Wine Collecting – Not Just for the Rich and Famous

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

“Wine collecting”… the term itself could indeed sound a bit posh. Many probably hear that and envision an aristocrat resembling the Monopoly guy wearing a monocle and speaking of his fine wine collection in his South London accent. Well fast-forward that skewed perception and welcome to the 21st century. Nowadays, collecting wine can be seen as both a well endeavored cultural pastime for everyday wine drinkers and also a thriving business model for savvy investors. For example, ask someone who purchased allocations of Bordeaux 30 years ago what the price point of their wines were back then and what they are selling at now; we’re talking massive amounts of ROI on those wines. Okay fine, so that is best case scenario and will certainly not be the case with all wine. But at the end of the day, there is a highly justifiable reason why wine auction houses across the globe continue to flourish. Not particularly interested in purchasing wine for investment purposes? No problem. Collecting wine goes much further than gobbling up a bunch of them just to sell them via auction many years later. There are also more humble and personal benefits to purchasing wines by the dozen. What could these benefits be? Here’s just a taste of ‘em…

As we dive into this topic there is one key element to remember in all of this. Bar the mass-produced bulk wines that are made from grapes that came from who knows where, when it comes to the rest of the wine industry, each bottle that you hold in your hands is in fact a rare item. Unlike other beverages that are made consistently with the same ingredients and recipes year after year, wine is made from a fresh fruit that is exceedingly sensitive to different factors and fluctuates substantially from region to region and year to year. Safely stated, wine is not in never-ending supply. Realistically, with each wine and each vintage, there really are only a select amount of bottles floating around out there. So as far as buying them goes, the wines that you like are more than just limited in supply, they can be strait up difficult to acquire. This is one of the main reasons why the best wines in the industry are sold as en primeur, aka “wine futures”, and a great example being that wines from Bordeaux’s top estates are completely sold well before they even make it out of the barrel. Now once you’ve decided to purchase some wine, something you may notice if you choose to buy by the case is that cost wise it typically tends to work out a better price per bottle than if you bought a single bottle alone. True, doing that once is not going to move mountains in money savings, but if that becomes habit the money you save over the years will be more than just nickels and dimes. And as an additional bonus, the next time you have a last minute dinner party to attend or run out of time to buy a gift for a special occasion, you have your collection of wines to save the day. Now with all of these benefits, you mustn’t forget how vitally important it is to make sure you are storing them properly. By storing them in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, such as a wine refrigerator in your home or a wine storage facility such as the SF Wine Center, you’ll get to fruitfully experience the full range of progression that your wines evolve into. From their bright and sparky youth all the way to their sophisticated maturity, you get to be there along for the ride. So there you have it, collecting wine is not just a snooty hobby for the culturally elite; it’s something that all of us everyday wine drinkers will benefit from. But hey, if you really want to act out the part why not slap on a monocle and fake Franz Ferdinand mustache, you know, just for kicks.

-Julie Albin

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