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How Much Wine is Enough?

I suppose what is missing from the analysis people are providing is how much is held in drinking now vs to be aged categories.

The simple math is take annual/quarterly consumption and multiply it by average age of wine drunk. The younger the wine, the less inventory one probably needs to carry (e.g. young wine can be found more easily).

For myself, I’ve directionally thought about it like this given we have a strong preference for reds (although Riesling and sticky’s wouldn’t be far off this profile):

Really simplistically, if you’re looking to drink 12 bottles of aged Barolo, Bordeaux, Rhone and Burgundy, then you probably want to cellar for a decade. This implies “only” drinking just shy of a bottle per week from this category… which in our household is probably on the light side and could easily be doubled.

If you say you want to age this a minimum of 10 years, then you’re already at 480 bottles.

In our household, I’d argue that the drinking age could be increased by 50% to 5 years and the quantity doubled.

So that gets our house to 1,440 bottles straight off the bat (bearing in mind this will be built up over 15 years however).

BUT… this implies that we don’t have anything else to drink until that starts to be drunk… in our case at 15 years.

If I stick with 2 bottles per week, let’s say in this next category, with an average age of 5 years, then that gets me to another 520 bottles which would be cycled 3 times whilst waiting for the older vintages to mature. so we’re at 520 bottles.

Ok, so then lets say we then bring in cellar defenders which I assume we refresh every quarter - we drink 4 bottles per week and so that gets you to 52 bottles.

So I am at:

  • Aged classics: 1440 bottles
  • 5 year greats: 520 bottles
  • Easy drinkers: 52 bottles.

So a base cellar of 2012 bottles (which would reduce as the older vintages mature and become a bigger share of weekly drinking)

I then need to think about:

  • Port (assume 1 bottles per quarter with an average age of 20 years): 80 bottles.
  • Champagne: (assume 1 bottles per quarter with an average age of 5 years): 20 bottles.
  • Special occasions: (assume 12 bottles per event, held every 2 years with an average age of 10 years): 60 bottles.

So 160 bottles for specials.

Bringing this together, in our household can justify a cellar of about 2,200 bottles.

Again, this is based on drinking about 4 bottles per week. If I again do that rough math; if I’m talking 4 bottles per week at an average age of 9 years then that gets you to 1,872 bottles. Add on the 160 specials then you’re at just over 2,000 again so feels about right +/- 100 bottles!

The follow-on questions that then surface are:

  1. Is 4 bottles a week the right number? (we did about 4.3pw last year).
  2. What is the average price of those bottles?
  3. What are storage costs?
  4. How do you manage this cellar as tastes/circumstances change?

Yes I did a similar math many years ago and came to a similar scary conclusion, and my (shared) consumption is and has always been around the 3-4 botts per week mark; at the the time the trajectory of accumulation vs consumption was pretty steep so I made a rule not to buy any wine unless there were gaps to accommodate them in the three official designated locations (pantry wine rack, wine fridge or the under-stairs cupboard in France) - this ensures a steady state at least, and less of a chore for those who have to deal with my will when I eventually snuff it. (No kids., you see…) And I have always avoided paid-for third party storage facilities as I think that’s just daft.

A bonus purpose this serves is to ensure that any prospective purchase is merited and not for the sake of it - my bottles have to earn the right to be stashed !!


Seems to be going the other way in my experience; once I would have considered guys to be totally gender neutral, but not any more.

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If I may just wade in, I had a female friend at school, nearly 30 years ago now, who referred to everyone (regardless of gender) as guys way back then.

Indeed, I would say colloquially I’ve heard it numerous times in a workplace setting for the last twenty. I don’t think it’s such an issue. Certainly, language changes, but this is in no way anything like a new phenomenon.

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Of course it is used, but that doesn’t mean that all of us have to like it. I don’t like it, for any gender, just as I don’t like kids (except for goats).

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Such wise advice. FOMO is a virus which seems fairly endemic in this community. I am certainly a carrier. I say this having, in the last ten minutes, put in an order I scarcely need because I saw the Domaine Coche-Bizouard Bourgogne Chardonnay 2018 make a rare, possibly short-lived appearance on the list and panicked!

Not that an impulse buy is always bad: actually quite keen to try this wine, as I’m often tempted by it EP, it’s the six other bottles I bought on the ‘might as well whilst I’m at it’ basis that are harder to justify. :slightly_smiling_face:


Only 1156 bottles showing as left!


Loving this thread, I’m a family of one with a cellar of 200+ bottles

Do I buy too much wine? Very hard to determine, what’s too much, even if I can’t drink everything I buy maybe I could pass it on to family to enjoy.

Will I drink all the wine I have? Definitely not, when I go, there will be a few bottles left over (but God knows I’ll do my best to leave as little as possible. I don’t want my special wines being drunk at my wake).

Do I have enough variety? Oh yes, I never buy the same wine twice, with the exception of buying a different vintage e.g. I have a Musar 2012 & 2016. There is such a variety of wines to choose from I believe in trying everything, some I like, some I don’t but the regret is the not knowing. I’m a firm believer of what @Inbar has already quoted.

Do I have enough wine for my lifetime? Hope not, how far will 200 bottles get me at 2-3 bottles a week. That’s less than 2 years, maybe I should stock up :grinning:


Ha! :upside_down_face:. That made me laugh. How do you know? Could make my future purchases considerably more orderly. Oh well, seven bottles of delicious wine on their way, not such a dreadful outcome :slightly_smiling_face:


They don’t really like us doing it but just put a ridiculously high amount of bottles in your basket and see how many it actually lets you add. Of course that doesn’t work with wines with a restricted number per member. Also remember to remove them from your basket afterwards! :crazy_face:


How much wine is enough? £21,831.00 of white burgundy would seem plenty :grinning: