Buying wine is an investment.

That’s the number one asset that the rich know to invest in. Asset-based rather than equity-based investments, like buying stocks, can be compromised by market fluctuations. Investing in fine arts has major room for fluctuation in the physical properties of said artworks.

But investing in fine wines? Wineries have consistent quality because vintages can’t be rushed and wines are meant for aging. This makes fine wines a thorough investment that will only grow with time.

That means you should be thinking about starting your collection. But how do you begin a wine collection? What should you buy first? How can you expand your collection well?

Keep reading for everything you need to know about collecting wine!

Determine Your Collection Goals and Budget

When it comes to collecting wine, it is important to start by determining your collection goals and budget. Begin by asking yourself questions such as why you want to collect wine, what types of wine you want to collect, what bottles of wine you consider essential for a complete collection, and how much can you afford.

Based on these answers, you can decide on your own budget and set goals for what you want your collection to look like. Consider purchasing a wine storage rack and organizing your collection in categories to keep track of what you have and what you need to purchase. Be sure to spend time researching and learning different types of wines before making any big purchases. 

Develop a Tasting Palate and Wine Knowledge

Connoisseurs recommend tasting different types, from whites and reds to rosés. Learning about wine by attending tastings and classes is a great way to get started. Understanding the nose, body, color, and taste of a type of wine is a skill that is acquired with time. Furthermore, to heighten your knowledge about wine, it’s important for experts to connect with other knowledgeable individuals.

You can also consult books or online sources to help you better develop your palate and understand different types of grapes, producers, wine regions, and characteristics. As your palate and knowledge develop, you can start to purchase and collect wines that personalize your own adventure.

Explore Different Wine Regions and Varietals

Travel to wine country and visit the wineries and vineyards. Take your time to sample and experience different wines from around the world.

Get to know the people that produce the wines, learn about their winemaking styles, and taste the different varietals and blends. Talk to local retailers and become familiar with the different producers, wineries, and labels. But don’t forget to invest in a good wine cellar and the materials necessary for the proper cellaring of your collection. 

Consider Starting with a Wine Club Membership

Wine clubs can be a great way to get acquainted with different wine varieties and learn about the different types of wines available. You will be able to explore various bottles and regions on a smaller budget. With these memberships, you will receive bottles of wine on a regular basis, giving you a chance to try different wines from around the world and expand your palate.

You can also choose different levels of membership based on the number of bottles you want to receive. With a wine club membership, you will be able to receive and customize each shipment to your exact specifications.

Network with Other Wine Collectors and Professionals

One of the most important steps for a newcomer to the hobby is to network with other wine collectors and professionals. Doing so will provide helpful advice and information on storage, service, investment, and a variety of other topics relevant to serious and casual collectors alike.

Reaching out to local collector clubs, wine retailers, sommeliers, and other experts is critical to get started with the hobby. Doing so will help to develop personal relationships that often lead to mentoring and the trading of knowledge and access to unique, rare wines. 

Attend Wine Tastings and Events

Attending wine tastings and events is a fun and educational way to get started in collecting wine. Wine-tasting events occur at local wineries, wine bars, and specialty shops around the country. At these events, you can sample various wines and get the opportunity to talk to the winemakers who produce them.

Many wineries offer special tastings, pairing foods, and educational seminars to expand your knowledge of the grape and the winemaking process. You should also join a local wine club or purchase a wine subscription box to sample. The more you explore different styles and blends, the better your understanding of wine will become – and the more you’ll appreciate different types of bottles to collect.

Learn How to Properly Store Wine

Whilst collecting wine can be exciting and rewarding, it is important to know how to store it properly to ensure the best quality possible. Wine needs to be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and any vibrations. Consider investing in a wine refrigeration unit or wine storage cabinet, as this will maintain a more consistent temperature and humidity.

If you are unable to commit to a larger purchase, you may want to consider buying wine racks to store your wines. Wine racks will help store your wines horizontally so the cork stays moist.

If you plan on collecting rare or expensive wines, you will want to know how to keep wine fresh and invest in a system with temperature construction and humidity control. Wine collectors should also consider taking a wine storing course to help them properly store and care for their collections. 

Consider Investing in a Wine Refrigerator or Cellar

Proper storage is key when collecting wine, and a wine refrigerator or cellar will help keep your collection in the best condition. These special cooling systems allow you to replicate the kind of climate you’d find in professional cellars. Wine with the right temperature, humidity, and light exposure can have an improved aroma, bouquet, and aging potential.

These systems can also help you protect your investment by providing suitable, stable conditions to help wine maintain its maximum quality potential. Both simple and advanced systems can be installed and can alert you of any changes in temperature. A wine refrigerator or cellar may offer a greater variety of temperature settings for better control of your cellar’s environment, as well as ample room for future growth.

Keep Detailed Records of Your Collection

You should start by deciding what type of collector you want to be. Do you want to focus on a specific region or producer? An idea is to purchase bottles from different countries to increase your overall knowledge of the developing wine scene of the world. Build your cellar gradually, budgeting for one to two bottles per month.

Record the bottles you purchase; label, vintage, type, etc., so that you can track how each wine is developing over time. Consider attending a local event or two, such as a hobbyist tasting or a winemaker’s dinner, as these are a great way to become more knowledgeable. Finally, if you’re ever stumped on what bottle to buy, read the descriptions and reviews and strive to find the best value regardless of price. 

Be Mindful of the Wine’s Vintage

Knowing the origin of the wine is also essential. To get started, find a good wine resource. Be sure to check the Enology Society so you can research the winery, its process, and its wine history. Also, look for reputable wine guides and try to do some comparative tastings.

Before buying, ask questions and discuss with wine experts and sommeliers. When sampling, keep a log and take note of the grape varieties, vintage, and makers. Finally, invest in wines that are of excellent quality or that could become hard to find in the future.

Look for Limited-Edition Bottles and Rare Finds

Limited edition bottles are usually highly sought after and, due to their rarity, can potentially increase in value over time, making them ideal for the collector looking to make money off of their hobby. For example, if you come across a limited edition bottle of Champagne or Bordeaux, chances are they will always be worth a premium.

Additionally, some rare finds, such as those that are hand-crafted or produced in limited quantity, can also garner decent appreciation over time, thus making them valuable as both a display item as well as an investment. Furthermore, tracking down limited edition bottles and rare finds can be a fun, unique way to build your collection and show off your finds to fellow collectors, making them a great choice for your collection.

Invest in Quality Glassware and Decanters

A good glass will bring out the best in your wine, while a decanter will aerate and breathe life into it. Many glassware packages come with separate glasses for white and red wine, as well as those for bubbly. There are even stemless designs for on-the-go sipping.

High-quality decanters come in styles ranging from traditional and timeless to modern and eye-catching. Whether crystal or glass, walnut, or hand-blown, it is worth it to splurge on a classic, elegant container for your wine. 

Purchase Wine in Large Formats for Aging

One key tip to getting started is to purchase wine in large formats, such as magnums, double magnums, and three or five-liter sized bottles – these will allow the wine to age over a longer period of time than those in standard 750ml bottles, allowing the complexity and flavor of the wine to develop over time.

Large formats are typically more expensive, so they are a good option to invest in fine wines intended to be laid down for aging. Other items you should have on hand when beginning a wine collection include a bottle opener, thermometer, pH strips, and clear rubber stoppers for resealing the bottles in between tastes. 

Take Advantage of Auctions and Private Sales

Private Sales, in particular, tend to offer higher quality wines from big-named producers at discounted prices due to surplus stock. Auctions, on the other hand, are a great source of rare and vintage wines but may require a bit of research.

However, it could also potentially be a great way to find rare wines at a bargain, just be sure to do your research beforehand to make sure you know what you’re getting. Lastly, purchase with caution and make sure to double-check the provenance and condition of any bottles you buy, as these factors can heavily influence the value of a bottle of wine. 

Purchase Wine Directly from the Producer or Vineyard

Begin by purchasing wine directly from the producer or vineyard. These locations usually have good selections of wine, many of which are exclusive to them and impossible to find elsewhere. Shopping directly from the vineyard or winery allows you to speak directly with the producer and learn more about the wines they offer, as well as get the opportunity to sample their products.

With direct purchase, you can also get helpful advice on what to buy, as well as specific information about each wine that is not easily found on store shelves. 

Consider Joining a Wine Investment Fund

A wine investment fund is a way to purchase collections of wine without having to do all of the research, sourcing, and storage within your own residence. Fund managers are trained and knowledgeable about wine, so they can provide expert advice about the best wines to buy for long-term investments.

The select wines are stored in the fund’s climate-controlled environment, so you don’t have to worry about temperature or humidity levels. When you are ready to drink the wines, they can arrange for you to receive them, usually via an online retailer, ensuring safe and secure transport. 

Know When to Drink and When to Sell

To drink or sell can be a tricky decision, as different wines age differently and appreciate in different ways. Knowing when to drink is key to getting the most out of your wine collection. Generally, most wines should be consumed within five years of the vintage date. With proper storage and full maturity, some wines can actually last for decades, such as a good port or Madiera.

Knowing when to sell is also important for any serious collector. While there’s always a personal pleasure in drinking fine wine, its value should be balanced with its potential appreciation, as prices can vary significantly. To maximize profit, experts recommend understanding the subtleties of the market and waiting for the optimal time to sell. 

Collecting Wine: How to Get Started!

Collecting wine can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Through understanding the various types of wines, learning where to find reputable wines, and using an organized system for collecting your bottles, you just may find yourself with a wine collection you can be proud of. Try getting started today, and happy collecting!

Don’t stop getting smart about your vices. For more great info on collecting wine or other alcoholic beverages, check out the rest of our site.