Wednesday, December 24, 2008

10 Step Guide To Starting A Wine Collection

Wine is usually reserved for celebrations and special occasions by folks, to either compliment a meal, spend a romantic evening together with a significant other or commemorate an event. The idea of collecting wine is thought by many people to require becoming a connoisseur or oenophile. The trend is starting to catch on but many think it is still a very challenging task. Not so. Here are ten steps to collecting and maintaining your very own wine collection.

1. LOCATION: Locate a place to keep at least a case (twelve bottles) of wine on hand for a variety of occasions. There are wine closets and wine refrigerators available; a kitchen fridge may be a little too cold but if that is all that's available, then so be it.

2. ENVIRONMENT: The location chosen for storage should be cool and dark (no sunlight) as the temperature for keeping white wines is in the range of 45F to 60F; 50F to 60F for red wines.

3. EXPENSE: Wine is less expensive when bought in large quantity. Most stores that specialize in wine usually give a 10% discount if a case is purchased and normally allow for a mixture of wines rather than requiring you to buy just one label of wine. Variety is the spice of life you know.

4. AGE: Depending on the type of wine, some become better with years of age while others need to be consumed within a couple of months. This is a learning process and laying down wine for the long term is not a hard and fast rule. For instance, some viscous German desert wines or "Ice" wines such as a trochenbeerenauslese, are not drinkable until they are 100 to 140 years old, while the French beaujolais nouveau, always released the 3rd Thursday of November, should be consumed within six months of its bottling. A table wine is good to drink around the year its released, white ones are good for about two years, red ones for about five. Vintage wines can good from 10 to 20 years in storage.

5. STORAGE: Bottles should be stored horizontally, or "laid down" on their sides, so the wine is constantly in contact with the cork. This prevents the cork from breaking the seal by drying out and shrinking and in turn spoiling the wine.

6. REFERENCE: To prevent disturbing the bottle positions while in storage, identification tags should be put on the necks for easy reference and wines should be organized and kept together that are of the same vintage or classification.

7. USABILITY: If using a wine fridge, wines that are more often in demand should be nearer the storage door and special occasion wines, such as sparkling or champagne, should be stored deeper.

8. INVENTORY: It's a good idea to keep a listing of the wines you have currently to ensure you are ready for any social occasion, whether it be a party or a romantic evening.

9. SUPPLIER: Try to shop at the same place and get aquainted with the staff as it is a way to usually get the best wines for the lowest costs. Wine dealers are also a ready source of knowledge and will have substantial advice to offer if you make them aware that you are in earnest about learning how to collect wines.

10. FUN: As time goes by and you become more educated on the aspects of wine collecting, you will find it all that more enjoyable and intellectually stimulating learning about the various facts and history of wines in general. Here you can learn facts about grapes and grape stomping at the Grape Facts site.


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