A wine cellar filled with hundreds of well-curated bottles from the floor to the ceiling won’t fail to elicit a round of oohs and ahhs from anyone who sees them for the first time.
However, starting a wine collection is often a leap of faith. You won’t be sure which bottles will appeal to your taste and gain value in the future.
But even if you’re a fledgeling collector, you can start an impressive, enviable, and rewarding wine collection when you follow the right tips.
Building a Wine Collection From Scratch
Below are some tips that can help you create a wine collection you will be proud of and happy with:
1. Prepare your storage area
Before deciding on which wines to buy, you have to know where to store or display them first.
If you only have a wine fridge or small wine cabinet, you would do well to find space in your home where you can build a wine cellar.
A specially designed wine cellar is the best place to store and display your collection. With the right location, design, condition, and features, you can prevent the spoilage of your vinos and have another appealing feature in your home.
When building your wine cellar, maintain a temperature ranging from 55 to 59°F (12 to 15°C). Humidity levels should ideally be between 50 and 70%.
You can maintain these temperature and humidity levels by investing in a cooling unit.
Additionally, ensure sunlight won’t enter or flood the cellar since it can alter the flavours and aromas of your wine collection.
Lastly, avoid placing equipment that vibrates, such as a washing machine, near the cellar since it can interfere with your wine collection’s ageing process.
Although the basement may seem like the best place to build your cellar, avoid choosing this place since it is prone to developing high levels of moisture that can cause mould growth, which will then affect the quality of your wines.
2. Buy wines that appeal to you first
With so many types and brands of wines to choose from, deciding on which ones to buy first can be pretty challenging.
However, whether you’re starting your collection because you’re passionate about wines or as an investment, you won’t go wrong with getting bottles you like drinking and are happy to serve during events.
Buy as many varieties of your all-time favourite wines as you can. For instance, if you are fond of cabernet Sauvignon, get bottles from different regions, including France, Italy, Chile, Spain, Australia, and the USA.
You also won’t go wrong with purchasing classic varieties, such as merlot, pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc, riesling, and chardonnay.
Additionally, you can go the general route by considering your preference. If you like full-bodied red wines, start your collection with bottles of cabernet Sauvignon, malbec, shiraz, and zinfandel.
If you prefer sweet white wines, go for bottles of moscato, sauternes, port, and vin santo.
3. Buy only from trusted stores
Make sure you only buy your wines from reputable physical and online liquor stores in Dubai. They should have a good track record of selling only authentic products, particularly the expensive ones.
When you’re ready to invest in collectable, pricey wines, follow these tips to ensure you are buying genuine ones:
Check the label thoroughly
When you read the bottle label, don’t simply focus on the print. Check the oxidation, which should be consistent across the whole label. If it is inconsistent, the wine is likely a fake, since the maker used false ageing techniques to create it. And this means the bottle is not as old as it really is.
Look for sediments in the bottle
If you are interested in buying vintage red wines, ensure they have sediments. Aged bottles without any sediments are likely to be knockoffs. And even if there are residues, shake the bottle. If the deposits do not disperse, the wine may not be as old as the label claims it to be.
Check the cork
Some unscrupulous sellers will switch corks between bottles to alter the branding. Check this part of the bottle for signs of inconsistencies or deceit. If the bottle has a two-prong cork, ensure it leaves grooves.
4. Insure your wine collection.
Once you already have a substantial number of wine bottles, have them appraised and insured.
Your collection should be covered by a policy that covers them in case a natural disaster hits your home or if they are stolen.
Insurance won’t bring your bottles back when they are damaged by a flood, earthquake, or fire or if they are stolen. However, your coverage ensures your investment won’t go entirely to waste.
The more wines you have, particularly expensive ones, the more important this step will be.
5. Keep your collection organised.
Regardless of how many bottles of wine you add to your collection per week or month, you need to have a process for keeping an inventory and organising your cellar.
Organising and keeping an inventory of your wines is crucial since you need to keep track of each bottle’s shelf life. You have to know when a vintage is nearing its peak and decide whether to sell or drink it to avoid wasting your money.
An inventory will also help you have an easier time applying for an insurance claim when your collection is compromised or stolen.
You can create and use a simple spreadsheet for your inventory, which you need to update regularly.
In terms of organising your cellar, you can arrange the bottles in reds or whites. Another option is to put your expensive vintages at the top of the racks so you can avoid the temptation to open them. Make sure are aware how long you can drink a bottle of wine before it goes bad.
With these tips, you can be successful in building a rewarding and impressive wine collection from the start.