While most of us probably aren’t fortunate enough to live in a property with subterranean storage, it is still possible to start a wine collection by being clever with your budget.
Buying in bond is the best way if you’re looking for a return on your investment (purchase an unmixed case from a wine merchant and they’ll keep it in a temperature-monitored warehouse for a minimal fee). But, if you’re happier drinking as you go, a good wine fridge will solve the cellar problem.
Start slow, buy smart and before you know it you’ll have a collection to rival the Rothschilds’.
To help, we asked our wine experts for five basic rules for the novice collector.
1 | Building a wine collection takes lots of research, “which means tasting, travelling and reading,” says Colin Thorne, from Vagabond. Since we can’t all trek the globe looking for affable winemakers, Gary Owen (from Berry Bros & Rudd) stresses the importance of consulting reputable merchants, “people who’ve met the producers, shaken hands, looked at the vineyards – people who’ve got mud on their boots.”
2 | “Your cellar is a pantry, not a gallery,” says Tom Harrow from Honest Grapes, echoing the principal piece of advice among experts, that wine is there to be enjoyed. “Whether that’s by you or your grandchildren is a personal choice,” Thorne says. Buying three cases will allow plenty to sample, with enough to sell later down the line. But there’s no point filling a cellar with something you wouldn’t drink yourself.
3 | Wine requires consistency of temperature (11.5°C is ideal, although 10-12°C will do). If you don’t have a cellar, then EuroCave are the “industry leaders” in wine fridges according to Owen, though Thorne also suggests Spiral Cellars for a more permanent option. “Also, ensure the bottles are laying down so that the cork is kept moist,” adds Charlotte Sager-Wilde from Sager + Wilde.
4 | Spend whatever “you can comfortably afford,” advises Alistair Viner from Hedonism Wines, “as you can always sell some in order to fund buying more in the future.” You should purchase by the case, or even consider magnums and jeroboams, in which wine ages more slowly. “Fine wine starts at £20-25 per bottle,” says Owen, “and a really good, interesting wine that will keep for a decade will be from £50.”
5 | If you’re just in it for the money, keep your wines in bond. Then, if you want to sell later on, buyers can trust that you haven’t just funnelled Ribena back into the bottles. And, as Thorne points out, keeping your wine where you can’t get to it eliminates the risk of you quaffing away your investment. “We’ve all had that night where the corkscrew takes on a life of its own around midnight!”