How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

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G. Curd
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How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#1 Post by G. Curd » September 19th, 2020, 8:03 am

I am fairly new into "cellaring" wines. By this I mean putting wine down in a professional wine fridge for long term storage. I was wondering how other members on here first got into holding wine and/or collecting. I personally drank wine for about 10 years before I became more serious about actually purchasing wine at release and holding it. I used to just purchase wine and drink it within a years time and often had to pay a premium for more mature wine. Therefore, I rarely ever had a chance to actually taste well matured wines. No one in my family has a cellar/cooler with good mature wine so I started from scratch. Members of my family enjoy wine, but mostly West Coast US Pinot and Cab. One thing I did run into was having to pony up a bit of dough at the beginning of my collecting phase to have a decent amount of wine that will be available to drink over the next few years. As I said above, I am fairly new to cellaring and my collection is very concentrated in Riesling followed by domestic (US for me) cab and Oregon/Washington Pinot. I would like to get into more worldwide wines (french, italian, etc) in the future when I gain more knowledge and am comfortable with the regions and my palate. I would be interested to see if others followed a similar journey and if there collection evolved along the way. I would also love to hear some stories from some of the more experienced collectors about their past in collecting/cellaring. I know many here have been amassing their collections over the years and have some crazy stories about purchasing wines in the 1970's and 1980's at release prices that are worth a small fortune now. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#2 Post by jnbrown » September 19th, 2020, 8:24 am

I am in a similar situation.
However my motivation is low because I am 63 and I also enjoy the wines I drink without much age on them.
The most I hold anything would be maybe 3 years.
You can often find wines for a decent price that already have a good amount of age on them, for example LRH Vina Ardanza 2010.
The ones that are tough are like Barolo that really need a lot of age but are pricey even at release.
Two things that help are to have "defenders" which are wines you can drink while the age worthy ones are sleeping in your cellar.
Then of course you need enough cellar space to store all the wine that is aging.
My capacity is about 60 bottles spread across two small fridges which is not really enough.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#3 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 19th, 2020, 10:02 am

I got started when my first child was born and I decided to buy a single bottle of Bordeaux to open for her 21st birthday. Since I bought it then, it wasn’t her birth-year vintage (I later swapped it out for a larger collection from her birth year). It was a 1989 Pichon-Lalande. (Humorous aside - auto-correct wanted that to be Pichon-Laplander).

My next phase came as I started to drink wine every night with dinner (like many, this was in the wake of the famous Morley Safer piece on 60 minutes about the French Paradox). To do that, I needed to buy wine a lot more often than I used to, and my local shop offered 10% off on mixed cases. I was still young, had a new kid and another 2 years later, etc. so the wine budget was very limited. So I would buy 11 bottles to drink right away, with a $5 per bottle limit, and 1 bottle of wine for the cellar with a $20 limit. When the 11 bottles were gone, I’d repeat the process. I liked Bordeaux and Napa cab (which I knew mostly by drinking them when traveling with some more senior colleagues who were winos), so that’s what I bought to cellar. I had no plan for what to buy for the cellar other than 1) buy Bdx or Napa cab; 2) with a good WS score; and 3) within my price limit.

When I started doing this, there were Bordeaux on the shelf from ‘85 through ‘90 that met my criteria so I mostly bought them. Then the market hit an inflection point and all of those bottles disappeared. Suddenly it was much more expensive to buy the recent but not current vintages of Bdx, and the new vintages (‘91 through ‘94) were pretty weak, so I bought Napa cabs instead for my “cellar” bottle each case.

Of course there came a time when started buying more “cellar” wine than just one bottle out of 12, which allowed me to also then occasionally open and drink one of those bottles, but I generally followed the same strategy of just buying what I liked that happened to be on the shelf at the time and within my budget, without any planning ahead.

Fast forward and I began realizing that my “cellar” was unbalanced because I’d been buying all that Napa cab when what I should have been doing was buying some of it, but less, and setting the rest of the money aside to spend on Bdx when they finally had a good vintage again, which of course happened with the ‘95s. At that point, I got a bit more serious about planning out a cellar strategy. At the same time, I was branching out based on tastings and reading (including the early online wine message boards) and added zins, Italians, and Rhônes to my cellar.

Creating more of a planned budget ahead of time allowed me to have money available when, for example, the Turley mailer came out, or if I skipped a Rhône vintage, to save that money and have twice as much to spend on the following vintage so that the overall percentage of Rhônes in my cellar wouldn’t drop because I skipped a vintage. The hard part was budgeting to buy more cellar bottles than I allowed myself to drink, so that the collection grew over time to the point that it would support drinking bottles at maturity while buying the new vintage to replace them, but I stuck to it.

In the decades since, I’ve refined the plan based on updating my thoughts on how old I liked my (insert wine category) to be when I opened them, adding things like Burgundy and riesling (and others) to the mix, having a bit more income than I used to, having a bigger cellar than I used to, and with global warming and improved wine growing mostly eliminating the idea of skipping entire vintages. And of course I was able to cut my buying back (in number of bottles if not in dollars) to just replacing bottles I drank once my cellar was full to capacity. Now I’m at the point where I’m old enough to think about when to stop buying certain categories. I’m done buying vintage Port, and will probably call it quits with Barolo after the ‘16 vintage.

Many don’t like the notion of planning anything as fun and romantic and artistic as wine, and if that would take the fun out of it for you, don’t do it, but I found it extremely helpful given that I have always had to deal with the frustrating realities of loving so many different wines but having limited cellar space, limited funds in the wine budget, and of course a limit on how much wine I can drink each night while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The plan helps you buy (and drink) the right quantity of each wine you cellar to stay within available funds and space, and to get your cellar to where you want it to be. That being said, never hesitate to change the plan over time as you find new areas you love, decide you don’t love old areas as much as you used to, realize you like to drink your riesling (or Bdx, or Chianti) older or younger than the plan calls for, etc. In fact, I think one of the keys when you’re in the early stages is to plan to accumulate your cellar over 10 years or so rather than trying to do it in just a year or two (as if most folks could afford to do that anyway), as this gives you time to adjust the plan as you are in the “accumulation” phase, as you continue to explore and discover what wines you like the most and how much you want to age them before drinking.

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#4 Post by Jason T » September 19th, 2020, 10:08 am

Gavin, I took a similar path, and despite the warnings of this board made plenty of missteps along the way. Got into Cali Cab and Pinot, like you I wanted wines with a bit of age so I bought quite heavily.

Too heavily as I found out several years in that a) my buying and consumption patterns weren’t aligned as b) I found out I probably had more of an old-world profile. Stopped buying so heavily, focused on tasting more broadly. I still buy fairly deep in a couple areas (Oregon, Burgundy), but for the last 2-3 years my purchases are much more aligned to wines I actually want to drink.

I wish I hadn’t bought so heavily early on, but hey, it’s only money. And I learned a bunch along the way.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#5 Post by Mattstolz » September 19th, 2020, 10:16 am

im in a similar situation as well except most of my family growing up never drank at all so I really got into wine as an upstart. the first wines we ever bought to hold were bought at chateaus in bordeaux (note: we opened one of them last week and it was fantastic). and then a smaller wine fridge quickly became a larger wine fridge and now really needs to be a true cellar. i hate having to pay a premium for ready to drink wines as well but am hoping to help a future generation have a good start with the collection i am building now

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#6 Post by G. Curd » September 19th, 2020, 10:21 am

Thanks for the responses Dave and Joel. Thanks for the great stories and especially for the strategies. I think people in my boat can learn a lot from what others have done before. I don't think there will be as many opportunities for crazy deals like there were in the 1980's and 1990's, but there have already been plenty of wines that I have learned about on these boards that I would have never had the opportunity to try.

I agree with you Dave that a strategy/plan is a very important part. I got a little carried away in the very beginning, but multiple members have informed me of a similar strategy. Make sure to have daily drinkers that you prefer and like for regular drinking and then make room for wines in the budget for more long term treasures. Another great piece of advice that I received that touches on a point you made in your post, is to buy multiples of a wine (when possible) rather than singles (unless of course it's a special bottle) so I can taste throughout the life of the wine. For someone like me this will be helpful for me to learn more about the maturation of the wines. This is likely not near as important for those with a lot of experience who already have a pretty firm grasp on how a certain varietal/producer's wine matures. However, it will likely be helpful for me to understand the maturation process and where in the wines life my personal palate prefers certain varietals/producers.

It's super interesting how global warming has changed wine collecting/cellaring. I thought it was super interesting to hear that you had to skip entire vintages because of weather, but that totally makes sense. I'm sure updated wine making standards/practices also helps this as well, but it is still super interesting to me.

Joel- That is a great point you made about personal preference. Some people like Riesling right at release and others like it 30 years aged. I think finding your personal preference for age is a huge part of the early stages of collecting. This is a stage I am still in so it's exciting for me to learn more.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#7 Post by G. Curd » September 19th, 2020, 10:34 am

Jason- Thanks for the response. I am also trying to make sure I don't go to overboard. I have bought very heavily on my favorite producer, but will likely just purchase new releases now that I have an ample enough base for my personal needs. Others have told me to be sure to be broad with my selections and learn more about the wines. I'm sure I will likely make similar mistakes along the way, but the knowledge shared here will definitely help me avoid issues. I have about 10 years of personal experience and have a pretty good grasp on my palate, but I haven't had enough aged/mature wines to feel extremely comfortable with what I will like with age. So I likely need to slow it down a bit on newer releases and save to taste some mature wines to make a better plan for the future. Thanks for the advice.

Thanks for sharing Matt. I too started from basically nill. I have two little boys and I hope that they someday get into wine and can benefit from my cellar when it's my time to leave this earth. It would have been nice to have a starting point with my collection, but there is also benefit to having total control over what I prefer to buy and drink. I feel like your journey is similar to a lot of peoples. I recently purchased a Eurocave (actually a Artevino, but similar) and was going to go with a 100 bottle capacity, but multiple members said to double what you think you will need. So I did. I am already up to about 75-80 bottles so the 100 would have been too small for sure.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#8 Post by Gregory Dal Piaz » September 19th, 2020, 11:12 am

I'm sure I've told this story before but it's a cute story so here goes. I grew up spending summers in Italy, where wine was served at every meal. I was weaned on a mix of water and wine but at some point was just given wine. We drank bulk wine for 13 meals of the week, but indulged in a 750ml, or I guess it was 720 then, for Sunday lunch. After the requisite glass or two of moscato at the bar after mass. One day we had a truly delicious bottle, which I proclaimed the best wine I had ever had. My uncle agreed and I was sent home with a case of the wine. It was Teroldego, 1973 Donati. This must have been in 1974 or 1975. I was either 9 or 10 at the time. That was the first wine in my cellar, I have a single bottle left because I am nostalgic.

After that I brought a case home every year for several year, built up a small stash but really didn't start buying on my own until I was 16 and could fool the staff at Young's wine & spirits with my earnest interest in fine wines. And then I hit high gear with a visit to Gold Star in 1982 or 83, which really opened the floodgates for my infatuation with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese.

After that I approached things methodically, drinking only Bordeaux for several months, then Burgundy, then Spain, as I worked my way through the wine producing world. In 1985 I happened upon the most incredible stash of California wines at the liquor store in Watermill NY. George, the owner, would close every winter, hitch a trailer to his truck and head to California to shop. A practice he had maintained for decade, but no one wanted those wines, instead he sold tons of summer staples like Chablis, Pinot Grigio, Cotes du Rhone, so these endless cases of the best of California circa 1967 - 1983 were just filled in the basement. I helped sort through and inventory everything and in exchange pretty much had the pick of the litter for $5 a bottle. I mostly got the worst looking bottle, but that was fine since I was interested in drinking them, but scored some absolute gems, like Inglenook from the early 50s, and Mondavi Reserves and BV George De Latour from the 70s. Lots of great wine, sure opened my eyes to what could be produced in California. Most surprising wines from that stash were all the 1977 Pinot Noirs. Caymus and Burgess were terrific but the Mondavi and Martin Ray were eye openers, and better than all the Burgundy I had had up to that point, which was mostly 1983 and mostly cheaper, so I had a lot to learn. Still do, but great fortune has accompanied me on this trip, and I look back at each phase with fondness, and a certain bit of whimsy. As I said, I am nostalgic!
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#9 Post by EricJ » September 19th, 2020, 12:13 pm

I moved a lot starting at 18. Back and forth from college, to and from rural Alaska (back to Anchorage). At one point I counted and it was around 50-60 moves/relocations between 18 and 29. I got into wines in my twenties, but I've never had enough stability and surety to start collecting. Fast forward a few years and I'm now in a position where moving frequently isn't going to happen so I have enough confidence to purchase wines with the intent of long term cellaring. I was planning how I wanted to start when I stumbled on the Total Wine 50% deposit on Bordeaux futures (was looking at the 2018 vintage). I was researching the year when I found out it was the 150th anniversary of Lafite Rothschild. I discussed it with my brother and we pulled the trigger on splitting a case (giving me two years to figure out storage).

I've been debating between professional storage and buying a Eurocave. My house doesn't have the floor plan to build a cellar, and I don't trust the economy up here enough to double my house value / payment in order to buy one that already has a cellar built. There isn't professional storage in Alaska so it would have had to have been in Seattle. This week, I decided to pull the trigger on the Artevino III from Costco.

I'm building my cellar with a combination of old world and new world wines. I really enjoy the reds from Northern Rhone, Piedemont, and Spain. New world will probably be mostly Cab, blends, & Syrah. Because my retail selection up here is incredibly limited, I started looking at the best ways to get wines shipped up here and how I wanted to build a collection. I'm still debating how I'm going to build it, how many bottles I want and if I want to focus on depth of specific wines/regions or something more versatile.

The only thing I've become certain on is that I want to have a deep verticals of small production wines. Something that people who are into wine would appreciate, wines you can't easily find in retail/online. In this vein I spent the last month or so doing research into vineyard mailing lists, wait times, etc. I thankfully have been added to the lists for Becklyn, Riverrain, and Kobayashi and I'm waited listed for a bunch more. I'll be able to purchase each release and hopefully have an unbroken chain of 15-20 years as they start to peak.

I don't have the money or space to build verticals from everywhere so instead of trying to build them for old world wines I think I'm going to supplement the subscriptions with lots of wines from great years for the old world wines that I really like. I'm looking at the La Las from 2015, 2016 Barolos, 2012 Champagne, maybe the 2018 riojas (tracking down vintage information for Toro though seems to be a gigantic pain), etc. . In addition I'll be buying more Bordeaux futures, looking into white Burgundy, etc.

But, a lot of this is of course dependent upon how my career tracks. How my wife's tracks. Right now I can justify spending a couple thousand a year without it impacting our household budget too significantly but nothing is certain.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#10 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » September 19th, 2020, 12:34 pm

I only started 5 years ago, and like many began with bolder reds (CA cab and zin/zin blends, Southern Rhone). Now my only CA holding that I have significant quantities of is Bedrock, and I've limited Southern Rhone purchasing to Beaucastel and VT in not so hot/ripe years. As you know Gavin, a large portion of my collection now is riesling, which began after tasting through several of the 2015s (not a bad wedding vintage to have) and was later solidified after my Mosel trip. Since then I've gotten to appreciate OR wines (particularly pinot noir and chardonnay). I've also dabbled a little in Italian wines (particularly Piedmont and Taurasi), Bordeaux, and Champagne.

Though I don't have the years of experience as most of the other boards members have, some tips/advice that I have and lessons learned:

1. Get more storage than you think you need. Just do it.
2. Be organized with your collection. Use CT or an Excel spreadsheet to track your inventory.
3. Many wines have a long aging curve. Riesling in particular. Try a wine at different points in its maturity so you don't buy or leave anything in the cellar to become too "over the hill" for your palate.
4. Your palate will likely change throughout your wine drinking career. Always continue exploring.
5. If you don't feel like drinking more than a glass of it in one setting (exception being dessert wines), it likely isn't worth cellaring. If you finish the bottle in one sitting, buy more.
6. Don't feel bad or get FOMO about sitting out on a particular vintage. The next "vintage of the century" is always around the corner.
CT: rieslinghoarder

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#11 Post by K.C0LBURN » September 19th, 2020, 1:07 pm

I started cellaring wine (or rather, helping a family member with more resources) build a cellar around 2012, when many CA wineries were releasing their 2010 vintage. I've been to different AVAs in California nearly every year since that first trip, and I have a small (but specific and not insignificant) amount of personal experience with the last decade of California vintages.

I've paid premiums for "ready-to-drink" wines with more maturity, but I've also gotten lucky on some winery visits and either stumbled onto or been offered wines with significantly more age. Since I don't have a lot of room to cellar and -- now -- not a lot of alcohol tolerance, this has worked out well for me in general.

I opened a 2003 Elyse Morisoli Vyd. Cabernet this year (the last wine of a vertical I bought years ago) which has held up brilliantly in the interim in my small "wine closet." My collection is less than 100 bottles, though going up by about 2-3 cases this year because my only regret was not investing more heavily in 2010/2012 when I tasted them ... though in my defense, I had less experience at the time than I do now.

I have a strictly domestic California wine collection due to my personal limitations. I don't (and never have) regretted any of my bottle purchases simply because my cellar is by necessity so tiny!

Forcing myself to have no more than about 150 bottles at any one time really put things in perspective. While there are other wines I would like to cellar, I have a good relationship with several producers and am willing to pay the premium for library wines from the folks with programs that are large and established enough to have more of a library available. The things I buy on release and cellar are those from small non-distributed producers and winemakers who are either very new or very highly allocated, or (like now) when a vintage is likely to be exceptional quality and I just want to have more of it around longer.

I'm lucky to be able to get a few other things I enjoy at decent retail for regular drinking. And by regular? I mean one or two bottles a month... I open only on special occasions these days, so the only things left in my collection are either aging or the approximately 12-15 bottles I intend to open in the current year.

The quantity "diet" certainly makes planning less complicated.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#12 Post by Jidhin R. » September 19th, 2020, 1:14 pm

I started about 5 years ago really appreciating wine. Lots of self education of wine to help me legitimize my purchases and if stories made sense from wineries(too much marketing sometimes or lots of times...). This probably made it worse cause then I started accepting higher prices and started investing in long term wines. No plans to sell. Luckily my better half was okay with my new passion. Probably about 3 years ago I started looking for wines from all sorts of regions. Started with a small 18 bottle fridge, to a 30, to a 187, then to offsite storage. Got rid of the 18 and 187 and went to the offsite and small at home. Financially it also made more sense, surprisingly. Offsite was also a great way to meet lots of other wine enthusiasts and share wine. Got to try lots of new wines, wines I can't afford, wines that are acquired internationally, and the most fun is sharing your own wines with people who appreciate it. I've also started teaching classes which was a lot of fun, until COVID. My collection however went from being very international to being Bordeaux and California focused. I got caught in what others mentioned, over-buying California and killing my budget, but it is really good! I've started learning more about different online retailers and researching provenance of the sellers before just buying them. Lots of mistakes along the way. Also learning that splitting a membership with others is a nice way to get some wine but not have to buy the full allocation for yourself. Started looking into everyday wines vs long term now cause most of my young collection will ready in another 7+ years. COVID made things worse being stuck inside and wineries and shops doing sales. I'm sure there will be more mistakes along the way but kinda looking forward to it. Also looking forward to sharing wines with others again, probably mid next year for bigger gatherings. I still struggle with buying multiple bottles just cause I want to still try lots of different wines and budgets...
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#13 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 19th, 2020, 1:25 pm

I wonder how many of us that have been at this a long time have really gotten it right. Seems like a never-ending, but absolutely enjoyable, pursuit. Started earnestly around 1993-95. Still trying to figure it all out.

If had the luxury to go back in time and start again back, knowing what I know now, I would:

1. Double-down on major case purchases of classic wines in classic years, think like 2014 and 2016 Bordeaux. These wines will carry for decades, and if you like them now, you will almost assuredly like them later. And if not, they are always an easy flip.

2. Try to buy as many 375s as I can, like ideally a 50/50 split. And buy some Magnums for events, holidays, etc.

3. As Brian notes, buckle down and get more storage space for the long haul. Still kicking myself for never having built a cellar in my house. I like using off-site storage and it poses less risk, but it has also limited me from buying more of what I wish I had, years and years of Cru Bordeaux that I can drink on weeknights with 15+ years on them.

4. Be patient, hold some of your purchases for the long haul, assuming of course you are buying wines that age well and drink better when mature, like Nebbiolo, Burgundy, Bordeaux, etc. There are folks on this site that still have some of the 1982 Bordeaux that they bought way back then. What a delight that would be right now.

A few basic thoughts, hope it helps.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#14 Post by lleichtman » September 19th, 2020, 1:25 pm

I started cellaring wines when my youngest was born in 1983. We were in Virginia Beach and could not build a cellar down due to the high water table so I had a cellar built into my garage because it was large. Fast forward to 2010 when we moved to Santa Fe NM and the house was perfect with an unfinished basement that was converted into a wine cellar to hold 1200 bottles that we moved. Now down to 800 or so. We bought wine like crazy in Virginia Beach but, due to our ages no longer buy long-term keepers as, who knows if we will live to drink them and only one of our kids has any interest in them. We just buy short-term drinkers now and are steadily reducing the size of our cellar over time (cellar reduction plan) but hard to drink up some of the wines that go back to the late 70's as they are still drinking great. We did start reducing our Bordeaux holdings as the 82's seem to be fading quite a bit.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#15 Post by Jidhin R. » September 19th, 2020, 1:41 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:25 pm
I wonder how many of us that have been at this a long time have really gotten it right. Seems like a never-ending, but absolutely enjoyable, pursuit. Started earnestly around 1993-95. Still trying to figure it all out.
Great points! I know I'm young in this game but I feel this is probably how it's going to be for me. Always trying to figure it out and when I think I do...I find a new region or wines I love. I'm really enjoying the half bottles on the Bordeaux Future side and wish I could get more at actual half price from other wineries. Dreaming of having my own cellar one day even though it'll cost more and be more maintenance than offsite. One-day!
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#16 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 19th, 2020, 1:42 pm

Two thoughts in response to some of Eric’s and Alf’s comments -

1) I love the idea of deep verticals of a favorite wine. Just remember that the future is a difficult thing to predict. Over the next 20 years, what you are able/willing to spend on a bottle of wine may increase faster than the prices of your favorite wines. But over the last 20 years, mine most certainly did not. I had many plans of building the core of my cellar around verticals of Chave, Giacosa, Monprivato, Pichon Lalande, Chevillon, Gonon, etc., as I discovered those wines but the price increases just made that something I wasn’t willing to spend the money to do, so I make do with the 5-10 vintages I have and then move on to other producers. Others (Beaucastel, Turley, Geyserville) kept their increases more in check and I’ve continued to buy them even 20 or more years after discovering them (or in the case of Turley I’ve moved on for other reasons, like those anti-cellar bottles and then discovering Bedrock).

2) On Alf’s question of what would I do if I had it to do over again, the easiest answer would be to have anticipated the price increases above and loaded up on the wines listed above (and others) while they were affordable. But “load up on the wines at the top of your price range” may be terrible advice today. The next 20 years may look nothing like the last 20 years, with a different world, a different economy, younger folks drinking less alcohol and less wine when they do drink alcohol, etc. The other main thing I’d do differently is I’d have added red Burgundy and whites in general (especially riesling, Chablis, and Loire chenin) to my explorations and cellaring plans a lot sooner than I did.

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#17 Post by lleichtman » September 19th, 2020, 1:57 pm

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:42 pm
Two thoughts in response to some of Eric’s and Alf’s comments -

1) I love the idea of deep verticals of a favorite wine. Just remember that the future is a difficult thing to predict. Over the next 20 years, what you are able/willing to spend on a bottle of wine may increase faster than the prices of your favorite wines. But over the last 20 years, mine most certainly did not. I had many plans of building the core of my cellar around verticals of Chave, Giacosa, Monprivato, Pichon Lalande, Chevillon, Gonon, etc., as I discovered those wines but the price increases just made that something I wasn’t willing to spend the money to do, so I make do with the 5-10 vintages I have and then move on to other producers. Others (Beaucastel, Turley, Geyserville) kept their increases more in check and I’ve continued to buy them even 20 or more years after discovering them (or in the case of Turley I’ve moved on for other reasons, like those anti-cellar bottles and then discovering Bedrock).

2) On Alf’s question of what would I do if I had it to do over again, the easiest answer would be to have anticipated the price increases above and loaded up on the wines listed above (and others) while they were affordable. But “load up on the wines at the top of your price range” may be terrible advice today. The next 20 years may look nothing like the last 20 years, with a different world, a different economy, younger folks drinking less alcohol and less wine when they do drink alcohol, etc. The other main thing I’d do differently is I’d have added red Burgundy and whites in general (especially riesling, Chablis, and Loire chenin) to my explorations and cellaring plans a lot sooner than I did.
I think the biggest thing that I didn't think about when I was buying so much wine was my aging as the wine aged. You start looking at your collection and wonder if you will make it long enough to drink it all or do I want to sell off some. None of my friends with large cellars have given a thought to their own aging. Have had several of them or their families having to sell off at fire sale prices when they got too old, sick, or have died.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#18 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 19th, 2020, 2:05 pm

Another tip for those to whom it applies -

Back in the days before Covid, for those of us old enough to remember, there used to be a thing called “business travel.” If those days ever return, and if you have a job for which you travel but have your evenings free of dinner obligations, go to the “Who likes to offline” thread and find the people in the city to which you are traveling and reach out to them, and/or start a thread in the “offline planner” forum and see if can’t scare up a dinner. I spent years doing this and not only do you meet lots of great folks, but you can explore so much more wine that way. You can try 6 or 8 (or sometimes more) wines in one night instead of just one like you’d do at home, and people will bring wines that you don’t own, wines older than any you own, etc. I have been pushed into buying particular producers and even entire regions based on wines others (many of whom are active here on WB today) brought to offlines. And, of course, I also advise attending as many of these as you can when someone posts that they will be in your city and are looking to set up a dinner.

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#19 Post by Jidhin R. » September 19th, 2020, 2:13 pm

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 2:05 pm
Another tip for those to whom it applies -

Back in the days before Covid, for those of us old enough to remember, there used to be a thing called “business travel.” If those days ever return, and if you have a job for which you travel but have your evenings free of dinner obligations, go to the “Who likes to offline” thread and find the people in the city to which you are traveling and reach out to them, and/or start a thread in the “offline planner” forum and see if can’t scare up a dinner. I spent years doing this and not only do you meet lots of great folks, but you can explore so much more wine that way. You can try 6 or 8 (or sometimes more) wines in one night instead of just one like you’d do at home, and people will bring wines that you don’t own, wines older than any you own, etc. I have been pushed into buying particular producers and even entire regions based on wines others (many of whom are active here on WB today) brought to offlines. And, of course, I also advise attending as many of these as you can when someone posts that they will be in your city and are looking to set up a dinner.
I never thought of doing that! I've definitely learned a lot more sharing wine and talking to others than just drinking myself. Hopefully no one is on here that works with me but my trips have a bit of a forced nightly get together rolleyes I'll def have to try this as things get a bit more stable and we actually start traveling again.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#20 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 19th, 2020, 2:16 pm

lleichtman wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:57 pm
I think the biggest thing that I didn't think about when I was buying so much wine was my aging as the wine aged. You start looking at your collection and wonder if you will make it long enough to drink it all or do I want to sell off some. None of my friends with large cellars have given a thought to their own aging. Have had several of them or their families having to sell off at fire sale prices when they got too old, sick, or have died.
There’s a whole separate thread about this and I agree it’s something to consider, My “cellar plan,” once I developed it, always took this into account. It’s not only your own aging in terms of dying or having to quit drinking for health reasons, but it’s also the aging of the wine. If you want to buy wines on release and age them yourself, and you want to drink a case of “cellar gem” Bordeaux per year and have the bottles average 30 years of age from release, you need a Bordeaux collection of 360 bottles. That’s easy enough, but you also need those 360 bottles to be relatively evenly spread over a range of 30 vintages (even if you skipped some and doubled up on others). A collection, today, of 360 bottles of 1995 Bordeaux will not allow you to drink 12 30-year-old bottles per year for the next 30 years.

The only times I’ve gotten “in trouble” on this point is when I’ve gotten too excited and bought “too far ahead” on my wine budget, thinking I’d buy less later. Then suddenly I realize that I have too much of a particular type of wine packed into too few vintages and if I drink them at the pace that matches my purchasing budget, a bunch of them are going to be way older than I want by the time I drink them. Build your plan sensibly, don’t be afraid to change the plan, but also force yourself to stick to the plan, and you can avoid these things.

Back to the point about us aging, I’m certainly going to leave a lot of un-drunk wine behind if I die at 68 or 75 or even 87. But I’m not ignoring my own mortality altogether. I have enough vintage Port to drink two bottles a year until I’m 100, which is enough for me, and just as importantly the youngest of them will still be in their prime drinking window when I’m 100, so I’m not buying any more. Maybe I’ll drink more than two some years so I run out when I’m 90, and maybe I’ll leave a few behind if I die at 83, but I’m not going to be buying wines that I know I’ll never drink even if I’m toasting my centenary with my favorite tipple.
Last edited by D@ve D y r 0 f f on September 19th, 2020, 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#21 Post by Victor Hong » September 19th, 2020, 2:27 pm

Many here were diagnosed with interactive afflictions of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Affluenza, and Hoarding Syndrome.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#22 Post by MarkStDBA » September 19th, 2020, 2:55 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 12:34 pm
I only started 5 years ago, and like many began with bolder reds (CA cab and zin/zin blends, Southern Rhone). Now my only CA holding that I have significant quantities of is Bedrock, and I've limited Southern Rhone purchasing to Beaucastel and VT in not so hot/ripe years. As you know Gavin, a large portion of my collection now is riesling, which began after tasting through several of the 2015s (not a bad wedding vintage to have) and was later solidified after my Mosel trip. Since then I've gotten to appreciate OR wines (particularly pinot noir and chardonnay). I've also dabbled a little in Italian wines (particularly Piedmont and Taurasi), Bordeaux, and Champagne.

Though I don't have the years of experience as most of the other boards members have, some tips/advice that I have and lessons learned:

1. Get more storage than you think you need. Just do it.
2. Be organized with your collection. Use CT or an Excel spreadsheet to track your inventory.
3. Many wines have a long aging curve. Riesling in particular. Try a wine at different points in its maturity so you don't buy or leave anything in the cellar to become too "over the hill" for your palate.
4. Your palate will likely change throughout your wine drinking career. Always continue exploring.
5. If you don't feel like drinking more than a glass of it in one setting (exception being dessert wines), it likely isn't worth cellaring. If you finish the bottle in one sitting, buy more.
6. Don't feel bad or get FOMO about sitting out on a particular vintage. The next "vintage of the century" is always around the corner.
Good advice.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#23 Post by Mark Golodetz » September 19th, 2020, 3:27 pm

My history is long and boring, but I am lucky enough that my profession and passion were so linked. On the way there were some great times, fabulous events, and a lot of lifelong friendships. Some time ago, I stopped worrying about the notches, seeking out legends, and just enjoying what I have. That hasn’t stopped me being a bit of a wine snob, and I have narrowed my drinking to wines I want to drink, wines I have to drink and wine I won’t drink.

So some advice. This is what I tell my clients who are not planning to invest in wine. Enjoy; wine and food are the greatest hobbies.

I was cleaning my desk out, which I do every twenty years or so, and I discovered some old invoices. Some were for me, some for clients. In 2002, I bought a case for one client of 1999 Rousseau Chambertin 1999 for $2800 and the Clos Saint Jacques $1400. The Roumier Bonnes Mares from assorted vintages was $125, but I was too late for the Musigny, and there was a note to that effect. He also had assorted cases of 1999 DRC for $3200. And just so that Bordeaux was included, there was some Latour 1982 for $285 a bottle.

On the same invoice were some wines which have not appreciated. Bouchard Chevalier 2002 $320 a bottle, Beaucastel 1998 $60 a bottle, Fonseca 1977 at $130 a bottle. My point is that occasionally you will strike it lucky and find deals, and sometimes you will make errors. So don’t worry about missing the deal, and what we old timers boast that we got our wines for. You are hopefully going to drink every bottle you buy.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#24 Post by EricJ » September 19th, 2020, 3:48 pm

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:42 pm
Two thoughts in response to some of Eric’s and Alf’s comments -

1) I love the idea of deep verticals of a favorite wine. Just remember that the future is a difficult thing to predict. Over the next 20 years, what you are able/willing to spend on a bottle of wine may increase faster than the prices of your favorite wines. But over the last 20 years, mine most certainly did not. I had many plans of building the core of my cellar around verticals of Chave, Giacosa, Monprivato, Pichon Lalande, Chevillon, Gonon, etc., as I discovered those wines but the price increases just made that something I wasn’t willing to spend the money to do, so I make do with the 5-10 vintages I have and then move on to other producers. Others (Beaucastel, Turley, Geyserville) kept their increases more in check and I’ve continued to buy them even 20 or more years after discovering them (or in the case of Turley I’ve moved on for other reasons, like those anti-cellar bottles and then discovering Bedrock).

2) On Alf’s question of what would I do if I had it to do over again, the easiest answer would be to have anticipated the price increases above and loaded up on the wines listed above (and others) while they were affordable. But “load up on the wines at the top of your price range” may be terrible advice today. The next 20 years may look nothing like the last 20 years, with a different world, a different economy, younger folks drinking less alcohol and less wine when they do drink alcohol, etc. The other main thing I’d do differently is I’d have added red Burgundy and whites in general (especially riesling, Chablis, and Loire chenin) to my explorations and cellaring plans a lot sooner than I did.
I definitely got ahead of myself on this when I was added to some wine lists earlier than I'd expected to be. I haven't figure out how may bottles of each producer I want to store from each vintage when building verticals. Some of this will of course be constrained by my allocations, but I'd like to plan it instead of buying what becomes available. Most of my purchases for cellaring so far have been made based upon recommendations here / professional reviews and trying to establish my position on mailing lists for the future. I rolled the dice with the assumption that they'll be in line with the tasting notes I read, but I'll try to snag a bottle from each online to try out and also maintain the three bottles each I have for the future. Assuming I really like them I'll keep the allocations and continue building it out, if not I don't mind hanging on to them and moving to the next producer.

The wines I know I'll lay down and are available I'll buy from an online retailer after I get mid-term storage installed (CVNE, Guigal, Vietti, etc.), but there's something about having wines you can't just go buy that really appeals to me when building out a collection (especially verticals). I figure it'll be hit or miss until I find the 3-4 producers that I build out for deep verticals and fun along the way.

My wife is about halfway through law school so I did try to convince her that someday we may be in a position where we need to entertain clients of and/or partners in a firm and having a collection of wine on hand could prove to be really useful. She doesn't mind that I spend money on the hobby overall, but when the allocations came in for Becklyn and Riverrain (after already buying the Lafite futures a little while back) she just laughed at me when I was justifying it for "practical reasons."
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#25 Post by Kevin G. » September 19th, 2020, 5:21 pm

Fun to read these stories.

I've been collecting wines for almost 20 years. I intentionally use the word "collect" as i have no shame in admitting that the hunt for bottles, the purchase, the entering into CT, and then simply knowing that the wine rests nearby, ready to be accessed at a moment's notice, are all part of the fun. Lots more to say, but i'll offer these two bits of learned advice.

1. Don't turn your nose up at any region, varietal, or producer. As a Europhile, i had no interest in collecting New World wines, including from the U.S. Aside from a lone bottle of 2003 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet, i don't have a single non-European wine in my collection. Well, i recently had a wine from a CA producer that i had never heard of--Kathryn Kennedy--easily one of the best wines that i've ever had. Can't imagine what else i have been missing because of my unwillingness to explore new territories.
2. Many of my most formative years as a collector were as a grad student, after which i began a career in education, so my discretionary income has been rather limited. Because of this, i now have a cellar full of singleton bottles, most of which i have never tried. For nearly twenty years i have held onto these singletons, gawking at them on cellar tracker or in the flesh, but have never actually pulled many of their corks. The lesson here is, if possible, to buy at least two bottles of each wine...one to try and one to hold.

Enjoy the ride.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#26 Post by G. Curd » September 19th, 2020, 6:12 pm

Wow. This thread has been really amazing. I have made a section in my spreadsheet for notes from everyone on here that I can look back on every so often to make sure I can at least attempt to avoid some pitfalls. I really enjoy these posts and hearing all of the different stories and journeys in wine. The one thing they all have in common is a love for our hobby (or business in some cases) and a fellowship of people. The main things I think I needed to hear most is to make sure I was patient, really explore a bunch of different areas, and to often remember that I am aging and my palate will age. I already heeded the wise words and bought a larger wine cooler than I thought I would need (I purchased the same one as you Eric J).

Another thing I have really taken from these stories and this forum is the respect and kindness everyone seems to have with each others stories and with wine in general. I think often times people think that wine lovers are "wine snobs", but I have actually found that to be almost the opposite. Typically wine lovers, on here at least, tend to really advocate that there is great wine at every price and in every region. They also really really advocate to drink whatever you and your palate really enjoy.

I love to hear those stories about old recipes Mark G. It's so cool to hear about the wine world before I got into wine. It was more of a wild west where personal communication and relationships had a lot more to do with it.

Victor I think you may be onto something :).

Dave- I have made a goal when the black cloud of Covid is gone to start trying to attend more events/tastings with other individuals to learn from personal experience and to learn from them.

Kevin- That is a great point. I have definitely adopted buying at least two bottles of each wine. I too bought many singletons to start.

Eric J- I am going to try that with my wife. She is a stay at home mom with the kids so I will have to say it's good for "destressing" with the other moms :)

Thanks everyone for sharing. This is great stuff.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#27 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 19th, 2020, 7:13 pm

Another lesson I’ve learned - Drink that Wine! It’s fine to save a special bottle that you have earmarked for a kid’s wedding or for your 50th anniversary or for the year it turns 30 from the vintage, but you can’t save every great bottle for some unspecified future time. That’s another way to deny yourself pleasure now and then all of a sudden end up with a more wine approaching the end of its drinkable life (to your tastes) than you can drink before it’s too late. So part of my planning has not only been a buying plan, but also a drinking plan. Maybe during the accumulation phase my plan was to buy 10 cases a year of “cellar” wines and drink 4 cases per year. But I always treated the 4 cases to drink not only as a limit on what I was “allowed” to drink (in order to spur accumulation in the cellar) but as a mandate of what I needed to drink not only to keep the cellar in balance but to enjoy and to further my education and refinement of my cellar goals. Often that “forced” me to pick some of those bottles that I’d otherwise have saved for “someday later” to drink. And I’m glad it did. Someday is not guaranteed to anyone, and you only learn by drinking. So, yes, you can’t accumulate a cellar full of mature (and maturing) wines if you drink everything you buy within a year or two of buying it, but the point of all this is to open the bottles and enjoy them - so do it!

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#28 Post by Uli K. » September 19th, 2020, 11:57 pm

I grew up in a wine region, so wine has been in my life since a very young age. It also explains why I’m biased toward buying local. I drank what I bought until 10 years ago, when we moved to a house with a closet suitable as passive cellar. I have space for ~200 bottles and don’t intend to go much beyond that (although 2020 is a big challenge in that regard). I prefer quality over quantity.

Most of my new release purchases are direct from the winery, that connection is important to me. I love pickup and hate shipping (yes, I’m fortunate to have the proximity). I buy online/at the store for backfilling and bargains. The resulting regional balance is lopsided of course. I’m OK with that as long as I have balance in varietals and vintages, to ensure we always have the right pairing available. Travel purchases and road trips to wine regions help.

Unsurprisingly, most of our inventory is 15 years old or less. I was able to build a stash of older wines by buying library releases (watch out for retiring winemakers) and some auction purchases. Collecting is fun, but drinking at peak my goal.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#29 Post by IlkkaL » September 20th, 2020, 3:40 am

I got my first wine fridge ten years ago and started off pretty slowly. Partly that was due to budget restrictions and partly as I wanted to explore the world of wine pretty widely to really learn and develop my palate. Pretty soon I realized that European wines are my thing and while at first I felt that Italian and Spanish reds were more approachable than the French I eventually got to a place where 70-80% of what I buy is French and I find it highly unlikely that that would change moving forward, at least any time soon. I buy a lot online but what I enjoy the most is traveling in Central Europe and raiding small private wine shops.

I think you if you have the resources and the cellar space it might be tempting to buy a lot of stuff by the case just for the sake of "building a cellar". Maybe that can work for some but I see a huge risk there that you end up with a lot of wine you one day realize you do not want to drink*. I have also learned that it is wise to be vary of vintage hype - it is smart to avoid absolutely terrible vintages (pretty uncommon in many classic regions nowadays) but otherwise you are almost certainly better off buying good producers and vintages that fit you preferences instead of the wine critics'.

* not sure this applies to vintage Champagne though. Never heard anyone say they regret buying too much vintage Champagne from good producers.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#30 Post by Howard Cooper » September 20th, 2020, 6:28 am

I am 65 and came at wine somewhat differently from most of you. I started drinking excellent to great wines in the 1970s from my father, who owned a wine store. I started with German wines (many of which were vintage 1971) and classified Bordeaux and premier cru and grand cru Burgundy from the 1960s and early 1970s. So, I early on developed a taste for these wines and for wines with some age on them. I started drinking some California wines a bit later (in the late 1970s when I was in law school and first practicing law in the early 1980s). My first California wines (all from dad's store) were BV Private Reserves and Inglenook casks and then others I had a bit later were things like Mondavi, Jordan, Chappellet, Sterling, Ridge, Phelps, etc.

I was of the generation that bought 1982 Bordeaux futures at ridiculously cheap prices. For a short time after they came in, I stored the wines at a friend's cellar, but we bought a house at the end of 1984 and by spring 1985 my father (by then retired) had built me a passive wine cellar in the basement. A few years later I put a two-part cooling system into the cellar to keep the wines cooler, although the wines in my passive cellar never got above 70 even in the summer. When we bought a new house (our current house) at the end of 1997, I bought a prefabricated wine cellar with cooling units - these small units were never that well made and did not last that long) and had this for many years. Several years ago, I had outgrown this cellar and, since we decided to stay in our house in retirement, I had a bigger and prettier cellar built with a primary two-piece wine cooling system and a backup one piece cooling unit.

My thoughts on buying and aging wine:

1. Buy quality. This does not mean buy expensive (read Alfert's posts on buying Bordeaux for excellent lessons on buying quality Bordeaux at reasonable prices). But, your biggest mistakes will be buying ok wines.

2. Buy wineries with a track record. Too many people buy wines from wineries that are brand new because they are big and rich and then are disappointed when the wines do not age well - at best they hold as if in suspended animation or at worst they all apart. You can tell these wines on Wine Searcher - the wines where the newest vintages are the most expensive and as you go back in time the prices go down. You really reduce this risk by buying wines with a history of aging well - in California, think of wineries like Ridge, Chateau Montelena, Mt. Eden, Stony Hill, etc., etc., rather that the latest and greatest where everyone is trying to get on their mailing lists.

3. Buy sparingly until you see how the wine ages - or find a couple of mature bottles to try. Again, this is buying with a track record, but in this case based on your own palate. This will help you not get stuck with a bunch of wine that is falling apart. We all make mistakes buying wine, just don't buy too much of the mistakes.

4. Taste a lot and don't just hold wines forever.

5. Be prepared for your palate to change. I have loved red Burgundies more than anything else since the late 1970s, but over time I have developed loves for white Burgundy and Champagne, for example, that I did not have when I was younger.

6. Diversify. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. It is fine to buy lots of a wine when you plan to drink them all young. But, unless you have a lot of history with a winery, diversify. Also, diversify with respect to vintages. Lots of people love 2015 Bordeaux, for example, but there are a number of board members who prefer the more classic 2014s. Which will you like better? You will only know over time.

7. Trust your palate rather than wine writers or people on this board. Certainly, I get ideas for wine from people on wine boards and from wine writers, but be careful to makes sure the people who you are listening have similar palates to you. There are a ton of people on this board where I would never follow their recommendations - does not mean they are wrong, but the wines they like are not the same ones as the wines I like. And, on the other hand, when you find producers whose wines you like, don't worry about poorer scores. Early on (late 1980s and early 1990s) I fell in love with the wines of Jacky Truchot, a small Burgundy producer in Morey St. Denis. The wines did not get great reviews from the Wine Advocate. So, I was cautious, bought less at first, bought more as I tasted more and saw that I really did like the wines and I liked the way they aged. Now, the wines sell for a fortune.

8. Keep trying new things, even if you make some mistakes, which is why you don't buy too much of any wine at first. Experimenting is how I have found wines I like but don't drink that often like Bandols from Chateau Pradeaux, Taurasi from Mastroberardino and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from Pepe (well, I would find these wines from Pepe if I actually could find these wines from Pepe).

9. Go slowly. There is always another vintage, always another wine. Don't build a well diversified cellar. Build a cellar slowly over time of wines you love and have confidence in.

10. Most importantly, don't overthink this and have fun. It is only wine and should decrease your stress level, not increase it.
Howard

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#31 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » September 20th, 2020, 6:41 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 6:28 am
I am 65 and came at wine somewhat differently from most of you. I started drinking excellent to great wines in the 1970s from my father, who owned a wine store. I started with German wines (many of which were vintage 1971) and classified Bordeaux and premier cru and grand cru Burgundy from the 1960s and early 1970s. So, I early on developed a taste for these wines and for wines with some age on them. I started drinking some California wines a bit later (in the late 1970s when I was in law school and first practicing law in the early 1980s). My first California wines (all from dad's store) were BV Private Reserves and Inglenook casks and then others I had a bit later were things like Mondavi, Jordan, Chappellet, Sterling, Ridge, Phelps, etc.

I was of the generation that bought 1982 Bordeaux futures at ridiculously cheap prices. For a short time after they came in, I stored the wines at a friend's cellar, but we bought a house at the end of 1984 and by spring 1985 my father (by then retired) had built me a passive wine cellar in the basement. A few years later I put a two-part cooling system into the cellar to keep the wines cooler, although the wines in my passive cellar never got above 70 even in the summer. When we bought a new house (our current house) at the end of 1997, I bought a prefabricated wine cellar with cooling units - these small units were never that well made and did not last that long) and had this for many years. Several years ago, I had outgrown this cellar and, since we decided to stay in our house in retirement, I had a bigger and prettier cellar built with a primary two-piece wine cooling system and a backup one piece cooling unit.

My thoughts on buying and aging wine:

1. Buy quality. This does not mean buy expensive (read Alfert's posts on buying Bordeaux for excellent lessons on buying quality Bordeaux at reasonable prices). But, your biggest mistakes will be buying ok wines.

2. Buy wineries with a track record. Too many people buy wines from wineries that are brand new because they are big and rich and then are disappointed when the wines do not age well - at best they hold as if in suspended animation or at worst they all apart. You can tell these wines on Wine Searcher - the wines where the newest vintages are the most expensive and as you go back in time the prices go down. You really reduce this risk by buying wines with a history of aging well - in California, think of wineries like Ridge, Chateau Montelena, Mt. Eden, Stony Hill, etc., etc., rather that the latest and greatest where everyone is trying to get on their mailing lists.

3. Buy sparingly until you see how the wine ages - or find a couple of mature bottles to try. Again, this is buying with a track record, but in this case based on your own palate. This will help you not get stuck with a bunch of wine that is falling apart. We all make mistakes buying wine, just don't buy too much of the mistakes.

4. Taste a lot and don't just hold wines forever.

5. Be prepared for your palate to change. I have loved red Burgundies more than anything else since the late 1970s, but over time I have developed loves for white Burgundy and Champagne, for example, that I did not have when I was younger.

6. Diversify. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. It is fine to buy lots of a wine when you plan to drink them all young. But, unless you have a lot of history with a winery, diversify. Also, diversify with respect to vintages. Lots of people love 2015 Bordeaux, for example, but there are a number of board members who prefer the more classic 2014s. Which will you like better? You will only know over time.

7. Trust your palate rather than wine writers or people on this board. Certainly, I get ideas for wine from people on wine boards and from wine writers, but be careful to makes sure the people who you are listening have similar palates to you. There are a ton of people on this board where I would never follow their recommendations - does not mean they are wrong, but the wines they like are not the same ones as the wines I like. And, on the other hand, when you find producers whose wines you like, don't worry about poorer scores. Early on (late 1980s and early 1990s) I fell in love with the wines of Jacky Truchot, a small Burgundy producer in Morey St. Denis. The wines did not get great reviews from the Wine Advocate. So, I was cautious, bought less at first, bought more as I tasted more and saw that I really did like the wines and I liked the way they aged. Now, the wines sell for a fortune.

8. Keep trying new things, even if you make some mistakes, which is why you don't buy too much of any wine at first. Experimenting is how I have found wines I like but don't drink that often like Bandols from Chateau Pradeaux, Taurasi from Mastroberardino and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from Pepe (well, I would find these wines from Pepe if I actually could find these wines from Pepe).

9. Go slowly. There is always another vintage, always another wine. Don't build a well diversified cellar. Build a cellar slowly over time of wines you love and have confidence in.

10. Most importantly, don't overthink this and have fun. It is only wine and should decrease your stress level, not increase it.
What an upbringing! And solid advice as always Howard.
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2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#32 Post by Howard Cooper » September 20th, 2020, 6:48 am

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 6:41 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 6:28 am
I am 65 and came at wine somewhat differently from most of you. I started drinking excellent to great wines in the 1970s from my father, who owned a wine store. I started with German wines (many of which were vintage 1971) and classified Bordeaux and premier cru and grand cru Burgundy from the 1960s and early 1970s. So, I early on developed a taste for these wines and for wines with some age on them. I started drinking some California wines a bit later (in the late 1970s when I was in law school and first practicing law in the early 1980s). My first California wines (all from dad's store) were BV Private Reserves and Inglenook casks and then others I had a bit later were things like Mondavi, Jordan, Chappellet, Sterling, Ridge, Phelps, etc.

I was of the generation that bought 1982 Bordeaux futures at ridiculously cheap prices. For a short time after they came in, I stored the wines at a friend's cellar, but we bought a house at the end of 1984 and by spring 1985 my father (by then retired) had built me a passive wine cellar in the basement. A few years later I put a two-part cooling system into the cellar to keep the wines cooler, although the wines in my passive cellar never got above 70 even in the summer. When we bought a new house (our current house) at the end of 1997, I bought a prefabricated wine cellar with cooling units - these small units were never that well made and did not last that long) and had this for many years. Several years ago, I had outgrown this cellar and, since we decided to stay in our house in retirement, I had a bigger and prettier cellar built with a primary two-piece wine cooling system and a backup one piece cooling unit.

My thoughts on buying and aging wine:

1. Buy quality. This does not mean buy expensive (read Alfert's posts on buying Bordeaux for excellent lessons on buying quality Bordeaux at reasonable prices). But, your biggest mistakes will be buying ok wines.

2. Buy wineries with a track record. Too many people buy wines from wineries that are brand new because they are big and rich and then are disappointed when the wines do not age well - at best they hold as if in suspended animation or at worst they all apart. You can tell these wines on Wine Searcher - the wines where the newest vintages are the most expensive and as you go back in time the prices go down. You really reduce this risk by buying wines with a history of aging well - in California, think of wineries like Ridge, Chateau Montelena, Mt. Eden, Stony Hill, etc., etc., rather that the latest and greatest where everyone is trying to get on their mailing lists.

3. Buy sparingly until you see how the wine ages - or find a couple of mature bottles to try. Again, this is buying with a track record, but in this case based on your own palate. This will help you not get stuck with a bunch of wine that is falling apart. We all make mistakes buying wine, just don't buy too much of the mistakes.

4. Taste a lot and don't just hold wines forever.

5. Be prepared for your palate to change. I have loved red Burgundies more than anything else since the late 1970s, but over time I have developed loves for white Burgundy and Champagne, for example, that I did not have when I was younger.

6. Diversify. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. It is fine to buy lots of a wine when you plan to drink them all young. But, unless you have a lot of history with a winery, diversify. Also, diversify with respect to vintages. Lots of people love 2015 Bordeaux, for example, but there are a number of board members who prefer the more classic 2014s. Which will you like better? You will only know over time.

7. Trust your palate rather than wine writers or people on this board. Certainly, I get ideas for wine from people on wine boards and from wine writers, but be careful to makes sure the people who you are listening have similar palates to you. There are a ton of people on this board where I would never follow their recommendations - does not mean they are wrong, but the wines they like are not the same ones as the wines I like. And, on the other hand, when you find producers whose wines you like, don't worry about poorer scores. Early on (late 1980s and early 1990s) I fell in love with the wines of Jacky Truchot, a small Burgundy producer in Morey St. Denis. The wines did not get great reviews from the Wine Advocate. So, I was cautious, bought less at first, bought more as I tasted more and saw that I really did like the wines and I liked the way they aged. Now, the wines sell for a fortune.

8. Keep trying new things, even if you make some mistakes, which is why you don't buy too much of any wine at first. Experimenting is how I have found wines I like but don't drink that often like Bandols from Chateau Pradeaux, Taurasi from Mastroberardino and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from Pepe (well, I would find these wines from Pepe if I actually could find these wines from Pepe).

9. Go slowly. There is always another vintage, always another wine. Don't build a well diversified cellar. Build a cellar slowly over time of wines you love and have confidence in.

10. Most importantly, don't overthink this and have fun. It is only wine and should decrease your stress level, not increase it.
What an upbringing! And solid advice as always Howard.
Thank you. Do note that a decent amount of this falls in the category of learn from my mistakes.
Howard

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#33 Post by Howard Cooper » September 20th, 2020, 6:51 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:25 pm


3. As Brian notes, buckle down and get more storage space for the long haul. Still kicking myself for never having built a cellar in my house. I like using off-site storage and it poses less risk, but it has also limited me from buying more of what I wish I had, years and years of Cru Bordeaux that I can drink on weeknights with 15+ years on them.

You are still young. I had my current cellar built when I was older than you are now. No time like the present to build a cellar.
Last edited by Howard Cooper on September 20th, 2020, 6:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#34 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 20th, 2020, 6:53 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 6:51 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:25 pm


3. As Brian notes, buckle down and get more storage space for the long haul. Still kicking myself for never having built a cellar in my house. I like using off-site storage and it poses less risk, but it has also limited me from buying more of what I wish I had, years and years of Cru Bordeaux that I can drink on weeknights with 15+ years on them.

You are still young. I had my current cellar built when I was older than you are now. No time like the present to build a cellar.
Cool to hear that, I do need to buckle down. I have stuff all over the dang place!
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#35 Post by Richard T r i m p i » September 20th, 2020, 6:54 am

G. Curd wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 8:03 am
How did you start your wine collection/cellar?
Haphazard and unfocused, starting probably 30 years ago. It was a funky little root cellar built on to the basement that had too much temp fluctuation....and it would sometimes partially flood so all of the wine racks were elevated. I knew almost nothing about age-worthy wines. The contents went through several transitions.

RT

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#36 Post by Howard Cooper » September 20th, 2020, 7:01 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 6:53 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 6:51 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:25 pm


3. As Brian notes, buckle down and get more storage space for the long haul. Still kicking myself for never having built a cellar in my house. I like using off-site storage and it poses less risk, but it has also limited me from buying more of what I wish I had, years and years of Cru Bordeaux that I can drink on weeknights with 15+ years on them.

You are still young. I had my current cellar built when I was older than you are now. No time like the present to build a cellar.
Cool to hear that, I do need to buckle down. I have stuff all over the dang place!
We had it built about 5 years ago. At that time I was beginning to slow down at work. My wife and I made the decision to stay in our house in the burbs after retirement and not move into DC and live more of an urban life. We decided that we could get what we want in the city by driving downtown or taking a subway or an Uber. As part of this decision, we also joined a country club that is 5 minutes from our house and do a few other things to the house. This year, we are very glad we made this decision as it would do us very little good to be in the city and we really need the country club so we can get out of the house and play golf outside while social distancing.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#37 Post by Paul @bbott » September 20th, 2020, 7:11 am

I started to drink wine in the 1980s, I didn’t have much money, so most of my early purchases were cru bourgeois claret. Still back in the day I bought 1988 Léoville-Barton for £11 and some other similar purchases. I found Burgundy thin and acidic and avoided it for over a decade. Over time I found I had an almost pure Bordeaux collection and have spent much of the last decade buying more Rhône, Loire, Rioja etc than I consume in order to forcibly expand the variety of wine I drink. I am now finding I don’t actually like all those others as much as claret when aged. Never mind, it was interesting finding out. I am getting on much better with Burgundy though.

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#38 Post by Jim F » September 20th, 2020, 7:43 am

I started collecting in the late 80’s. I never really had much of a plan, I just bought what I wanted to try and later, what I liked. I read, e.g., WS and then TWA, ad read some more and started to identify what might be considered excellent to great wines from the various regions of the world, and I tried some and cellared some. The primary issues for me have always been provenence and cellar condition. I was in NJ and had a cool cellar....but dry in the winter. The cellar was initially just a small rack and a bunch of wood boxes.....which was a pain in the neck if you wanted a bottle at the bottom of the stack. On the other hand, that is somewhat advantageous to cellaring for a time because it is such a pain in the next. Offsite helps on that also, but I always preferred having the stuff in my cellar and available. After a few years of this, I built a proper passive wine room and expanded my racking for the whole collection with room to spare. I moved...and built another passive wine cellar, also in NJ. Moved again into an old (circa 1870’s) house with a low ceiling and pipes and wires all over the place and could not reasonably build a cellar, so I reverted to some racks and a bunch of wood boxes....which being the pain in he neck that they are, facilitated keeping my hands off wines that needed cellar time. No I am in Florida and purchased and installed a conditioned wine room.....but still have to decide on my back-up power options. I never really got into buying auction wines and older vintages, have always bought futures or on release. FWIW. Also, I try not to get too obsessive about the cellar conditions...I have found with experience that they do not have to be perfect.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#39 Post by Jeff D a v i e s » September 20th, 2020, 7:45 am

I started in grad school. Had just gotten married and was cooking and making my (our) own meals for the first time. Started buying wine to go with the food. Took a wine class at the hotel school as a non-credit class and got exposed to lots of different wines.

Started with some sideways boxes in the basement. Couple wines that hooked me were 1986 Close Rene and early 90's Caymus cabernet.

Moved to NYC area and started buying. Have built 4 wine cellars (in four different houses). Now up to more than I can count and busting at the seams.

My favorite wines are Bordeaux, but I do California cabs and a few pinots, Italy, Rhone and some others (recently some Spanish). Tried Burgundy (have a bunch of 97-2002).... still trying to figure out when the "drinking window" is.

My kids are now old enough to drink so getting them into it is fun and pulling older bottles for friends who are relatively new to wine (and drinking high octane fruit bombs) is also great.

Cheers

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#40 Post by Howard Cooper » September 20th, 2020, 10:42 am

Jeff D a v i e s wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 7:45 am
Tried Burgundy (have a bunch of 97-2002).... still trying to figure out when the "drinking window" is.

If this is an issue for you, you don't like Burgundy.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#41 Post by alan weinberg » September 20th, 2020, 11:52 am

I guess we repeat this thread every few years. My story is similar. A friend took me to dinner in late 1984 and opened a 1975 BV GdL PV. BLEW ME AWAY. Loaned me a book by Alexis Bespaloff and I stayed up all night reading it, went the next day with him to Trader Joe’s and spent the outrageous sum of $84 on a mixed case of wine. Moved from Cali to Bordeaux to Rhône and then met Burgundy before the 1990 vintage. Stayed there ever since, most of the other wines gone while drinking just Burgs, Champagne, occasional Riesling. Beyond passionate about Burgundy . . .

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#42 Post by G. Curd » September 20th, 2020, 12:12 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 6:28 am
I am 65 and came at wine somewhat differently from most of you. I started drinking excellent to great wines in the 1970s from my father, who owned a wine store. I started with German wines (many of which were vintage 1971) and classified Bordeaux and premier cru and grand cru Burgundy from the 1960s and early 1970s. So, I early on developed a taste for these wines and for wines with some age on them. I started drinking some California wines a bit later (in the late 1970s when I was in law school and first practicing law in the early 1980s). My first California wines (all from dad's store) were BV Private Reserves and Inglenook casks and then others I had a bit later were things like Mondavi, Jordan, Chappellet, Sterling, Ridge, Phelps, etc.

I was of the generation that bought 1982 Bordeaux futures at ridiculously cheap prices. For a short time after they came in, I stored the wines at a friend's cellar, but we bought a house at the end of 1984 and by spring 1985 my father (by then retired) had built me a passive wine cellar in the basement. A few years later I put a two-part cooling system into the cellar to keep the wines cooler, although the wines in my passive cellar never got above 70 even in the summer. When we bought a new house (our current house) at the end of 1997, I bought a prefabricated wine cellar with cooling units - these small units were never that well made and did not last that long) and had this for many years. Several years ago, I had outgrown this cellar and, since we decided to stay in our house in retirement, I had a bigger and prettier cellar built with a primary two-piece wine cooling system and a backup one piece cooling unit.

My thoughts on buying and aging wine:

1. Buy quality. This does not mean buy expensive (read Alfert's posts on buying Bordeaux for excellent lessons on buying quality Bordeaux at reasonable prices). But, your biggest mistakes will be buying ok wines.

2. Buy wineries with a track record. Too many people buy wines from wineries that are brand new because they are big and rich and then are disappointed when the wines do not age well - at best they hold as if in suspended animation or at worst they all apart. You can tell these wines on Wine Searcher - the wines where the newest vintages are the most expensive and as you go back in time the prices go down. You really reduce this risk by buying wines with a history of aging well - in California, think of wineries like Ridge, Chateau Montelena, Mt. Eden, Stony Hill, etc., etc., rather that the latest and greatest where everyone is trying to get on their mailing lists.

3. Buy sparingly until you see how the wine ages - or find a couple of mature bottles to try. Again, this is buying with a track record, but in this case based on your own palate. This will help you not get stuck with a bunch of wine that is falling apart. We all make mistakes buying wine, just don't buy too much of the mistakes.

4. Taste a lot and don't just hold wines forever.

5. Be prepared for your palate to change. I have loved red Burgundies more than anything else since the late 1970s, but over time I have developed loves for white Burgundy and Champagne, for example, that I did not have when I was younger.

6. Diversify. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. It is fine to buy lots of a wine when you plan to drink them all young. But, unless you have a lot of history with a winery, diversify. Also, diversify with respect to vintages. Lots of people love 2015 Bordeaux, for example, but there are a number of board members who prefer the more classic 2014s. Which will you like better? You will only know over time.

7. Trust your palate rather than wine writers or people on this board. Certainly, I get ideas for wine from people on wine boards and from wine writers, but be careful to makes sure the people who you are listening have similar palates to you. There are a ton of people on this board where I would never follow their recommendations - does not mean they are wrong, but the wines they like are not the same ones as the wines I like. And, on the other hand, when you find producers whose wines you like, don't worry about poorer scores. Early on (late 1980s and early 1990s) I fell in love with the wines of Jacky Truchot, a small Burgundy producer in Morey St. Denis. The wines did not get great reviews from the Wine Advocate. So, I was cautious, bought less at first, bought more as I tasted more and saw that I really did like the wines and I liked the way they aged. Now, the wines sell for a fortune.

8. Keep trying new things, even if you make some mistakes, which is why you don't buy too much of any wine at first. Experimenting is how I have found wines I like but don't drink that often like Bandols from Chateau Pradeaux, Taurasi from Mastroberardino and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from Pepe (well, I would find these wines from Pepe if I actually could find these wines from Pepe).

9. Go slowly. There is always another vintage, always another wine. Don't build a well diversified cellar. Build a cellar slowly over time of wines you love and have confidence in.

10. Most importantly, don't overthink this and have fun. It is only wine and should decrease your stress level, not increase it.
Great post Howard. This is a lot of stuff I am going to try to live by. A big thing I am concentrating on right now is diversifying. I know I love a few producers and a majority of my collection is made up by only a few producers (JJ Prum, Ridge, Aubert). Luckily Brian Stotter PM'd me early and gave me the advise to diversify a bit before going in to deep with only a small number of producers. It's a complicated balancing act especially when a budget comes into play. You want to make sure you are buying stuff you know you will like, but you also want to try different things so patience is super important. That is something I lack so having everyone on here helps me avoid too much of a catastrophe. For that reason I have stopped buying retail for the most part for stuff I already have a decent amount of (unless I find a crazy deal) and have been sticking to auctions and pre-sales of new vintages. I have made a goal to purchase a new wine or two a week at auction or retail to try something new. I try to follow wine makers with a good track record and also some of the people's recommendations from here. Once I have a really good grasp on a number of regions, producers I like I will likely stick to those with a few curve-balls thrown in because one can never stop learning. That way I keep it fairly stress free and can learn over time. I don't drink nightly so I do have to remember that over purchasing can be a problem.

I am similar to yourself and others above who enjoy the entire process of wine searching, purchasing, checking tasting notes, consuming, and noting my personal tastes. The entire process is enjoyable to me.


Allen- I can say from an newbie's point of view Burgundy and Bordeaux can be very daunting places to start buying wine. French wine in general can seem confusing until you study a bit. A resource like the forums can be super helpful to at least have some place to start tasting. I feel like the people who really know these two areas often have a world of wine knowledge. It would be super interesting to have been a fan of those two areas throughout the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's as the popularity and prices elevated.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#43 Post by lleichtman » September 20th, 2020, 2:54 pm

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#44 Post by Howard Cooper » September 20th, 2020, 4:45 pm

G. Curd wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 12:12 pm

I am similar to yourself and others above who enjoy the entire process of wine searching, purchasing, checking tasting notes, consuming, and noting my personal tastes. The entire process is enjoyable to me.

My generation had some advantages when we were younger in that most of the world's great wines were affordable. Your generation has the advantage that there are a lot fewer famous names making horrible wines today. The enjoyment is the key thing.

One interesting thing I had when I was young and first came to DC is reconnecting with a good childhood friend that I had not seen since we both had gone to law school. We both had moved to DC and he had become very interested in wine. When I first got to DC, he and I would go to several stores on Saturday afternoons about once a month and taste whatever they had open. We also went to wine bars together sometimes after work - he was already married and after I was here a few months I met the person who would become my wife so the four of us started going to a certain wine bar in Georgetown that now has been gone a long time. All this was fun.

We are still friends and are part of the same winetasting group (mostly a Burg group although the group includes a number of German wine fanatics). We have gotten together monthly for years until Covid and frankly this is one of the things I miss most with Covid. Find or put together a wine tasting group if you can. You will learn more about wine that way than almost any other way.

Again, enjoy.
Howard

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#45 Post by GregT » September 20th, 2020, 5:40 pm

I just ended up buying faster than I was drinking and eventually needed somewhere to put it so I bought a wine fridge. Then I built a cellar for the overflow. Then I got offsite storage.

I couldn't care less about verticals, joined three or four CA lists and never bought anything from them, and just kept expanding my "favorite" areas. I'm not worried that one day my palate might suddenly change. I now have some wines that I've bought decades ago and while I may wish I had more of them, what would I ever do with them?

To me the most boring thing would be to know that I had a few thousand bottles of a small handful of producers and I would be sentenced to drinking only those for the rest of my life. We drink wine every night and this summer we've been happy with lots of Italian whites, which is something I didn't know and still don't know much about.

Everything about my collection is haphazard. I never planned to "build" a collection and don't understand that kind of thinking. It just sort of happened. So I guess it's a "natural" wine collection.
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#46 Post by Alex Valdes » September 20th, 2020, 7:21 pm

One large influence I haven’t seen mentioned: attend auctions if you can.

Prior to auctions, I drank mostly in the bubble of my friends and family. I learned from those around me but my exposure was limited. This drove a lot of my initial purchases (CA lists, relatively large purchases of few producers because that’s what I knew). I was invited to an auction by a friend and two things happened: 1) I learned about non-American wine beyond first growth Bordeaux and 2) I met lots of people. This, in turn, led to dinners and tastings which expanded my horizons and shaped both my tastes and buying habits. Instead of being racked with fomo about missing the latest release or impatience from wanting to drink wine now, auctions gave me a broader perspective across time and producers.

With most things, it is advantageous to take an explore then exploit approach. The trick with wine is finding how to efficiently explore. Offlines (as mentioned above) are excellent. Live auctions are as well.

Now, my general approach is buy on release for my kids and at auction for myself. I only belong to a couple of lists and I don’t listen to critics like I used to.

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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#47 Post by Otto Forsberg » September 20th, 2020, 11:11 pm

GregT wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 5:40 pm
Everything about my collection is haphazard. I never planned to "build" a collection and don't understand that kind of thinking. It just sort of happened. So I guess it's a "natural" wine collection.
Sounds exactly like my process! [cheers.gif]

Nathan Smyth
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#48 Post by Nathan Smyth » September 21st, 2020, 12:33 am

The monolithic ubiquity of boomer myopia - the utter & complete absence of both introspection & extrospection - has to be the most profoundly boring & predictable sociological phenomenon of this era.

The millennials are largely insane, but the various sociological cancers which cause so much of their despair went malignant decades before they were born.

The boomers, though, the boomers don't have any such excuse.

Muh free tuition at Cal-Berkeley for the Summer of Love.

Muh $1.95 bottle of Inglenook/Napanook/Martin-Ray.

SMDHing.

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Victor Hong
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#49 Post by Victor Hong » September 21st, 2020, 4:39 am

GregT wrote:
September 20th, 2020, 5:40 pm
I just ended up buying faster than I was drinking and eventually needed somewhere to put it so I bought a wine fridge. Then I built a cellar for the overflow. Then I got offsite storage.

I couldn't care less about verticals, joined three or four CA lists and never bought anything from them, and just kept expanding my "favorite" areas. I'm not worried that one day my palate might suddenly change. I now have some wines that I've bought decades ago and while I may wish I had more of them, what would I ever do with them?

To me the most boring thing would be to know that I had a few thousand bottles of a small handful of producers and I would be sentenced to drinking only those for the rest of my life. We drink wine every night and this summer we've been happy with lots of Italian whites, which is something I didn't know and still don't know much about.

Everything about my collection is haphazard. I never planned to "build" a collection and don't understand that kind of thinking. It just sort of happened. So I guess it's a "natural" wine collection.
Definition of "Vertical": how the business suckers collectors to buy off vintages, and overpay meanwhile.
WineHunter.

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Jim Stewart
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Re: How did you start your wine collection/cellar?

#50 Post by Jim Stewart » September 21st, 2020, 4:40 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:25 pm
I wonder how many of us that have been at this a long time have really gotten it right. Seems like a never-ending, but absolutely enjoyable, pursuit. .... Still trying to figure it all out.
Well put! BTW, just like life itself. Cheers.
Age merely shows what children we remain.
-Goethe

But I've just noticed that my mind is asleep.
-Rimbaud

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