Next week I am very fortunate to have wine racks installed in an outbuilding for a 1500 bottle collection with climate control. I mainly drink full bodied red wines, and my wife only drinks dry and full bodied white wines. I am thinking of an 85%-15% red-white division. We each have a 200 bottle wine fridge as well. I would be grateful for any thoughts and tips about how to use this cellar, what pitfalls should I avoid, which mistakes have people learned from, how can I optimise the pleasure from this opportunity? I like to buy wines mainly in the £8-25 price bracket, but will buy wines up to £50 per bottle for special occasions. Anything more expensive is not for me. Looking forward to your responses!
I have a climate controlled wine room which can contain about 650 bottles. I also have the same red/white wine dynamic with my wife and my sweet spot for cost per bottle is mostly £15-£25 with the odd treat at £50-£60.
I use cellartracker (as do many on here) to keep track of what I have and it’s showing I hold 81.2% red wine; 17.7% white (of which 12.3% is dry and 5.4% is dessert wine) and 1.1% rose.
When you have that many bottles it takes some time to drink them so you are going to hold many bottles for many years and there are fewer white wines that will age well over many years. So I have a few bottles of white and rose that are for everyday drinking over the next couple of years and then a few cases of longer living white wines, good quality Bordeaux white wines and rieslings are very good for holding long term as well as dessert wines.
My red has been bought both by buying en primeur and with other cases that have come available over the last few years where they have appealed and most of my buying has been with TWS and one other merchant.
I have a mix of old world and new world but mostly old world 60% is French, 15% Italian, 9% Spanish and the rest new world.
There is a temptation when you have so many empty holes to fill to buy everything that is offered but I have learnt that it does pay to sit down and work out what wines you enjoy, what type of cellar you want to build in terms of regions etc and try and be methodical. Cellartracker is great for that.
I made a conscious effort a couple of years ago to expand the Italian wine I had and I haven’t bought any French wine en primeur for the last couple of years.
I personally find that buying cases of 6 bottles is perfect in most instances. 12 bottles is too many for me. It’s rare I want to have that many bottles of the same wine unless it’s for a particular purpose.
Also, depending upon how your cellar is configured, it’s good to have some wine in the OWC as visually they look great on shelves and break up the rows of bottles.
One of the downsides to building a cellar like this is that much of the wine you buy won’t be ready for drinking for some time so you have to be able to just enjoy looking at the bottles rather than drink them and ensure you get enough everyday drinking wine that you can enjoy now as you wait for the good stuff to age and improve.
That is a really helpful response, and it seems that our taste and approach match almost perfectly. I should have added that I intend to drink all the wines, they are not for investment.
I also have been buying EP mainly with TWS and with one nearby wine merchant. In addition, I bought some older wines at auction that are ready for drinking, for example a case of 2002 Angludet, of which now only 1 bottle remains unfortunately, because they turned out to be delicious!
Buying cases of 6 rather than 12 seems good advice, I now have mostly 6’s but also some 12 bottle cases, none of which have been touched yet. But your point about methodical planning is well received, and I will take up your advice to use Cellartracker.
My wines are also for drinking. Tbh if you are buying wine for investment then you are better off keeping them in bond. Firstly to avoid paying the tax but more importantly, keeping investment grade wine in a bonded warehouse will preserve the value as any buyer will have confidence they have been stored correctly which they cannot do if you have stored them yourself.