Whether you've been enjoying fine wines for years or have only just ventured into this exciting world, there's no better time to consider building a wine collection. A wine collection consists of any number of wines you've chosen to store for a short or long period, based on their quality, vintage, rarity and your personal preference.
Of course, you cannot keep a viable collection without properly maintaining it, and that's why learning the nuances of wine collecting is so important. Everyone from a new collector with her first bottle of cru Beaujolais to an established winery with millions of bottles of wine will follow the same basic steps. Here are 10 essential tips to help you start a wine collection worthy of high praise.
1. Before Starting a Wine Collection, Know What Wines You Love
You've likely sampled fine wines with friends and family, trusting your palate to tell you which ones you enjoyed most. Now that you're starting a wine collection, you need to continue tasting different wines so you can focus on the ones you'll want to acquire. Even if you recognize a rare wine at auction, that doesn't necessarily mean you should buy it.
Take advantage of local wineries, tasting rooms, and social events to open your palate before narrowing down your preferences. Visiting wineries on your travels is another fantastic way to broaden your horizons.
2. Learn Which Wines Will Impress
Ultimately, impressive wines are the ones that impress your palate. They delight your taste buds and reveal complexity in primary, secondary or tertiary aromas and flavors. They offer up a taste of the terroir and the nuances of that vintage. Finally, they're produced using high-quality methods designed to maintain or enhance the quality of the product.
Wines that impress should possess all of these traits, which is why it's important to educate yourself using your sense of taste and your expanding knowledge of wine producers and wine-producing regions.
3. Determine Where to Store Your Wine
Do you have a place in your home you can use for a wine collection, or will you need to look for external storage? Most people don't have a basement they can turn into a designated wine cellar, which is why they rely on the services of reliable wine storage facilities. In all cases, the storage location must adhere to the cardinal rules of wine storage.
4. Decide Which Wine Will Be the Focus of Your Collection
You don't need to go out and make the purchase immediately, but you should have an idea of which wine will have the honor of being the centerpiece of your collection. Perhaps it will be from a particularly memorable year, or a region to which you're partial. Consider carefully, since the wine will hold a place of distinction long after you've popped the cork and enjoyed a glass or two.
5. Learn About the Differences in Aging Wine
If you intend to let your wine age in storage, make sure you select wines that age well. Not all wines improve with age - most are ready to drink immediately or within a few years of purchase. Premium wines ideal for aging are typically at a higher price point or are from a region or producer known for wines of this nature. Check reliable vintage charts to give you an idea of how wines age before making large purchases.
6. Have Your Fine and Rare Wines Authenticated
Once you start collecting wine, take time to have it authenticated. Just like collectors of fine art and antiques who take their pieces for authentication services, you should likewise verify the provenance of your fine and rare wines. Look for reputable wine experts, such as those at Chai Consulting, located in San Francisco, California, who have years of experience separating authentic wines from their fake counterparts.
7. Securely Store All Documentation
From authentication reports to original purchase receipts at an auction house or wine merchant, all documentation is important. Make sure you keep track of your paperwork and store it in a safe location. Keeping a digital copy of each report or receipt is another way to ensure the value of your collection, whether you wish to appraise it or sell off a small portion.
8. Get Your Wine Collection Appraised
Appraisals and insurance go hand in hand, so make sure you know what's in your collection and how much it's worth. Once you've had a professional wine appraiser assess your collection, you should head to a reputable insurance company, such as Chubb or AIG Insurance, to establish insurance for your valuables.
9. Adhere to the Cardinal Rules of Wine Storage
Professional wine storage facilities offer the perfect conditions for wine, but if you want to keep your fine wines at your home, make sure you can control the climate. This is especially true for homes in warmer climes. Ensure that the temperature remains steady at around 55°F, with between 60 to 80 percent relative humidity, 70 percent being ideal. To protect your wine further, keep the space dark and safe from vibrations.
10. Remember That Wines Are Meant to Be Enjoyed
If you don't take the plunge and open at least some of your wine bottles, you're missing out. You might prefer to store certain vintages for their investment value, but don't forget the sheer bliss of sipping a glass of wine before a crackling fire. Enjoy time with your friends as you share the love - and the wine.
Now that you know how to build a wine collection, feel free to dive into the diverse offerings that different countries and wine regions bring. You can collect wines as an investment, for the sheer fun of it, or simply for ready access to the wines you adore. Whether you're making your first few purchases or looking to expand what you have, JJ Buckley offers a diverse selection of fine wines that would make a fantastic addition to your collection.
Copyright JJ Buckley Fine Wines 2018.