A Quick Guide to Starting a Home Wine Collection

Image of a wine cellar made of light wood
Photo by Stockfood/Heinze, Winfried

The holidays are in full swing, and we’ve got a gift suggestion for the wine lover in your life: Don’t just put a bow on a bottle of wine—give the gift of time spent together creating a cellar. Helping someone special get their space set up and making plans about which bottles the two of you will drink is a fun activity, and it’s more personal than giving a present on its own. Read on for all the steps you need to create a memorable, experiential gift, and visit wineenthusiast.com for supplies.

Create a space

Maybe your loved one has the perfect nook in mind and has been meaning to put in a cellar; give them proper racking and install it together. Alternatively, they haven’t found the right spot yet and could use a second set of eyes. Help them eke out the perfect cool, dark closet, shelf or crawlspace, and determine the racking that will fit best.

Get organized

Whether it’s a journal, spreadsheet or chalkboard, help the giftee figure out a system for keeping inventory and tracking when each bottle should be opened. There’s nothing worse than letting wine go past its prime because it couldn’t be found in the cellar.

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Do your research

Read up together on what wines are best for long aging. Our Top 100 Cellar Selections list is a good place to start. Even if these aren’t the bottles your collector ends up with, it will give them a sense of styles, regions and vintages built to stand the test of time.

Make it personal

In addition to being good quality and ageworthy, collectible wines should have some meaning. When stocking bottles, think back on trips taken with the giftee or what you were drinking at meals together. Then look to regions and producers associated with those memories.

Go big

If you’re going to purchase only a single bottle for your burgeoning collector, make it a magnum. They age particularly well because there’s less surface area to the total quantity of wine, so there’s less opportunity for oxidation.

Published on November 20, 2019
Topics: Wine and Ratings


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