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Wine Collecting for Beginners

It’s easy to fall in love with wine, but it can be tough to know where to start when it comes to becoming a bona fide wine collector. What do I start collecting first? Is there a good ‘starter’ wine? What storage situation do I need? These might be just a few of the questions on your mind. So, for today’s blog, we wanted to provide a little guidance on how to become a wine collector and how to start collecting wine like a true connoisseur.

Start Small

You don’t need a $1,000 bottle right off the bat (unless you want to). Wine collections often start locally, with nearby auctions or wine collector groups. Start with vintages you find interesting, developing your taste along the way. The more wine you experience, the more you’ll learn to appreciate the exceptional ones. Eventually, you’ll start looking for wines you believe are worth owning according to your expertly developed preferences.

Don’t Get Carried Away by Market Trends

Wine collecting is a kind of treasure hunt. Rare vintages, aged wines, wines that have a rich history—all can make certain wines incredibly valuable from a seller’s perspective. However, don’t let the market dictate what you collect. While there will naturally be bottles that rise in value and are worthy investments, don’t forget that wine is for enjoying. You want to collect wine because you like drinking it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Start Joining Wine Club Mailing Lists

Part of wine collecting is developing a network of sellers you trust and vineyards producing good vintages. The best way to establish that network (and stay updated on new releases!) is to join a wine club mailing list. For example, at Theorem, we have a mailing list for our collectors—giving them the first chance at buying every new release. If you’re looking to start collecting, we encourage you to join our mailing list!

Set a Budget for Storage & Insurance

Wines have tiered values based on their documented history and their vintage. The most famous “wine collecting” stories have bottles selling for a quarter of a million dollars (or more)! However, like with cars or artwork, most bottles will not be nearly that expensive—not even aged bottles.

What will be costly is the storage method and insurance (depending on the value).

If you have a cellar, then all you’ll need to do is make sure it’s insulated and at the proper humidity. If you don’t, then you can buy a wine fridge. These bottle fridges range from a capacity of 54 bottles to 160+ bottles. They also range in price from $400 to $1,200. The good news is you won’t need to buy all your storage upfront—you can purchase storage as your collection grows.

Buying insurance for your collection is relatively simple. A wine collection policy from a company like America Collectors Insurance could cover breakage, theft, natural disaster, and damage during shipment. Like any insurance policy, the premium will depend on the value of the goods you’re insuring.

Have a System to Save Purchase Documents

As wine collections grow, it’ll be more important to be able to pinpoint where you got a specific bottle, who sold it, and how they can be reached. The documented journey of wine is part of its history. The only way to preserve that history is by saving receipts, auction text, the seller’s contact info, and other relevant pieces of information. Make sure to catalog this information so you can connect it back to the right bottle. Like a famous researcher once said, a library is useless if you don’t have an index.

Use Documentation to Avoid Excessively Handling Your Wines

Documents about a wine’s history and origins are also helpful when you want to show off your collection. Dropping a card or a piece of paper on the ground during handling is no big deal. Dropping a bottle that you wanted to show off to a guest is devastating (and more than a little embarrassing). Let your wine rest. When you want to show off a particular bottle, default to using the documentation instead.

There you have it: a few tips to getting started on your wine collection journey. If there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s this: you are the expert of your taste. Half the fun of becoming a wine collector is having a perspective that’s entirely unique to you. And if you’re lucky, other people will agree that what you love is valuable.

Want to experience a wine’s history right at the source? Call Theorem Vineyards today to schedule a tour!