It is a well-known truth that most people consume wine within one or two days after purchase. Why store wine at all when you can buy it everywhere and at almost any time? Collecting can be regarded as an investment, and the process of selecting and searching for wines can become a source of additional pleasure and an interesting hobby. What are the differences and peculiarities of these different approaches to purchasing wine?

Liquid asset

Collecting for investment is not a trivial task, as buying wine requires the same level of knowledge and discipline as investing in any other asset. Proper guidance from a specialist is essential, as costly mistakes can be easily made. For example, the purchase should take place only from reliable sources, because it is known that wine is very easy to counterfeit. It is important to take into account the necessary conditions for its storage, the availability of purchase documents, and it is better to buy in original boxes that have not been opened. Only the effect of the whole box will give 20% in addition to the selling price! And, of course, the wine itself, in which you need to invest – the so-called blue chips. The best return on investment is a classic, which includes the top five Bordeaux (five farms classified as Premier Grand Cru Classé), Burgundy, Champagne, Rhone Valley, Piedmont and Super Tuscany.

The famous Hospices Civils De Beaune wine auction, where young Burgundy wines are bought

To whom and how to sell wine? In our country, the traditions of holding wine auctions have not yet been formed. Therefore, the easiest way is through online auctions (for example, or through familiar amateur collectors. If you like some kind of wine, buy three boxes, sell two and enjoy your wine.

Be prepared for the organizers of the auction to ask you questions and ask for documents on which the sale price at the auction will depend:

  • How did you get this wine? (Directly at a winery, in a store, at an auction, inherited or another option.)
  • How was this wine stored? (In a professional storage for wine, in an underground cellar, in a room where humidity and temperature were controlled by devices, wine straight from the winery.)
  • The appearance of the bottles is also important (the condition of the label, the cork and the level of the wine in the bottle).

All of the above may seem daunting, but a good relationship with a competent retailer, wine seller, and a desire to dive into the details yourself is a great start for a future collector.

Moving from investments to hobbies

What are the advantages of collecting wines, what features and opportunities does such a hobby offer? As you know, someone collects stamps, others – butterflies, teapots or figurines. Each wine also has its own history of origin, vintage and value, but the fundamental difference from most hobbies is that wine is meant to be enjoyed and shared with others. Agree, there are not so many worthwhile moments in life that can be compared with opening a bottle of aged and mature, say, Burgundy in the circle of family or friends. The easiest way to ensure you have enough wine that you are happy to drink any day is to start building your own collection.

Collecting is also an opportunity to celebrate wonderful events with special vintages that coincide with the year of an important event for you. For example, purchasing a wine from a child’s birth year or wedding anniversary will give a special feeling to the moment you decide to enjoy this wine on the occasion of the holiday. If you buy a box of the same wine, it will additionally allow you to watch the evolution of its taste as it matures. And, of course, like any exciting hobby, your interest in collecting wine will bring you new knowledge and acquaintances that will take your passion for this delicious drink to the next level.

Guide to action

The collection of wines is determined by the personality of its owner. Most collectors have a small selection of wine regions to focus on. In this sense, a collection of wines is not particularly different from a collection of paintings. Choose wines that have a specific appeal for you. Do not fall for fashions and trends – as you know, they are changeable. An interesting, unique collection has a certain sentimental value: place of purchase, people, emotions, events.

Taste wines from different regions, attend tastings, record and share your impressions. There has never been so much quality wine in the world and such widespread access as it is now. If you cannot find the wine you need from a local merchant, use the powerful resource, which has a convenient mobile application that allows you to find the desired drink, evaluate the quality and price level.

One of the most common mistakes when you start collecting is buying a lot of wine. I myself fell into a similar emotional trap, I wanted a lot of wine and immediately, like a serious collector. I created my portfolio on 80% of Piedmont and Bordeaux wines, and in real life 80% of the wine I consume is Burgundy and champagne.

Don’t make these mistakes – start small; see what you like; remember that your taste will evolve. There is nothing worse than having a lot of wine that you don’t feel like opening. My personal selection criterion is as follows – a wine that I always want to free from the cork.

There are several myths. First, wine collecting is only for the rich. I believe that this is a lifestyle or just a hobby, depending on how much of your time you want to invest, and it is available to everyone.

Secondly, you don’t need a large underground cellar. Thirdly, large investments are not required. The collection of wines does not have to be of high class, exclusive or inaccessible.

It happens that a collector is seized with passion, knocking out of the planned budget for the purchase of wine. To avoid this situation and save your wallet, decide in advance how much money you are willing to invest in creating and maintaining the collection.

Suppose, with an average cost of € 16 per bottle or € 96 per box, buying one box every month, you spend € 1,152 per year; at a price of 25 euros per bottle – 1,800 euros per year, and so on. A box a month is already a good goal, which will give you 72 bottles a year and the ability to drink one bottle of your favorite wine every five days. After determining the costs of wine, you need to determine the strategy for its consumption, based on your preferences and traditions.

For example, you have a glass of wine every dinner. It is easy to calculate that in this case it is exactly 72 bottles that will be needed for a year. Keep in mind: in order to stretch one bottle over five days and not lose the quality of the wine due to its interaction with oxygen, you cannot do without a special Coravin device. If you have special events or family gatherings throughout the year – say once a month – and on average you drink two bottles at the party, that’s another 24 bottles a year.

The goal should be to provide enough wine for your current consumption and foreseeable future.

Ask yourself a question: can I support this or that strategy, how does it compare to my budget? Depending on this, you can control the cost of the purchased wine and the number of events with its serving.

And, of course, it will be a shame if you have lovingly created a collection of wines that need storage, and it has become largely undrinkable due to being stored in a garage, on a cupboard, or under a staircase. There are amateurs who spend a lot of money on wine, but use bottles as decoration and do not bother to think about the correct preservation.

Important rules for storing wine

Storage plays a significant role in the quality of wine. Proper storage is no less important than the production of wine itself, since it directly affects the taste of the product and can overnight all the painstaking work of the winemaker. So, for example, the temperature should be constant throughout the year, approximately in the range of 10–15 ᴼС, and the humidity should be 65–80%. The wine does not tolerate temperature fluctuations, vibration, ultraviolet radiation and foreign odors.

Do not open old wine for at least 4-6 weeks if it was transported – you need to give it a rest after stress.

Size matters. Collect magnums – 1.5 liter bottles. The ideal combination of the amount of wine and air for the natural maturation of the wine. This size is more appreciated by specialists, but manufacturers produce it less often.

It is important to look at the cork when buying mature wine. If it went up or moved down, this is a signal of poor storage. Keep the cork damp, that is, the bottle should be stored horizontally.

Helpful Tips for Beginners

First of all, you need to determine what you like. Take a look at your lifestyle to determine which wines are right for you now, and the members of your wine companies and dinners.

Taste the wine before purchasing it. Find understanding vendors who offer tastings for the wine you are interested in.

The origin (appeal), the specific vineyard and the specific year are important when choosing. Good grape juice is the key to good wine.

If you want to invest, then buy whole boxes and keep them intact. Such a lot in the collection is always valued higher and allows you to enjoy aged wine not in a single copy.

Be aware that besides the classics, there are many regions with wines to enjoy at a value of 25 euros that can be stored for 15-20 years. When buying old wines, look at the level of the drink in the bottle. If there is too much air in the bottle, there is a risk that the wine is spoiled. According to the level, one can assume the quality of storage and the age of the wine.

If you decide to sell, then the best selling price will be 1–3 years before the peak of maturity of the wine, that is, until the moment when it shows its best condition. There are many different sources to help you figure this out. Use mobile applications Wine-searcher, Delectable, Vivino, professional magazines and blogs on the Web, which contains information about the quality, readiness of wines and their storage potential.

Create a balanced collection of red, white, champagne and dessert. Based on your culinary and taste preferences. Do not forget about the seasonality, and by summer it is worth stocking up on white, rosé wines, and by winter – more intense reds.

Consider whether it makes sense to collect wines that anyone can purchase at the nearest local store.

In conclusion, I would like to warn you that wine collecting is exciting – for those who once embarked on this path, there is no turning back. Often this process develops into fanaticism and can lead to the fact that one day, instead of a home collection of wine, you want to open your own restaurant, shop or wine trading company, and that’s another story … But for now, just have fun!