There seems to be a historical connection between the production of musical masterpieces and large amounts of wine. Maybe, then, it wouldn’t be a stretch to speculate that Dave Matthews’ introspective lyrics may have been inspired largely by the contents of his 17th century vineyards, or that Sting’s reflections on Jung had to be the results of many a wine soaked evening on his 16th century Tuscan estate. If you are an aspiring wine collector, it is safe to say that you are certainly in good (or at least glamorous) company. Whether you are looking for inspiration for your next great book or album, or just for some real good wine at hand, here are tips you may want to keep in mind.
One of the first things you may want to do as a novice collector is to establish a reasonable budget. Alder Yarrow, creator of vinography.com says, “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.” While you may want to spend a little more on collectible bottles, wine writer Leslie Sbrocco says that there are a lot of good values in the range of $25 to $35 and with a budget of $1000,” you can do some nice things.
If you’re not looking for a long term investment, you don’t really need a storage locker or expensive refrigeration. However, if you plan to sell your bottles down the line or do some long term storing, you should keep your wine at a constant 55 degrees. Joe Padulo, owner of Portland wine Storage says, “fifty five degrees allows a wine to develop and age gracefully.” If you are in it for the long haul, small storage lockers start at about $40 per month, but your wine cravings will have to keep business hours, depending on the storage facility.
When it comes to storage, it’s a good idea to estimate the number of wine bottles you want to collect and multiply it by three. Basements are generally the best places for maintaining the temperature your wine will require, but you should read the thermostat at different times of the day to ensure constant optimal temperature. The kiss of death for wine? Storing wine on top of the refrigerator or over the laundry area and stove. Humid areas are also bad news and dryness will make the cork dry out, ruining the wine. You can buy relatively inexpensive racks to hold your wine and there are also kits available if you are handy. You may also consider purchasing a small refrigeration unit for the bottles you want to keep on hand for entertaining.
Prior to bottling wines, wineries sometimes offer “futures,” and sell their upcoming vintages at 10 or 20 percent below final cost. Keep apprised of such events by joining winery clubs and signing up for mailing lists. You never know where and when you will find tomorrow’s superstar. Be wary of the Internet and wine auctions. There is no guarantee that the wine was handled properly. Yarrow says, “It’s just too easy to get ripped off.” He suggests getting the wine from the wine maker directly or establishing relationships with reputable retailers. Sbrocco recommends looking for deals at large retailers such as BevMo or Costco.
Buy Wines You Like
Although the best wine collections are varied, you are best advised to start by buying what you like. Know that new World Wines are usually best when drunk within three to seven years, whereas Old World Wines are meant to be aged. Decide whether you lean more towards reds or if you prefer whites, With a few exceptions, whites don’t age as long as reds, which can be stored for decades before reaching their peak. Think about whites for drinking and reds for storage.
So for all you budding wine collectors, good luck and good drinking, and let us know all about your adventures. Bottoms up!