That’s a question I often get asked. Half the fun of having a wine cellar is the exploration into the world of wine!
My secrets to stocking a wine cellar
Sounds simple, but many people I advise just want to: “do it now.” Slow down. Stop and smell the rosé.
Go to wine tastings
Take good notes while you are there. There is nothing worse than tasting something you really like but can’t remember what it was. Pictures will help as well. You can read more tips in my article, How to Survive a Mega-Tasting.
Find a shop
Another no-brainer, but that relationship will be beneficial over time. They will get to know your preferences and will be able to introduce you to new things! Plus, they may call you before anyone else for that special bottle you and everyone else are looking for!
Now for the cellar layout
Regardless of the size of your cellar, I break it out into sections.
About 50% should be your daily drinkers.
Tuesday wines. These are in whatever price point you are comfortable with. Could be $15 or $200, your choice.
The next 30% will be weekend wines.
Nicer bottles and a little step up in price and quality. This will be a nice treat to finish off the week to relax and enjoy.
The next 10% are the special occasion wines.
The special bottles for birthdays, anniversaries, 21st birthdays and such.
The last 10% are the “you will thank me later” bottles.
These are the rare ones that need time in the cellar. Think of a killer Barolo or Bordeaux that need 10-20 years in the cellar. You squirrel those away and forget about them, until one day you are going through and “find” them.
Organized helps avoid disasters
All your daily drinkers should be easily accessible to you. Keep those on the lower level of the cellar. The higher you go, the more expensive it gets. I also recommend getting a pack of multicolored, round labels to put on the very top of the bottles. Just use the stop light color code.
Go for it!
Ask me first!
That will help prevent the “Bunko Disaster” that happens to every wine collector at least once! The Avery color coding labels can be purchased at most office supply stores.
Adam Arlen: “I am passionate about wine because it is history in a bottle.” He is the sommelier for The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, NC. Originally from Allentown, PA, he believes you should always branch out and find new things. His goal is to never stop learning and continuing to grow both personally and professionally. A fun fact about him: “I was a nuclear engineer on a submarine in a previous life.”