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Cellaring Best Practices: 10 Things to Do If You’re Collecting Wine


An excellent wine collection requires dedication and joy in the thrill of the hunt. Serious collectors like Leslie Rudd never allow their cellars to lay dormant, constantly seeking out special additions that excite them. Rudd owns more than 10, 000 bottles of wine, yet he is still on the search for the best new vintages Napa Valley has to offer. In your own quest for a great cellar, here are some things to keep in mind.


Invest in a Third Party Cellar

A wine collector is only limited by his or her cellar space. When you’re ready to invest in the finest wines in the world, you need a reputable third party cellar to keep your wines as pristine as the day you bought them.

Cellaring wine using a self-storage option is inconvenient, and it’s easy to lose track of what you own or leave wines in storage past their ideal drink dates. Avoid this issue altogether with Vinfolio’s on-site storage option, which keeps each bottle stored at the ideal temperature and humidity level. Our services include temperature-controlled storage at our on-site facility, and up-to-date information about every bottle stored in our cellars.

Keep Your Documents Safe Online

Having an updated online record of every bottle you own takes your collection from a hobby to a committed oenophile’s dream. However, sorting through piles of paperwork and endless databases takes the romanticism out of collecting fine wines. That’s why passionate wine lovers use online cellar management software.

An online record-keeping database like VinCellar ensures that all of your wines reach their peak market worth before you sell them. And, with features that include up-to-date ideal drinking times for every vintage based on expert advice, your wine will always taste as spectacular as its producers envisioned.

Take a Tasting Tour

An exceptional collector knows the finest vintages from producers who are underrated in the industry. For example, a fine Burgundy collector can put his wine experience in context by taking an in-depth tasting tour through the slopes of Ruchottes-Chambertin.

Tasting your way through the underrated subregions of a high-quality terroir helps you gain a deeper understanding of the qualities that make those wines delectable. In Burgundy, the Ruchottes-Chambertin subregion produces some of the rarest bottles of Pinot Noir in the world. Tasting the newest offerings from these exceptional estates can give you valuable insight into your favorite Burgundy vintage.

Buy Label Savers

Many wine enthusiasts rely on dusty memories of wines they tasted years ago to inform them of a vintage’s taste, but true aficionados should keep a detailed journal accounting for the hundreds of fine wines they try every year.

Use label savers to preserve the experience while keeping notes on every wine fresh in your mind. This practice will also aid in your next purchase. Peel the label off of each wine you drink, then use the protective cover to preserve it alongside your tasting notes.

Find Three Consecutive Vintages

Become a leading expert in your favorite estate when you add three chronological vintages of the same wine to your cellar. The terroir and techniques are the same every year, but you’ll be able to tell how each vintage subtly varies in flavor, enhancing your experience of the wine. When you buy wine from Vinfolio, select specific producers to find the most recent vintages available on the database.

Drink the oldest wine from the estate first. Wait one year, then drink the second-oldest wine. Repeat this one year later for the final, youngest wine. At the end of this cycle, you’ll know how each year’s weather conditions contributed to the resulting wine, and you’ll have a better sense of which year you prefer for the future.

Appraise Your Wine

No matter how many or how few quality wines you have in your collection, it’s important to have them appraised whenever you add to your cellar, or when you intend to sell existing bottles. Having a record of the value of your wine collection is also useful for estate planning and tax purposes.

Guessing that your 1995 Dom Perignon is worth $150 could sell your collection short if it is a rosé. An appraiser can help you sort through market data, providing you with the true worth of every bottle you own. This guarantees a solid profit if you put your wine back on the market, and is necessary if you intend to insure your collection. When you sell with Vinfolio, you receive a built-in appraiser, as our wines are analyzed for market value and quality.

Invest in Cases

Buying a single bottle of a fine vintage is a low-commitment method of collecting wine, but if you are serious about one vintage in particular, consider investing in an entire case. This technique is for those who want to become in-depth experts on a single vintage.

Find a full case of single-varietal wine that you know will age well for at least one decade, then slowly taste each bottle as it develops in your cellar. Wait 1-3 years between wine tastings to note how the flavors have transformed. When your wine is at its peak, throw a tasting party for your fellow wine lovers, showing them the fruits of your hard work.

Seek One Newer Vintage

Investing only in older vintages results in an unimaginative collection. Add some young blood into your personal collection by seeking out at least one new vintage released after 2013. Vinfolio carries some of the boldest new vintages from every wine region in the world, which you can search by year.

The thrill of keeping a fine wine collection comes from picking out a young wine to watch it blossom into sophisticated maturity under your care. Purchasing a recent Beaucastel Rhone blend, for example, gives you four decades of cellaring compared to the single decade you would get from an already aged Rhone vintage.

Buy a Wine with Bold Tannins

A high tannin investment wine requires maintenance, but it rewards collectors with its high market value. For some of the best, bold tannin wines, look to Lafite Rothschild, especially the estate’s early 2000s vintages.

The tight, tense tannins of Lafite Rothschild give the wine its shelf life of more than 30 years, yet its finely-crafted backbone keeps its tannins from overpowering the other flavors. Look for this kind of intensity and balance when you select the next tannin-heavy wine for your collection.

Pick One Young White Varietal

Expand your current wine collection with a youthful, crisp white wine, especially if you often drink wines from your cellar. Find a wine that is less than five years old, but that still needs another few years to mature, such as a Chardonnay.

Choosing a young white helps expand your collection in two ways: you can test new storage techniques on the bottle before placing a rare vintage in the storage environment, and you can taste the wine soon without the guilt of opening the bottle prematurely. Collectors who love drinking wine as much as buying it need to be able to open wines in their collections as they wait for older vintages to mature. A white wine with only a few years left to cellar is the perfect way to do this.

Storing Your Wine

Collecting wine is an art form that requires vast experience, years of research, and the finest equipment. Vinfolio can help you on your journey as you discover the finest wines in the world to add to your collection. And with comprehensive cellar management, access to a community, and expert advice from wine producers, Vinfolio’s VinCellar is the ideal way for any serious wine enthusiast to keep tabs on their collection.


By: Vinfolio Staff

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