Is wine cellar diversity all it is cracked up to be

We have had a lot of threads lately about wine cellar diversity among countries, regions, and even obscure grape varieties as if diversity is an end in itself. I will admit that when I was younger, I tried a lot of different types of wines. I have kept buying the ones I like and have stopped buying the ones I don’t like. I am not going to buy wines I don’t really like just to say I have a diverse cellar. No, I don’t just like a couple of producers and no I don’t just drink the same few wines over and over again, but I think to some extent over-diversity in a cellar purely for diversity’s stake or overly glorifying the drinking of obscure varieties is for most wine drinkers (certainly not all) a stage younger wine drinkers go through until they figure out what they like. Eventually, most people settle on a few types of wines as their primary regions and then several others as occasional wines and, while our favorites change from time to time as we try new things, the diversity reduces for most wine drinkers as one’s tastes mature.

So, now the diversity police can start criticizing me.

I have two reactions. First, while cellar diversity is not something that I inherently value, it is nice to have access to bottles that match my current mood and meal.

Second, a lot of my cellar diversity arises from buying way too many $30 bottles from Garagiste, which live in an offsite storage facility in a neighboring state. I’m guessing that I have about 30 cases that fall into that category, accumulated over the past 10 years, only some of which will be worth drinking when I finally get around to bringing them home.

I’ve only recently managed to overcome the fear of missing out (FOMO) that drove me to buy all of these bottles… and to stay on some mailing lists longer than I should have.

Nobody would ever advocate that. In fact, you’ve simply defined it in a way that already concludes it is a bad idea for the wrong reasons.

It would be like if someone made the counter argument by stating “Refusing to drink other great wines you would have enjoyed because you are closed minded and strident about only drinking Burgundy is a bad idea.” Well of course, if you put it that way.

To me, there is some value per se in diversifying your wine experience. Just in the same way there is with food — i find it more enjoyable and enriching to eat different dishes and styles and regional and ethnic foods over the course of the year than my few favorite things every day of the year. Same with movies, music, books and TV.

And it’s also nice to have a cellar where you can pick wines to match your mood, the food, your company, the weather, the season, the type of occasion, etc. If your cellar is “I like Napa cab the best so that’s all I have,” what about when you want to put something to sit by the pool on a hot afternoon, or when you order Thai food, or when your friends who don’t like cab come over?

But it’s up to each person. Going back to the food example, if you personally are happiest eating almost all your meals from one or two types of food, then that’s fine for you. Or if you really only want to listen to one or two types of music, you should just do that. If you’ve really thought it through and experimented and decided that’s what make you happiest, I would not try to persuade you otherwise.

I don’t think I’ve even read the other threads you’re referencing so I’m not sure if that responds to whatever people are saying in those or not. I’m just giving my personal outlook on it.


I would essentially agree that it makes sense to establish one’s tastes after a period of experimentation, but also add that the average quality of wine across diverse regions (and also the sheer quantity being produced, period - the two go hand in hand) is much higher than 40 years ago, when wine drinkers of your generation were establishing their taste. I have a hunch that the wines being made in Jura, the Loire, Friuli, Sicily, Greece, etc. are more different from their counterparts 40 years ago - for the better - than wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Piedmont and so forth. Certainly those have changed a lot too, but whereas global warming and improvements in wine making (or wine making philosophy) are transversal to the whole world, improvements in economic structure have a bigger impact in these once ‘lesser’ regions. An obscure grape variety which begins to benefit from proper vineyard work may no longer justify being obscure.

Bottom line, I think diversity pays off more today than it did before, but it doesn’t mean veteran wine consumers have to care about it. In fact I’m quite happy that there are markets I can move in without the fear of being priced out of them by too much demand.


With French wines over represented in my cellar I am quite happy with limited diversity. I do try to get out of my rut occasionally though, this year I have tried all the mencia/Bierzo I can get my hands on and the year before it was nero mascallese/Etna. Like some others I have decided fruit bombs from Australia, Argentina, and South Africa are not really for me so I am looking for wines that I wouldn’t get tired of during the second glass.

My cellar is about 70% burgundy, 25% champagne, and 5% everything else. I don’t have a problem finding wines I want to drink.

Cellar diversity is not a goal. It is simply a result. I purchase wines that I want, and over time the cellar grows and the diversity is what it is…simple as that. Having collected wine for about 28 years now, and having seen the evolution of others I know who appreciate and collect wine, I believe our tastes and interests expand as we gain experience and knowledge, and hence our cellar diversity expands.


That’s a straw man. No one has said that. Don’t begrudge people who thrive on variety the opportunity to express their enthusiasm for it.

Or not. I’m roughly your age and I find my tastes have widened with time. I began with Bordeaux, then Northern Rhone. Later came German riesling, Burgundy and Barolo and Barbaresco. A few years ago, I put away some Etna Rosso, and I recently loaded up on Cesanese di Piglio and Felsina Chianti. Drank a red Sancerre last night and wish I had more.

Red Sancerre? I think we need a note, but I think I might guess the producer.

Back to the OP, my “cellar” is probably similar to Howard’s cellar, more of a narrow focus, mostly French, and some producers with 50-100+ bottles.

I try everything I can.
I buy what I love.
Best, jim


The only reason I can see having diversity in the wine cellar for the sake of diversity is so that guests can drink something that may not align with your tastes.

That’s it!

Well some people only eat hamburgers when they go out to eat. There are many kinds of hamburgers: Burger King, McDonalds, Shake Shake, 5 Guys, In and Out, Sonic. So many kinds out there you could say you have a solid diet with such a vast array of hamburger meat without eating the same burger twice. I guess this is how Burgundy lovers think of their beloved pinot noir from the hallowed slopes.
Me? I kind of enjoy all things, a time and place for everything, maybe linguine one night and Peruvian chicken the next. Variety is the spice of life. But if you want to stick to your own kind, I get that: it’s complicated out there. champagne.gif

For me, the only rule of wine is to drink what you like. If you like diversity, drink widely. If you know exactly what you like, drink that. Not sure there’s too much more too it.

Couldn’t relate more! [cheers.gif]



That’s the key. Diverse, within the domain of wines that I like. (Yes I have some basic wines that I don’t dislike for those situations where others’ tastes dominate the selection)

I like having some diversity in what I have simply to have a variety options available. Doing the whole “look how diverse (or insert anything else here) my cellar is!” is a waste of time.

I put ‘trying new things’ in a different category outside of what I keep in my cellar.

My collection is very heavy CA dominant but a mix of Cabernet, Zin, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Merlot, Cab Franc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. I attribute that to trips to wine country where we can buy in bulk and ship the wine cheaply back down to SoCal. I’ve bought other regions when visiting for tastings overseas but I do a poor job of adding more after those visits.

I buy what I like and try to build a collection I can age and have my daily drinkers.

Much straw man.

I think it’s important to have tasting diversity in order to understand what you like. Cellar diversity isn’t a goal for most people. Some people like to explore constantly so cellar diversity might a goal for them. For most of us we probably had much more diversity when we started our cellars and saw that depth decline as we started buying more of what we want to drink regularly versus things we want to try.

And this is before we get to diversity meaning different things to different people.