New to Wine Collecting? Here’s Some Smart Tips
Vigilant would like to thank guest contributor, Norma Spencer (bio below). Please note that affiliate links are not endorsed by Vigilant.
If you think about it, wine collecting may seem at odds with the hobby as a whole. The type of things that people generally tend to collect are ones that have lost their usability: stamps, bottle caps, movie stubs, etc. These items served a purpose at one point, but from a collecting standpoint they’re typically no longer good for their intended purpose. With wine, that is definitely not the case!
Wine is meant for consumption. And the wine most worth collecting is often the best wine,. Which begs the question: why would you just stick a delicious drink in a room forever?
In fact, there are plenty of great wines out there that are not meant to be stored and which you should drink relatively early. The type of wine you would collect is different: you’re collecting it because of its history and its rarity.
The rich history behind wine and the countless rare vintages available make wine collecting enjoyable, educational, and ever-evolving. If it’s a hobby that you’re new to, here are a couple of things you should know:
Build a Good Cellar
Storing wine properly is essential. You need a specific type of environment for wine to stay in good condition. It’s not the hardest thing to achieve, but you need some pre-planning and a willingness to invest in a storage solution.
Your wine collection needs to be in a place that has a consistently cool temperature, or it will spoil pretty quickly. The ideal temperature is about 55° Fahrenheit with a 60-65% relative humidity. Cooling systems can be an added expense, but when you consider the value of the wine they protect, they’re a very wise purchase.
Another element of wine storage is insulation, to ensure that the temperature remains and never strays too far from that which is required. Aside from that, you just need plenty of space for your collection to grow and a durable, sturdy wine racking system.
Wine bottles need to be handled delicately so if you want to become a serious collector, put in the due diligence now when planning your wine room. Pantries, closets, spare bedrooms – even that odd bit of space under your stairs – can be converted into a beautiful space to store your collection as it grows.
Generate Extra Income
If you haven’t already realized, good wine is expensive.
Wines suitable for a collection could range from a $50 bottle to costing thousands of dollars each. You don’t have to buy the most expensive stuff, but it’s worth knowing the gamut of costs.
You may need to consider different sources of income and investments to “support your habit” and ensure that you’re not spending money on wine that you need for your rent or bills!
So why not invest in wine itself? There are a number of alcohol stocks out there that offer a decent return on investment. Combine your wine interest with an appropriate (and fun) way to generate cash for your collection.
Have an Inventory
The more serious you become about wine collecting, creating a comprehensive inventory of all your different vintages is key. Do yourself a favor and start it early, with your first bottle. Keep all of the documentation, receipts, and auction information that you get with each bottle.
By having a description of every bottle and keeping it readily available, you’ll always know the value of your collection along with a proof of purchase should you need it for insurance purposes.
And whether your inventory and documentation is handwritten or digital, store it as carefully as you would your actual collection. If you end up making a lot of money on rare bottles in the future, these papers will help with that!
Find Good Wine Sellers
As with any industry, be aware of scammers. The wine industry has its fair share of hustlers that you should watch out for.
The best way to avoid getting duped is to do your research. Wine collecting has a massive online presence so you should be able to find reputable sellers and dealers.
Another option is joining (or starting!) a wine club and seeking out other collectors in your area who can guide you in your quest for good sellers.
With all these tips, don’t get intimidated if you’re new to it! Just recognize what collecting wine entails, get prepared, and you will accumulate a prized collection in no time.
About Ms. Spencer – Norma fully enjoys her editor career living an RV life with her family. She’s a devoted tech and finance writer with a Ph.D. in Business Administration/Management. Currently, Norma is in Germany and planning to continue spending more time in Europe in the coming years.