Starting a family cellar

Do you plan to start a family cellar?

  • No
  • May be
  • Yes
  • I inherited a cellar and plan to continue.
  • I inherited a cellar and plan to drink up.

0 voters

Todd’s wine plans for 2012 caused me to start this poll. Most of us weren’t fortunately enough to inherit a cellar. I happened to love very old wines a la Bern’s steakhouse and thinking about starting, ie continue buying, a family cellar as I have two sons, three and one, who seem to love sour taste. I have seen a number of cases where the children liquidate the parent’s cellar so I am aware that it may not last. I currently have enough wine to last my lifetime so I am just curious as how other wines feel about the issue.


I don’t have kids, but my first thought would be that it’s a lot of money to tie up in perishable asset if the kids aren’t interested. Had I kids, I’d build a cellar and if they weren’t interested by time they were 30 or so I’d sell what I didn’t anticipate drinking in my lifetime.

What would you have in that cellar, ie 30+ years of cellaring?

WEll, I started collecting seriously in my mid-30s. If I bought and cellared wine for 30 years and backfilled etc along the way as I discovered what I liked, I’d have a significant amount of 20+ year old wine by time I’m in my 60s. By that time, the kids would be into wine or not I’d bet (assuming I’d had kids in my 30s too).

I’d have Burgs. I’d have some N Rhones. I’d have Piedmontese wines. Why? Because that’s what I love. I wouldn’t have bought specifically to give the kids the proverbial well-rounded cellar. For example, I’d not have Bordeaux. Why not? Doesn’t turn my crank. Would be a better bet to be salable and probablly outlast me, but… eh.

Basically, I’d build a cellar that contained things I love to drink. If the kids loved it, yay. If not, eh.

I have adult kids and they enjoy wine…the cellar is part of what they’ll inherit.


Good thought provoking question. I am a new father and have been thinking about this more of late. I hope my son appreciates wine. I plan on starting him early on the appreciation of wine and food and the social communion associated with them. I too have more than I will likely ever drink (unless I really amp it up during retirement when it comes). I don’t think I will stop buying anytime soon, in spite of a needed 12 step purchasing intervention, so it may become an inevitability that a family cellar will develop. I hope the head start he get leads him to appreciate the aged wines he can try.

When I started drinking wine, even the best of their genre’s were pretty affordable, and even 15 years ago, you could splurge for the greatest wines in the world on a human salary. That time is long past, and I am sad about that for him. That said, there are great world class wines still beign made for a relative song, but the icons of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and soon Piedmont I fear will be beyond the price of mere mortals. I would like for him to at least see what magic can be had, even if it only for a reference point. Hopefully, what I leave him will allow him a special treat now and again, but I will never fault him if he decides a mortgage or his child’s education is more important than a bottle of wine.

No. I have a few cases for my 12 & 10 yr olds for some point in the future, but no plans to expand on the current supply.
They have zero interest in tasting or even sniffing much right now, so assuming they grow-up to enjoy wine to any significant degree they can start their own money pit. So many more worthwhile things for me to spend on them for their future.
Now, If I were a wealthy Duke or Baron - well giddy up.

I am the happy purchaser of someone else’s family cellar that no one inherited. My benefactor provided me (when he moved from DC to FLA and left his wine collection behind) with a bunch of wines mostly from the 60s and 70s from stuff he obviously liked, mostly Bordeaux with a little Rhone and Burgundy, some better years and some off years, some bottles delicious and some dead. I am almost certain that when he bought his 67s (say) that he had no plan to pass them off 40 years later but those are the bottles he never got around to drinking. I did not have the pleasure of meeting him (nor drinking with him) as Kevin will have with his children but it’s been a series of fascinating discoveries.

With that in mind I think Kevin’s heirs would appreciate some of the wines that he loved and perhaps some of the wines that they shared on important or just memorable occasions. But there is something magical about older bottles even when they are not great and I would hope your sons appreciate your efforts on their behalf.

I am in complete agreement.

As I stated in Todd’s 2012 plan thread, I’m planning to pass the cellar along. If a reason presents itself to make that impractical, I will likely look for options to help ensure that the wine ends up getting enjoyed to its fullest. I’m doing what I can to make sure I don’t have to go that route. I’m also preparing to be at peace with the fact that I will relinquish control to the next generation - it’s up to me to make sure I imprint my wishes upon him and give him the option to say no, thank you if he doesn’t want the burden. I will say that my devotion to the next generation does not extend far enough to state that there are specific wines that I will absolutely pass along. Everything is available to drink or sell in my lifetime, should that be my choice.



wish you had posted this decades ago and convinced my dad to start a cellar.


I’m with you, Kevin (in thinking about starting a family cellar). Without getting too far ahead of the ball, once I have kids, I definitely plan to start a family cellar. In fact, one of the factors influencing my decision to liquidate the majority of my cellar a few years ago (beyond the primary issue of moving at least twice) was that most of my wine was either mature or would be mature within 10-15 years. With close to 10k bottles, there was no way I would drink it all. It’s possible I will assemble a cellar on that scale again in the future, but only if it’s a family cellar, with wines expected to hit maturity (or late maturity neener ) when my children or grandchildren can appreciate them.


  • Frank [cheers.gif]

+1 big time on that. Having said that, I’m hoping to drink the great majority of my stuff before I croak. My two youngest will share some with me, but I hope not to leave too much behind.

I hate to say it, but I’m spending too damn much on their education, so the ability to create a family cellar is low on the priority. Sounds like a great idea if I had the resources.

Kevin - I have birth year wines for each of the 3 kids (13, 10, 8) and I’d like to drink some with them. I am also on one or two burg allocations that I will purchase as long as I can because they are a solid deal and I know the kids would never be able to obtain them later.

I answered yes however becasue I anticipate that some wines may outlive me, and being an actuary, I realize that it will be impossible to plan to drink that very last bottle at my own last supper! I’d rather have some backup to make sure the cellar does not run dry, so by definition, there will be some left over to go to the kids. In other words, I am erring on the side of too much wine.


My 13 year old son asked last year “I will inherit the wine cellar when you die right Dad?” What a cheeky bastard!

He loves to taste wines and shows a strong interest. My 15 year old son shows not the slightest interest.

I have birth year wines for both of them (1996 and 1999) and lots more wine than I expect to drink in my life time. If the 15 year does not want to drink the 1996 Lafite and Latour then Dad is going to do it for him!


Brodie, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Be strong, Berserker!


Have already started one a number of years ago, including as much as I can of the best and most long-lived wines for the kids birth years (including VP’s and Stickies, and Magnums).

I completely agree with Alan’s sentiment but…

The 1960’s in New Zealand was a wine wasteland. If my Dad had started a wine cellar in the early 1960’s when I was a “wee bairn” then he would have been cellaring NZ Govt Dept of Agriculture experimental wines. These wines were made by civil servants to demonstrate that wine grapes could be grown in commercial quantities in traditional farming areas (i.e flat land with high fertility soils). By all accounts the wines were foul beyond any measure and made by chemists and such like without any wine making experience.

So Dad - thank you for not leaving me a wine cellar!