and internet resources in order to find the optimum storage conditions and ideal storage time as wines vary in the ideal storage required. It is also advised to make a database of your wine including details such as the wine’s name, date of production, region and price paid. This will help to ensure you do not over-age wines. Some sophisticated database software is available for the more serious collector.
Wine collecting is a popular pastime for many. When starting a wine collection, it is important to research your wine, seek advice from your wine merchant and not be afraid to try the unfamiliar. If you are collecting vintage wines, you need to consider storage as this could affect the quality of your wine.