Many of us have been tainted by a little jealousy after visiting a friend with a wine Cellar of his/her own. As impressive as a wine cellar can be, it really only takes two things: a good collection of wine, and a cool dark room for storage. If you dream of having your own collection of wines to tour with your dinner guests and have on hand to enjoy at any occasion, then our wine cellar starter guide is perfect for you.
1. Start collecting both ‘drink now’ and ‘drink later’ wines To be able to enjoy your wine cellar from the get-go, it’s a good idea to have a selection of wines that are ready to drink, as well as wines that are stored for ageing and drinking in the future. We may be subjective but South African wine is often a good place to start.
2. Be sure that you like aged wines If you’re going to be storing wines for a long period in your cellar, make sure that you’re going to enjoy the end product. The flavour profile will change over time, so it’s best to be sure that you like the taste of mature wines.
3. Do your research for reselling If you’re planning to resell your aged wines, do your research first. Only a few wines will be viable as resale options and successful resale merchants are a niche group.
4. Choose your favourite wines
It’s your wine cellar, for you to enjoy. Don’t get bogged down collecting as many different wines as possible, or focusing on the types that you think you should own to impress people. Choose your favourites and stock up on the things you drink the most. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a cellar full of untouched and unwanted wines gathering dust. If you’re choosing something new, or something that you don’t often drink, then be sure to choose something that is known to age well.
5. Hone in on your favourite wines that age well If you have a particular favourite type of wine that you already know ages gloriously, then stock on up. For example, if you have a particular favourite South African wine, you could shop in bulk by heading to an online merchant to buy SA wine online. If you love it and it ages well, then it will be the gift that keeps on giving. It’s also a great way to bulk up your cellar more quickly, instead of playing it safe and only buying a bottle every once in a while. Another bonus is that you can experiment with the ageing profile, trying the same wine at different intervals to discover how it ages.
6. Leave some space You may find that your tastes change, so leave space for your collection to evolve. Plus, it’s nice to pepper in a few surprise buys every now and again to build up a diverse collection.
7. Budget for your collection Agree with your spouse or household how much you’d like to spend each year on your wine collection. Plan ahead by doing some price homework; figuring out what savings you could get from major sale events or buying directly.
8. Make sure you have the right conditions. It’s not simply about space, but it’s also about having the optimal temperature, humidity and darkness. You might need to invest in insulation, cooling units, or humidity-controls. At the very least, invest in a reliable digital thermometer and humidity detector so that you can check the conditions are in range. Another option could be to have a wine fridge, although they may not hold as many bottles as expected.
9. Organise your collection There’s nothing worse than not being able to find what you want. A common way to organise a wine cellar is by grape or region. It’s also a good idea to place your most-drunk wines in the most easily accessible spot and at eye-level. Your wines for ageing, on the other hand, can be more tucked away as you won’t need regular access.
10. Collect thoughtfully Think ahead for wedding anniversaries and special celebrations, and consider the wine you’d like to pull out on those occasions. For example, for a birthday, you could have a wine whose vintage is the same as the birth year, or with a special landmark.