Starting a Wine Collection - Ten Steps to Successful StartsWhile most wine drinkers are happy to quaff their latest purchases with little thought to anything but pure enjoyment, others see wine as more of a collectable. Wine collectors come in a variety of guises – some are just out to stock their cellars with the finest wine on the planet, some buy red wine exclusively and others buy in bargain wines they might find by the case.

Then there are those with every intention of making a small fortune…eventually.

We all know wine can be a pricey commodity – you may remember reading about a pair of 170-year-old bottles of champagne being found on a shipwreck in 2011 and selling for over $78,000 each. These kinds of treasures are rare to say the least, but this doesn’t mean that anyone with the genuine desire to do so can’t make something big of what starts life as a humble wine collection.

And with online wine delivery services now covering the UK, it’s never been easier to get the world’s finest wines delivered to your door.

So if wine collecting sounds like something you’d like to have a go at, have a look at our top ten tips for getting off to a successful and enjoyable start:


1 – Be Sure You Can Afford It

It’s (very!) unlikely that you’re going to make any real money from your wine collection for quite some time, which in turn means you cannot bank on it for quick returns. As such, it’s never a good idea to pump a load of money into a wine collection and leave yourself unable to pay the mortgage, cover the utilities and generally live without something of a safety net.


2 – Document from Day One

It’s easy to keep track of your collection when you’re only five bottles into it – five hundred bottles is another matter entirely. So to make sure you know what’s what, use a spreadsheet or any specialist software program to note down the location, purchase price, purchase date and batch number of every bottle.


3 – Assess You Cellar

Old wine in particular needs to be handled with gloves and stored in a cellar with a temperature of around 55°F (12 - 13°C) and 75% relative humidity. If you’re unable to provide the ideal environment, you run the risk of ruining a fair few of the bottles you invest in…something to think long and hard about before taking delivery of several cases of wine. For those with this problem there are wine storage facilities available in the major cities that offer the perfect stable environment to protect your wine investment.


4 – What’s it Worth Today?

Be realistic – a bottle of £4.99 wine carrying the supermarket’s own brand isn’t going to appreciate in value much over the next few decades…chances are it won’t even be drinkable! If you’re collecting with future value in mind, make sure each bottle is actually worth saving in the first place! Do your research beforehand.


5 – Keep the Paperwork

You might get some documentation with any given bottle of wine you buy…keep it! From the purchase receipt to any certificate of authenticity and also the contact details of the place you bought it from, you never know when you might need to verify the provenance of a wine especially if you decide to sell at auction in the future.


6 – Appraise and Insure

Tell your insurance company after a fire that you had a wine collection worth £5,000 and they might offer their sympathies but little else. On the other hand if you have your wine collection appraised by a professional and added to your insurance premium you’re fully covered. One tip though – get it appraised regularly as you never know how much it may have increased in value since last time. Like all commodities wine is subject to sudden market movements.


7 – Softly, Softly

Resist the urge to prod, poke and generally play with your wine collection – old wines in particular do not react well to being messed around with. If you intend to drink a genuinely old wine, it needs to be left completely untouched for at least four to six weeks before being opened.


8 – How Much?

If you find yourself being offered the chance to buy wine with a value of £1,000 for a price of £100 do you honestly think it’s the real deal? It’s easy to get hold of really old wine bottles or wine labels these days and just fill them with cheap plonk to sell on as true rarities – be aware of this tactic at all times. Every few years there is a big story about wine fraud committed by unscrupulous sharks. With wine, as with life in general, if it sounds too good to be true then in all probability it isn't true.


9 – Size Isn’t everything

You’re so much better off having a dozen bottles of extreme quality than ten-dozen bottles that aren’t worth anything to anyone. As such, the best advice is to always try your best to resist the temptation to buy wine by the case to fill every single hole in your cellar, just to make it look pretty. You’re buying and keeping your wines to sell on or to enjoy – not to improve the appearance of your cellar…empty bottles will work well enough for that!


 10 – Buy for You and You Alone

And our final tip of the ten, it can be tempting to see what everyone else is buying at the time and just follow their example. This can work but there are no guarantees – you’re much better buying in terms of what YOU want and what YOU think represents the best investment opportunity. There’s a huge difference between collecting wines you want and collecting wines you think you should – the latter brings almost no joy or satisfaction whatsoever.