Wine Blog

Starting a wine collection from scratch

Maybe you always want to have some great wines at home. Perhaps you are interested in seeing how the wines change over time, or, you look for some possibility of investment and future income. Today I want to present a simple guide to start a wine collection. Right from the beginning.

By conchaytoro / April 21, 2017

Collecting wines is, without doubt, a very entertaining ritual, but also educational. It allows us to develop our knowledge about wines. Over time, you can witness their evolution in bottle. Of course, it is about the wines, but above all, it’s about you. There is no formula or recipe for a perfect collection. It depends on your own preferences and personalities. Here are some steps / questions you should answer before starting your private dig.

1. Why to start a wine collection?

dm botellas guardadas mesaThe first question is fundamental: do you want to have a private collection, for the enjoyment of yourself and your family, or is it an investment and bet to make your bottles future-proof?

If you are doing it only for private reasons, focus on the wine styles you like. Choose wines of your choice or some “rarities” that are worth preserving. It is important that the wines conform to your palates and the style of the food that you prefer.

But if you think it can be a business opportunity, you must be very professional and conduct a prior research. In this case, choose wines from a particular strain that can be stored for decades. Most of these wines correspond to the “icon” segment  and their price is higher. You need, therefore, to calculate your budgets and make a good purchase and sales plan during the next years.

2. Research

13129368_1753066178245947_294535960_nIn the case of a collection / investment, this step is mandatory, but if your cava is absolutely informal you should also be prepared.

What do you like to drink? Which are your favorite strains? What wine styles you cannot imagine your lives with? Which is your favorite region or denomination? You can spend a fortune on wines, but if you are not really convinced, your collection could be chaotic.

• Try the wines! Taste, record, compare and remember!

• Follow blogs, read magazines and visit regularly the websites of your favorite wineries to find out what’s new.

• Before you buy a wine, you must taste it. Also, search online for reviews and scores of wine writers or recognized competitions.

• Prepare a dossier of each wine: its tasting notes, technical data of the winemaker, characteristics of the harvest, vineyard and region of origin, philosophy behind the wine and, more importantly, whether or not it has aging potential (only diamonds are eternal).

3. Aging potential

Don Melchor HistoricMost of the world’s wines should be uncorked within the first five years after harvest. Only a smaller percentage of wines have real potential and can remain in a cellar for decades. When starting a collection, it is very important to know it and to schedule the steps for your wines to be uncorked and then replaced by others.

A wine has aging potential when its alcohol, tannins, acidity and sugar are in perfect harmony. Also, what fascinates you today, could bore you in the future (and vice versa). Your tastes will continue to evolve as you deepen your knowledge. You have to periodically re-evaluate the wines in your collection, not only to confirm their current quality, but also to consider (and re-consider) your preferences.

4. What to keep?

Wines are like a work of art. Some of them are simple drawings. Others, watercolors bought on the streets of Valparaiso. Immortal works are really scarce. Like fine and transcendent art, it is the particular stories that make a wine collectible: strains that meet the perfect conditions; the tradition and philosophy of a winery; a vineyard of unique characteristics; the personality of an oenologist, etc. There are stories that are worth saving. Others, simply, are fleeting pleasures.

5. Documentation

A wine collection cannot exist without a documentation base, especially if you think of your collection as an investment. It is important to note your date of purchase, where you purchased it and the name and vintage of the wine.

There are many tracking systems, from free tools like winery-tracker or simply a notebook with your notes. If your collection exceeds 200 bottles, a good idea is to trace your wines with a bar code scanner system. This makes it much easier to identify and book wines as they are consumed. Also, keep all the wine documentation (tickets, invoices, vendor card, etc.). Simply, everything.

6. Appropriate conditions

botellas guardadasA wine collection requires certain optimal conditions of storage:

• Constant temperature

Never less than 5 °C, and not more than 18 °C. You always have to avoid extreme temperatures. Naturally during the year, the average temperature varies according to the season, but you cannot allow abrupt changes for a couple of days.

• Light

Wine cannot be stored near artificial light or directly exposed to the sun. Intense light may cause wine defects.

•Humidity

An optimum humidity level is between 75-80%. This prevents the wine cork from drying out. For this reason, the bottles are stored in a horizontal position, so that the cork is always in contact with the liquid.

• Ventilation

The space where they store their wines needs a good circulation of air. That is critical to protect bottles from bad odors and mold.

• Reduce vibrations

Vibrations can cause wine to lose its character. Bottles should be moved as little as possible and away from appliances.

But above all, never lose focus: buy what you like. Trends drive markets, true, but you should always keep the wines for a particular passion. Buy, store and drink whatever you want.

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