Balanced Cellar?

Thank you

At some point you have to come to the realization that you are not actually going to drink everything you have and that while your cellar should reflect your own preferences it should also take into account other factors like ageability, shifting preferences, value, general popularity, etc.

Not sure I agree with that. If your tastes shift, sell the stuff you no longer like/love. If you’ve bought thousands of bottles and are not going to get to drinking them all, sell the stuff you like least and readjust, perhaps buying fewer bottles of things you really love (i.e. sell a case of Chateau X that you like but don’t love, buy 3 bottles of Domaine Y that you adore).

People should buy wine that they love. When starting out, they might now know love from infatuation, which is why they should sample widely both in types of wines and regions, but also in age. Maybe you love young Cali Cab… but don’t like it aged… etc. Once you know your palate but what you love. If that changes, sell or trade for what you’ve discovered you love more. Never let anyone else tell you that your cellar should contain X or Y for balance or because it has high resale value, etc.

Hmmmm. . . I dunno if a cellar has to be balanced one way or the other (assuming you’re taking about regions of wine and producers). I think it just depends on what each individuals like . . .Could be 50% Bordeaux, 50% Burgundy . . . could be 100% Champagne. And as your palate changes throughout the years, then your buying habits would change as well.

If you’re taking about “ages” of wines . . . I think that obviously depends on your age. If you’re 25, you’ll probably have much younger wines than someone whose 65. What’s the point of buying futures at age 65? But perhaps, there are those who like really young wines.

Basically, personal preference . . . nothing else matters. This isn’t asset allocation you know . . . haha [wink.gif]

I don’t like all wines equally, so I don’t care about balance. Would love it if all I had was well aged Burgundy and Champagne.


Not sure if this is a 100% safe approach. What if someone buys wines that aren’t particularly well known primarily based on personal preference? There are tons of small producers on the west coast like this, and you could easily fill up a cellar. Even if these are high quality wines that can age, there’s a fairly small subset of regions and producers that seem to hold their value or appreciate. If you aren’t buying those, then chances are you will be lucky to break even considering all the costs associated with aging then selling. I guess the implication then is you need to be wary of scores and reputation if you care about re-sale. Usually collectors have this in mind, but not always.

+1000. Buy the wines you like and cellar them. I enjoy Bordeaux, but I don’t buy them to cellar. I know a guy with a 500 bottle cellar- all Washington. Those are the wines he loves and it is where he spends his $$. I’ve never heard him once mention that he wished for a different balance in his cellar.

Sure, you might have a hard time reselling small Cali producers or all that Aglianico etc. You might need to sell them at a loss or post them here vs selling at auction. I was merely trying to capture the idea that if your taste preference change and you don’t really care for X, there’s no harm in selling it off and rebalancing your cellar.

Obviously if we’re talking about a few cases, it might be better to drink them… A friend of mine did this kind of thing - he was on all the hot Cali lists in the 90s, decided he loved Barolo and Barbaresco much more than those so sold off the Cali stuff and use the proceeds to buy Piedmontese wines.

My cellar is quite well balanced. 90% Burgundy :slight_smile:

9 out of 10 wines I want to drink come from there, so…

I guess this is what I’m getting at. Folks could save themselves some hassle if instead of rushing to fill up their cellar with highly allocated wines, they explored their preferences a bit first. It’s the difference between deciding “I want to drink wine, I’ll go out and buy a whole lot” and “I’d like to learn about wine, I’ll try some then buy what I like.” Though I guess if you invest wisely, you can catch the next wave of impulse collectors, dump the cults as the new collectors will think “aged wine=better” which may not necessarily be the case, then reinvest profits. It just seems like it may take a while to re-inflate the insane bubble for expensive wines with no track records.

Follow this simple test: how many times a year do you look in the cellar and say “damn, I have nothing I want to drink.” If it’s more than you can count on the fingers of one hand then you need to rebalance the cellar. There will always be a few times you want something unusual - don’t let that drive your plan.

I probably don’t have much balance in my cellar, but I think your cellar should reflect first what you like to drink, and how you like to drink it.

What I mean by that latter part, since wine in my house is almost always enjoyed with a meal, our cellar reflects pairings with the kinds of food we eat. For example, my wife and I don’t eat red meat, and as a result our cellar is light on Cab. We’ve been eating more salmon in the past few years, and this has caused us to allocate more space to Pinot. We’re not big white wine drinkers, but always have a selection of Gewurz & Riesling around since it goes so well with Indian & Thai food we frequently get carry-out. This dictates the balance of our cellar, and that’s fine with me.

I’ve never really thought of building a cellar around food pairings, but I do like the idea. I guess I’ve been focusing more on the wines I enjoy drinking, trying to keep a balanced mix of wines ready to drink soon, and wines that will be better with some additional time, but haven’t factored in the frequency with which I reach for a specific bottle based on the food on the table that day…

A balanced cellar should be filled with wines you like to drink in price ranges you can afford. Buy the wines that give you the most pleasure that you want to open and share. You will never look back and you’ll be thrilled with what you own.

Thank you for all of the thoughtful responses. [cheers.gif]

The OP begs the question: balanced for what purpose?

Typically, the wines in my “cellar” are wines that are intended for medium- to long-term aging. That scheme substantially skews my cellar.

However, I don’t need to have a “perfectly balanced” cellar, because I can always go to local wine stores and buy something that’s ready to drink right now if I need it. If I find something that is just a killer every day wine ready to drink on release, I can buy a few bottles. But I certainly wouldn’t cellar a lot of daily drinkers that should be drunk in the first year or two.


Ah, I see. And agree with you as you can see from my first reply. In the case of my friend, he did what a lot of us do… got into wine, found some he loved, collected those. Got on some lists, found the wines changing and his tastes changing. In other words he didnt really get on the lists because of scores, but because he liked Cali Cab.

No matter how much you explore your preferences there comes a point where you decide to buy wine to lay down. What I’m saying is that you might still change your preferences… it’s an ongoing thing, not a one time event and there’s no shame in deciding to REbalance one’s cellar.

Balanced for whom? IF you do a lot of entertaining and dinners I think you need a more balanced cellar to match food choices. IF it is just about your palate then drink what you like. About 20 pct of my cellar is other stuff - a few whites, some different reds. Things that I usually crack when trying to put together a wine pairing meal. Rest of the time Bords and Cali. My Bords are still on the young side with most of my purchases from 00,01,03,05. Also went big on 08. In about 10 yrs I will feel pretty good about their drinkability.

factors like ageability, shifting preferences, value, general popularity

You don’t know your shifting preferences ahead of time (if I did I wouldn’t have so much Cabernet). Not sure how value fits in as you buy what you like and can afford at the time, I think. I haven’t given a crap about popularity since high school. LOL

Biggest issues for me are: 1) Having too much wine. I’ve been around 700-800+ bottles where probably 350 would be fine. 2) As you said, not knowing what you’ll like a few years from now. But now that I’m not buying as much Cab and instead buying more short-term drinkers like Pinot and Syrah (and still buying about the same amount of Zin) that’s not a problem.

My balanced cellar consists of 80% wines that I love, and 20% wines to have on hand in any case.

I am very much like Robert but maybe even more focused. I’d be ok if all I had was three Volnay producers and a handful of Oregon producers. A little Barbaresco and Chablis would be a bonus.