Wine collection displayed in a traditional wine cellar
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Have a plan before you start collecting.

You don’t need to create a business plan to start a wine collection, but have some kind of idea what you want in a collection, and where you’re going to store it all. This is especially important if you plan on building a custom wine cellar in your home; you’ll need to communicate what kinds of wine you’ll be collecting and in what capacity to get the room you want. Here are a few questions to get you started:

1. Do you like reds, whites or both?
2. How many wines are you looking to collect?
3. Where are you storing these wines and will you need climate control for the storage space?
4. What kind of price range do you want to stay within?
5. Will you be drinking these wines fairly soon, or will you store them for years?

You don’t need to stick with a strict plan, and your plan may change over time, but have some kind of idea going in what you’re looking for so you’re not haphazardly buying up random wines with no rhyme or reason.

Get an idea for the kinds of wines you like.

This goes beyond “red or white?”. Get a handle on what your tastes are when it comes to wine. Remember, the only wines really worth collecting are ones you actually like to drink. To get an idea of your preferences, start with some general questions: sweet or tart? Fruity or dry? Bold or smooth? That’s not to say you can’t like both, but having an idea of your preference will start moving you in the right direction.

Wine Folly has a quick little guide to help with tastes as well, but the best way is to go to a few wine tastings and take note of what you like and don’t like.

Taste it before you buy it.

Winemakers are really good at creatively describing their wine. Some descriptions are absolutely stunning and seductive, but the only way you’re really going to know if you like the wine is to taste it.

You can taste a wine before you buy it at almost any winery, and most reputable wine stores will give you a taste before you buy a bottle. Don’t go by the label alone if you’re spending anything above a minimal amount for a wine. Taste it before you buy it; it’ll save you a lot of disappointment down the road.

Set a budget.

There is a reason most wineries have a tasting room: they want you to buy their wine. It’s a very good idea before you start collecting wine to have a budget; not just an overall budget of what it’ll cost to fill your wine room, but what you’re willing to spend per bottle. Don’t let someone talk you into spending more than you want to on a bottle that “you can only get at the winery”.

If your budget is $50 max, is $150 for a bottle really worth it for a “you can only get it here” bottle of wine? There are some types of wine that can be more expensive than others, but when you’re starting out, remember that there are plenty of great values in the $25 to $30 range.

Take a good look at wine storage.

You can have the most fantastic wine collection, but without a good quality wine cellar or wine room, you’re putting your collection at risk. This includes proper capacity, wine cellar climate control, security, etc.

If you need help creating a space for your wine collection, speak with a wine cellar specialist to help you decide what’s right for you. Even a smaller collection needs to be stored correctly, including the correct temperature. Having good wine storage will be critical for maintaining your wine collection you’ve worked so hard to build.

Creating a new wine collection can be thrilling as you discover new wines to add to your collection. Start with these 5 tips for starting and maintaining a wine collection to insure you’re starting on the right path.

Start your custom wine cellar project today.