Being semi active on this forum for 6 months now or so.
I really noticed all the big bottles being tasted and bought (especially in the wine purchase topic)
Now I’m a 35 year old guy with a semi above average salary and i’m spending about 250/300 euro a month on wine.
Most of my friends think this already is quite a lot (even more wealthy/older friends / friends in the wine business).
I really enjoy it when I can buy a case of 80 euro bottles but it’s also something special wich i can certainly not do every moth (next to some regular 30/40ish bottles).
So does the majority here has crazy money to spend and am I just the exception or is my vision of the community a bit flawed?
Very interested on hearing your situation / opinion
In the spirit of the thread and in the interest of better wine buying practices, this is my wine situation, I’ll leave it to you to do the conversion: My wine budget is $10,000 a month and I try not to go over it. Ideally, that means I’m buying around 200 bottles a month but often it means fewer bottles as I have an eye for fanciness. I recently hired a wine consultant to assist in my purchasing as I felt like I was spending a lot of money at retail and even restaurants to find worthy, intact bottles for the cellar. Yes, I am guilty of buying wines unopened straight from restaurants. My goal is to keep my spending constant while bringing cost per bottle down overall on highly allocated wines, bring in the wines of better and better producers, and create an enviable cellar that grows with me over my (hopefully) very long life.
I’m also pretty new to “serious” wine and trying to make it work on a “modest” budget–in my case, $600/mo for wine and whiskey together. I’m just starting a cellar, so I’m trying to focus on cases of underpriced, age-worthy bottles; de Négoce is getting a lot of my money right now
To lay out a little more of the math:
I estimate that my household will drink ~100 bottles per year.
I have fixed storage capacity, so in the eventually steady state I should also be buying ~100/year, but right now I can do more as I “bootstrap” my cellar.
I have 300 bottles of cellar capacity.
That means I should buy ~300 “bottle-years” per year for the cellar and drink the same amount from the cellar.
For example, a wine that I plan to age for five years counts for five “bottle-years” per bottle going in.
In practice I’m not really keeping track of this; I just figure I’ll average about five years of aging, so it’s 60 bottles/year in and out
Judging by the second response, I’m guessing you will see a huge range in response to your question, but unless I am totally out of touch with reality, he is on the outer edge of what most folks on this board spend monthly. I’m also betting that folks that spend that kind of money are not averaging $50 per bottle, either. That’s a guess, but I sense it is a good one.
I do not think you are spending too much if you enjoy wine. Don’t let your friends deter you from this passion. You will undoubtedly build into it more as your income grows and your passion and breadth of wine experiences enhances. Would be easier to add more information to your question if we knew your wine drinking habits and the kinds of wines you like. For example, $300/mo could be a a lot if you prefer Beaujolais and only drink on weekends. It may not be much if you drink every night and prefer Burgs.
Also relevant is whether you have other competing hobbies. If you are a wine geek only, the spending is easier if you have competing passions. I spend a healthy amount on wine, but in past years have spent more on art and cycling.
I’m pretty happy with my monthly spendings tbh.
I can buy pretty much 90% of the wines i’m really interested in. A lot of good/cult producers from Germany, Loire, SA etc. (price range from 30 tot 90 euros)
Burgundy, top end Bordeaux/Napa/Rhone etc. are wines that are out of my reach but I really do enjoy it when I can taste or get my hands on a bottle.
It’s that sometimes I’m more or less amazed by the money spent by some users here when I take a look at the wine purchases.
Sake, I remember making sales calls, and going to new wine shops, and bringing a single gem home. I would scrape together money and feel so satisfied of the single bottle I got. Over time my budget def went up. But it took plenty of time. I know you mentioned many of us buying big bottles today, and that’s still true. Many of us also, have bottles and we bought five and 10 times below today’s market value and just appreciated immensely. I am of the belief that highly driven hobbyists, sometimes find ways to increase their income to enhance their hobby endeavor, if you will!
I haven’t yet done analytics on my average bottle cost but plan to do so in the near future so will update on that.
I collect rare burgundies and champagnes almost exclusively. I will try ballparking on the breakdown but will have the full data sheet in the coming weeks. My collection is about 60% white burg, 30% red burg, and 10% champagne with small amounts of loire, rhone, germany/austria, and a few other bottles from elsewhere. I think I’m close to 2k bottles but we will see once I have more of the breakdown. I started collecting two years ago after having caught the Burg bug - it is quite the demon!!
I’m definitely in a very privileged position and hope, at the very least, to spread the love as much as possible. I would invite anyone on this forum to look me up if ever they come to Washington, DC as I love talking wine and pulling interesting bottles for interesting people.
I would not get preoccupied by what people buy. Sounds like you know your “likes”. While I occasionally chase premiums and “culty” wines, my sweet-spot are the day-to-day drinkers that don’t break the bank. I love Chinon, Beaujolais, Bordeaux has great values, and Kabinetts are silly low price for the quality. Sounds like you buy some similar stuff. These wines mature beautifully and can make a very fine cellar. Heck, I wish at your age I had been maturing more of them, I was drinking them too fast!
While I love seeing what people buy in that “what did you buy today” thread, it doesn’t move me or give me envy when I see people buy stuff like DRC. It’s like looking at your neighbor’s Ferrari, cool but not for me. I like trucks.
Im in a similar position. 35, and my wine budget was supposed to be capped at about $300/mo. Ive blown past that the last couple of years. With family considerations coming up, that number will probably drop significantly for at least a couple of years.
I think it all depends on your financial situation. For us right now, $300/month isnt inconsequential, but its not crazy to indulge. If/when we have kids that will likely change.
Yes, children play a huge factor in the equation. I forgot to mention that I am 31. I won’t make an account of my spending as a percentage of income but I would say I sometimes get flack for it from my spouse but more often than not I’m good at keeping within my $10k/month budget.
Don’t worry about what others are spending. Spend what you can afford and don’t spend so much it hurts other aspects of your life.
Pay the most attention to getting the most bang for the buck in what you spend. Read Robert’s post carefully as to what he buys. Don’t make the mistake of thinking domestic wines are cheaper than European wines. There are values, overpriced wines and great wines for high prices in both places. There are great wines for $30-40 a bottle in virtually every wine region.
I drive a 17 year old car and have often justified my wine buying as spending what I might otherwise on a car payment. Doesn’t necessarily make great fiscal sense, but you have to find the lie that works for you.
Yea, the 30-40 range is my playground (with some outliers). German riesling, Loire chenin and cab franc, Rioja, Chianti Classico, and Oregon pinot are all winners at that price point. Oh, and half bottles of aged sauternes - cant forget those!
Mine lines up pretty well with this. I’m 35 I probably spend about $1,000/mo with a mix of ready to drink and short-to-mid term aging. 650 bottle storage and about 200 bottles a year consumption, many of which don’t make it to the racks (from store to table). My purchases are a lot of dN (I split the cases with 2-3 friends) and Berserker Day producers like Sabelli-Frisch, Briceland, and Franny Beck, plus some Beaujolais and entry level Burgundy like Pierre Guillemot.
Did Bordeaux EP for '19 (about $2.5k), but sat out '20 and '21 (with the exception of LCHB). I splurged on strong vintages of Brunello ('16) and Barolo ('16) for long term aging. I also have certain producers, like Le Chiuse, that I will sentimentally buy every year which stems from a memorable visit to the winery. I also go married in Tuscany, so we drink a lot of Chianti. Part of a few wine clubs: Sandland, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, and Bedrock.
Just had a kid, so I’m sure the spending will go down.
Fantastic thread, fascinating in so many ways, and some really unique responses - thank you, @Sake_Schoorl
With the help of CellarTracker, of course, I exported my purchases and did some calculations of my own, and found that I spend a lot less than I expected - about $10,000-$12,000/year, but going up each year (no surprise - though I’m drinking less, I’m spending more per bottle, for the most part - influence from from close circle of WB buddies has driven my price-per-bottle average up, no surprise.)
I’ve had other expensive hobbies in the past, notably club racing (cars) - I spent FAR more on that hobby than I do on wine, particularly now that I have the details on what I spend. Second homes, boats, any number of hobbies have a high annual spend, but isn’t that one of the main reasons why we all toil as we do? To enjoy the fruits of our labors? (whatever is leftover from spending on our children, of course, for those of us who have them)