How to Start a Wine Collection
Most women have a few wines stashed at home for their next dinner party or a relaxing evening in. But few can lay claim to having a wine cellar.
These days, most women either claim a lack of space or a lack of knowledge to put together their own wine cellar, when in reality they have both. The bonus: You’ll have an excuse to taste tons of wines and truly start to understand your preferences. And having great wines on hand means you’ll never have to shop at the last minute for a great wine to give to co-workers or serve at the next work-related function you host at home.
Here, our tips for kick-starting your wine collection in four easy steps.
Take in a tasting. To start understanding the world of wine, attend as many tastings as you can and ask questions of the experts who host and attend them. You can find tastings everywhere, from Whole Foods sampling stations to your neighborhood wineshop. The easiest way to find these events is to sign up for mailing lists to start receiving event announcements for various locales. Once you’re in the loop and chatting with professionals, you’ll start understanding the difference between chardonnays and Chiantis, what to serve them with, and which varieties of wine you truly enjoy.
Stretch your palate. All that tasting might lead you to believe you’re solely a pinot noir or sauvignon blanc kind of gal, but to have a well-rounded wine collection you must challenge yourself to taste other vintages from around the globe. Make a point to try wines from different countries, as well as some varietals and wine styles that are unfamiliar. Ask wineshop owners to point you in the direction of great, affordable wines from hot regions like Chile. And when you cross paths with an unfamiliar wine—say, a Carmenère wine from Washington—pick up a bottle and try it out. It just might be the showstopper you’re looking for.
Mix and match. When complete, your wine cellar should contain both wines with aging power and those that could—and should—be sipped right away, like Beaujolais and Pinot Gris. Ask your favorite wino for recommendations on ready-to-drink wines. Then purchase a few bottles of vino that age well, such as Bordeaux or Riesling, to round out your collection. In general, wines that are higher in acid or tannins are the ones that are going to last and make good additions to your cellar.
Store them properly. While temperature control and storage space are important for housing a growing wine collection, you don’t need to spend lots of money building a wine cellar. Temperature should always be around 45 to 60 degrees, and direct sunlight is a no-no for the wines. Thus, a closet can make ideal cellar space, or some like to rent out wine lockers at wine-storage facilities or shops to make sure their wines are well taken care of. Ask the owner of your local wineshop if they offer this service. Then, uncork a bottle (or two) and pour a glass for you and your friends as a toast to your emergence as a wine connoisseur!