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How Much Wine is Enough?

Based on the discussion going on I’m kicking off this topic which seems to attract loads of interest.
I ask myself these questions
Do I buy too much wine?
Will I drink all the wine I have?
Do I have enough variety?
Do I have enough wine for my lifetime?
Will my children drink wine?
What are the signs of overbuying wine?
I don’t have any definitive answers but we can all try to address them.


For me a lot of this is going to come down to an argument between volume (of which you can obviously have too much), vs breadth, depth and variety - of which I think might be almost impossible to ever have enough.

At the moment I don’t actually know exactly how much I have (an audit is required!), but it’s by no means ridiculous - I’d guess c. 250 bottles in total, so I think the answer is basically no to both.

However, within this, I probably do have too much of certain things (2017 Rhone for one), and definitely not enough of others such as decent Italian reds, fizz, port and interesting sherry for a start.

I’m off to do some counting…


Same here. It takes loads of time and effort and I never got around of attempting to know what I have

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I keep track of stocks fairly regularly. It has hovered at 500 bottles (+ or - 20ish) for a year or so now. I audit stocks a couple of times a year and it’s usually out by half a dozen or so, in both directions. Some decumulation is needed.
I probably have too much claret, possibly too much Rhone (is this possible though?) and not enough Italian. Perhaps more accurately, I probably need more lighter style reds - which doesn’t always mean lighter in alcohol.
Some drinking of reds is needed. With no more purchases. My EP days are if not over, then much more limited than in the past. Certainly for Bordeaux. I need to adopt a strategy of buying smaller quantities of more mature wine for drinking now as a ‘gap filler’. Just need to create some gaps first!


I’ve been thinking about this for a while too. It’s very subjective of course. But I would ask myself how I feel when I want to buy another wine, which can often be a low-level anxiety and unconscious (in a Freudian sense) desire to fulfil something within me that is missing. I often have others in mind when I want to buy a wine - so the unconscious desire is needing human interaction, using a physical object (in this case wine) as a kind of segue in the hope of getting it. Which is of course illogical when most of my friends/family don’t have the same level of interest.
I think the threshold is where it’s causing some kind of damage in some way, eg to your finances or health, which is where an interest starts perhaps to become an addiction; any kind of shopping can be addictive, but is generally more socially acceptable than, say, illicit drugs. I imagine most of us are fine with our wine buying, but I think it is worth taking notice if we are feeling concerned about it - our mind is perhaps trying to tell us something deeper. I know I’m doing some work trying to reconcile this for myself.

Interesting article here: https://www.sfcv.org/articles/feature/losing-yourself-music-confessions-classical-music-shopper


I suppose one of the questions to ask oneself is how do you consume wine and do you expect to?

My wife and I love to entertain and so it really wouldn’t be a challenge to work through 4-6 bottles in an evening, ignoring major parties etc.

I’m a strong believer in value to. This term can span the price ranges but by building a decently stocked cellar, I feel I have the ability to better control this whilst having access to great wines that would be a challenge/prohibitively expensive to source down the line. I’d hazard a guess that with storage costs included I’d say about 60-70% of the wines I hold are ~25% below market value, 10-20% are 30-40% below and then 10% are closer to 50%.

Entertaining and enjoying wine is something that Mrs B and myself value and as long as one doesn’t let it become an overly onerous financial burden on the family then I don’t see it as an issue to indulge.

As I’ve mentioned on other posts however, I would welcome the opportunity to sell small quantities of wine to other members at essentially cost (nil-gain, nil-loss) in order to trim the cellar when tastes and needs change.


… I would add that for me it’s also a case of shifting baselines. Even in the last couple of years this line has been on the move. What today seems a reasonable - even modest number - a few years ago would have seemed extravagant to me. It’s the thrill of the hunt with some bottles, for sure - but as they say in gambling - ‘When the fun stops, stop!’ I’ll wait till the fun stops, I guess. I am still but an infant in this game.


Wholeheartedly agree with this. I have a relatively small “cellar” of c.250 bottles. There is a degree of FOMO which contributes to my buying and I only buy EP that I have a chance of drinking sooner rather than later. Almost certainly not every bottle we have will be drunk by us.


I think if you ever reach the stage of thinking you have enough, you almost certainly have much too much!


I never buy enough but I spend far too much…


Would be great to see a poll of cellar size. Sounds like 250-500 bottles seems to be popping up amongst this small cohort.

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Well I have 550 in the house and another 70 yet to be delivered EP. And yes it’s too much :blush: and undoubtedly much motivated by FOMO! Sadly I do have the space for it which only makes it worse!


I have 120 in my euro cave in my study and a around 250 at TWS. I am 70 years old thats two bottles at weekends of good wines thats just under 4 years drinking. The rest of my weekday wines I do not store they are for everyday. Is that to much drinking I think no but my doctor may have another view. In the meantime lets enjoy what we like while we can.


You’ve only got 4 years on me! Mine is about 2/3 good wines and 1/3 everyday. Funnily enough it’s the everyday wines that are a problem; there so many of them that I like and repeat buy, but many of them don’t really have the legs for the long haul and suddenly I find I have too many of them. Though I am beginning to get this under control now!


I know what you mean the everyday ones I keep on buying. Example I bought a bottle of Ventoux Paul Jaboulet Aine 2020 liked it so much bought another six need I go on.


Stop! Now! That’s a really nice one and I haven’t bought one for a while… :crazy_face:

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How do you keep track of it all? I know many use Cellartracker. There’s all sorts of solutions out there. I use a simple but fairly old app that serves me very well. It’s nice to scroll though, with Gollum like thoughts. Particularly when there’s nothing on the box…


I keep all mine on a spreadsheet, which has become moderately sophisticated over the years; highlights all wines within 2 years of their closing window and all wines that have reached the middle of their window. Allows me to check how many bottles have windows ending in a particular year (73 closing in 2030 eek! - hopefully much less by the time I get close). And various other useful little queries and bits of info.



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Wine Log Cellar Book bought from wineware.