Tips for Starting a Wine Collection

Are  you considering starting a wine collection but just don't know how to get started? We found these great tips from seasoned oenophiles on starting your own wine collection in the fall edition of RL Magazine.

Avoid Newbie Mistakes

Paul Grieco, the general manager and wine "overlord" of New York City's Hearth Restaurant and Terroir wine bars, is not a man who is short on opinions. He suggests you develop some yourself. "The biggest mistake is people not figuring out why they are collecting and what they should be collecting," he says. Other common pitfalls, according to Grieco: Buying too many trophy wines, and forgetting that wine is for drinking. "Do not buy based on scores," he says. "This is not a beauty contest. You are buying an agricultural product."

Know Why you are Saving it for Later and not Drinking Today

The allure is to be able to just dash down to the cellar, like some nobleman at his country manor, and pick out something interesting for the evening's meal," says David Lynch, the coauthor of Vino Italiano and the wine director at Quince and Cotogna in San Francisco. Figure out what kind of collector you want to be, he says. "If you're a show-off, then collecting gives you a chance to show off. If you just love drinking wine, it basically reduces the number of times you have to settle for whatever you can find at the supermarket because you didn't think about what to drink with your steak tonight until too late."

Manage the Mix

Anthony Giglio, the prolific writer, lecturer, and demystifier of wine, is a bit of a collecting skeptic. "I figure, either I'll die or the wine will die," he says. "I'd rather commit what some critics deem infanticide and drink a young and vibrant wine while I'm sure we're both still sound." That said, he's got solid advice on how to balance a reasonably sized beginner collection: "I think that maintaining around three hundred bottles, or twenty-four cases, is a good place to start," he says. "I'd break it down this way: Six cases of collectible wines, the stuff the critics tell you to put away for ten to twenty years (but you're going to start trying them in five years to make sure they're developing, not dying!). Then twelve cases of Saturday night wine, the stuff you keep for yourself and someone special or for small dinner parties, if you're generous. And six cases for spontaneous grabbing."

Click here to read more tips about collecting wine.


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