One key issue is price. No, it isn't necessary to buy bottles worth thousands of dollars in order to be a "worthy collector". Like everything else related to wine, the most important thing is what you like. You are here to please yourself, and no one else.
Having said that, I think that if you are now collecting wine, one important aspect is having a balance in your inventory.
There is a difference between a wine collector and a wine investor. If you intend to some day drink your wine (a wine collector), you should buy what you enjoy, not what you think will be more valuable (a wine investor).
The collection, of course, will consist of the types of wine that you drink. Seems obvious, doesn't it? For this reason, the bulk of the collection will be made up of table wines.
Again, depending on your taste you may end up with more types of white wines, if your taste runs to them; or types of red wine if that is what you prefer. But a good collection should also include sparkling wines, as well as some dessert wines. The amounts of these wines will depend on your normal rate of consumption of them.
You should also think about how and when you are going to consume the wines. Since you are not drinking all the bottles right away, you should give some thought to the "drinking schedule", if you will. For this reason, you should have wines that are ready to drink, as well as wines that can use a little aging. Ask your friendly wine merchant for suggestions.
Another issue to think about is the price. You will want moderately priced wines that you will be drinking and offering to your guests. But you will also want to buy a few wine bottles for special occasion.
Deciding which wines are ready to be enjoyed is easy enough. Buy your California Chardonnays, German Rieslings, New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.
But those that will be ready in a few years, maybe around ten years or so, will include fine Bordeaux, Red Spanish such as those from Ribera del Duero, and some California Cabernet Sauvignons. Some white wines will also benefit from aging, again, consult your wine merchant.
In the dessert wine category, fine Ports and Madeiras are candidates for aging. And Many great Champagnes also will be wonderful a few years from today.
You are Now a Collecctor!
So you are well into collecting wine. Before too long you need to give thought to organizing your collection, otherwise you will not know what you own, and you run the risk of spoiling some drink-ready wines because you forgot you had them.
Keeping track of your wines in your computer is the best way, as you can update your list when you buy new wines, as well as when you drink them. And you can print your catalogue in order to have a hard copy of your inventory.
You can also keep the information in index cards, where you can easily make changes.
You should organize your catalogue by:
1. Wine Name
2. Wine Type
5. By Country of Origin
6. By Region
7. Size of Bottle
You will also want to make notations of the quantity of bottles from each type of wine, as well as the price paid.
Collecting wine will have its limits. Price of course is one of them, since your budget will dictate how many bottles, and how much you pay for each. But the element that will probably have the most impact on the size of your collection will be the storage issue.
You will need a place away from high temperatures, and from direct sunlight in order to keep your wine healthy for years to come. You should also think about the humidity in the place of storage. You don't want it to be so dry that the cork will dry out and affect your carefully assembled collection.
Have Fun Collecting Wine!
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