No wine in my cellar is safe from getting its cork pulled

well, maybe the Salon…

I got in to collecting (hoarding) wine over 15 years ago. At that time, with both my wife and I finishing grad school and living off of peanuts, certain bottles were put aside for special occasions either due to their association with memorable years or because of their cost. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to amass a pretty good size cellar, and now the bottles once considered to be off limits except for special occasions now are starting to outnumber the possible special occasions.

So, now when I walk in to my cellar looking for something to drink I pull what I want rather than having some limits based on value, day of the week, associations with an event, etc. Of course there are still a few exceptions, but in general I’m just enjoying drinking my collection rather than worrying about whether a certain bottle should be opened on a Wednesday.

Curious on how others approach deciding whether to drink a bottle based on value or its association with a special occasion. Or if their opinions on what is fair game in their cellars has changed as their cellars have grown. I’m happy with my philosophy change so that I can just pull something on a weekday that makes me happy to drink.

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This is a great philosophy and I would love to be in the same situation one day. While it is fun to be organised, put constraints, and plan ahead, one shouldn’t forget to be free-spirited and spontaneous. Some of the best things in life come from just doing something without overthinking it [cheers.gif]

I’m generally fine with pulling anything that’s generally ready to drink depending on the situation. I probably won’t pull la tache on a Tuesday night but won’t entirely rule it out.

Lately, I’ve been using Cellartracker’s “Ready to Drink” report. If it’s on there, I am much more willing to open it. And I like that I can override CT’s suggested drinking window with my own dates, to keep certain wines from making an appearance.

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I’m currently in the long-overdue process of unearthing all my older purchases from my offsite storage (6+ years now). The journey is fascinating, and I am facing a ton of wine that needs to be drunk. It’s quite refreshing to just pull something, without concern, because the wines are ready now. Quite liberating!

John, I am essentially where you are. I have been buying/collecting for 15+ years. I have a bunch of great wine in my cellar (yes, I actually have a cellar now, instead of random places in my house and offsite storage). My problem is that my wife has moved more towards white wine, and I towards red. So, I usually end up pulling the worst bottle I have just because I don’t want to waste any wine in case I don’t drink it all or it doesn’t make it to the next night. (and yes, I have a Coravin, half bottles to transfer the wine, and a whole host of products to try to extent the life of the wine). But, it is a little liberating to not worry too much about what bottle to pull.

I’m one of the younger members on the board so my philosophy and depth of cellar is different than many here who have been collecting longer.

There are a lot of wines that I have that I think need to age so I don’t touch them. Not because I’m saving those for special occasions and more because I’m not too keen on opening wines that aren’t ready, those aren’t going to be as enjoyable wines for me. For the most part I store all of that st my offsite storage facility, which I think changes the dynamic a bit. But once a bottle arrives at my house and is put in one of the wine fridges, with very few exceptions (some wines for birthdays and stuff) all wines are all fair game to drink on any day of the week or month.

It is better to drink a bottle too early than never drink it at all. A friend with a fabulous cellar died suddenly at the age of 73. His generosity allowed me to taste 61 Mouton, 82 Cheval Blanc, 89 Haut Brion, and the only DRC that I’m likely to ever try. I think of him any time I find myself wondering whether tonight is a good night to open something expensive. The answer is almost always yes. The 2016 Mouton is safe, but only for a little while.

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I’d like to think I’m at that point - I certainly agree with it philosophically - but I know that there’s a bunch of wine in my cellar whose like I can’t replace or replicate. I used to be able to buy some high end Burgundy - not a lot, but some. To me, there’s nothing like aged great burgundy, and nothing I can afford now will match some what’s there now. I fear my days of drinking the greats are numbered, and so I feel protective of the limited stock I have left and try to space them out.

I get a great deal of pleasure out of the rest of the cellar, and I love the modest wines we drink most of the time. But it’s not the same thing.

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John Flanagan wrote:
So, now when I walk in to my cellar looking for something to drink I pull what I want rather than having some limits based on value, day of the week, associations with an event, etc. Of course there are still a few exceptions, but in general I’m just enjoying drinking my collection rather than worrying about whether a certain bottle should be opened on a Wednesday.

This is a great philosophy and we are getting closer to it, but not quite there yet. There are some bottles that have sentimental value that we are saving, but other than that we are opening whatever we feel like.


I think I learned in 2020 that wine is never ready. It’s meant to be drunk and the only drinking window that matters is the one that ends with the day you drink it.

Not to say I don’t have a stash of untouchables but I pretty much pull up the CT ready to drink and pop what I want these days.

I was in this mode last year after the pandemic started, and my surgery. A year later, and I am back to hesitating with great bottles. Need to break out of that.

If it is in its drinking window, it is fair game. When we have friends over for dinner, I tell them select anything they want. It has worked out well so far. Week days are not much different.

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question—do you have any $10,000-20000 bottles? What are the most expensive bottles in the cellar? You’d open those spur of the moment?

And the bottles that aren’t ready and you only have one—you’d open those?

And you’re having Indian food or tacos—you’d open a young Burgundy?

I am calling bullshit on opening any bottle any time.

I do believe the bottle is the occasion. I’ve posited that often. And I often open great bottles during the week. But many of us have many bottles that we would not just open anytime.

My quip about Salon was meant to address your first question. Yes, there are bottles in my cellar I won’t open on a Tuesday because of their value. But my point is that the value of a bottle is becoming less important. It’s all fermented grape juice and whether it cost $30 or $300 doesn’t really dictate the day of the week or occasion to open it. That’s what’s making my cellar more enjoyable. But, no, I don’t have $10k bottles. If I did, I wouldn’t open them. I’d sell them.

I rarely buy singles, so I have no problem finding out for myself if a wine is ready to drink. So yes I’d open a bottle early just to find out. On a Wednesday. Plenty of threads about young bottles being opened.

I drink water with my food. I enjoy my wine on its own.

You can call bullshit about opening any bottle any time (and I did open my post with an example of an exception that applies to me.), but the point of my post is that the number of bottles that are off limits because of some random criteria is shrinking and that’s liberating to me.

Is your ready the same as everyone else’s ready?


I am in a similar boat. Most of my collection is too young and anything that I plan to drink 2022 or later is at an offsite facility, besides the stuff I recently purchased. Hopefully 1 day I will be in that position though.

Are you going on or coming off of one of your dry fortnights?

I don’t have bottles anywhere near those values, but I think having the mentality that all or most bottles in your cellar are fair game is different from randomly or, dare I say, recklessly pulling out bottles.

It is one thing to be in the mood to open up whatever expensive/rare bottle in your cellar you are in the mood for. It’s another to do so without noting the circumstances you’re in currently: whether you have time to decant it, give it the time and attention it deserves, whether it pairs well with the food you’re eating, if any, etc.

For example, like Sarah noted, I don’t think I’d be in the mood to frequently open up some rare bottles in my cellar because I want to space out those experiences, but that doesn’t mean that I’m unwilling or hesitant to have them and open those bottles when the mood strikes.

For me much of my wine consumption selection comes down to whether or not I can give that particular wine the attention it deserves. Some wines are simple quaffers requiring little to no thought, others require more attention and planning around their consumption.

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