Looking for luxury investment ideas? Here are five tips for starting a wine collection

Starting a fine wine collection can be both an enjoyable pastime and a good investment. In this article, Steve King at Bottled & Boxed shows you how to begin building your cellar.

A wine collection can offer years of enjoyment, and it can be an excellent investment too. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or you’re looking to learn more about the beverage, collecting it can be the perfect way to expand your knowledge about fine wine and provide the opportunity to share it with family and friends.

But how do you get started with building a wine collection? There are a few different things to consider, such as when you want to drink the wines, and whether you’ll want to set aside some bottles as investments. Read on for five tips to make a start on sourcing your ideal wines.

1) Taste a variety of wines

The first place to start when sourcing a wine collection is with your own palette. Many people gravitate towards sweeter wines at first, such as a young Zinfandel, but as you develop your selection, you’ll probably find yourself more enamoured with older wines such as Burgundy. Typically, older and more valuable wines come with a more earthy, acidic flavour because the wine has aged for longer.

You can take part in some wine tastings to identify your favourite flavours if you’re new to the world of fine wine. Or, if you are more interested in stocking your cellar with a few classics, then you’ll be keen to jump to the deeper tastes like Barolo and Barbaresco, which are commonly enjoyed by collectors. Y

our own taste buds might show you what a good investment a lesser-known beverage might be, so don’t be afraid to invest in wines that you really enjoy, even if they are less fashionable currently.

2) Choose wines that age well

It’s important to note that not all wines age the same, and part of investing in wine — both as a monetary investment, and for enjoyment — is understanding which will benefit from ageing. Aged bottles of wine are the most reliable in terms of return on investment, so this will be a central consideration in your collection. And as a bonus, aged wine provides more fascinating flavours.

Ideally, you should look for wines that are fermented in oak barrelling, and have both high acidity and some residual sugar in them. Nebbiolo for example, is an extremely acidic wine that is best when aged for 20 years or more. Most top-quality champagnes are aged for 15 or even 25 years, so these are also a great option.

Bordeaux is a classic wine that can be aged for over 20 years, and it is popular for collecting for this reason. If you plan to sell your wines, the best time to do so is when they have reached maturity. The length of time depends on the wine, but is usually after at least five or 10 years.

3) Curate a balanced cellar

If you’re looking for both a long-term investment and an enjoyable addition to your house, it’s best to create a wine collection that offers a variety of wines. Broadly, this means that you should have a wine for every occasion — some aged wines that form your investment section, younger wines that will eventually mature, and some wines that you plan to drink rather than hold onto. 

Try buying a few vintage wines that will improve with age, but are not top investment choices, such as lighter Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and white Burgundy. You could also add some choices like Spanish Garnacha, which is a more everyday red wine, meant to be consumed while young. Then, you can add your top investment pieces into the cellar. Together, this will offer a good variety for nights in, social events, and future investments.

4) Form a strategy

For the investment section of your cellar, it’s important to know just how long you’ll be keeping the wines before selling them. This can help you decide which wines to buy. The usual strategy for buying and selling wine is to invest in a top-quality wine upon its release, and then store the bottles for at least five years before selling them at auction.

It’s worth noting that you are probably better off investing in two or three types of wine and buying cases of those, rather than trying to spread your investing over a few bottles each of six types of wine. This is because you will generally be selling the wine by cases, and not by individual bottles, so having more bulk when selling presents a better lot at auction. 

Play it safe with these wines and do your research, choosing ones that have been proven to age well and sell at premium prices. Then, focus on whether they suit your own palette, as you will be storing them and therefore shaping their flavour over years to come.

5) Plan your wine storage

The last thing to consider, is how you will be storing your wine. Many people choose to keep their collections in wine cellars at home. This provides a beautiful addition to your décor, it and can turn your wine collection into a social pastime as you can host tastings and other events. 

However, if you prefer, there are also climate-controlled wine storage options, where you can keep your wine in perfect conditions for ageing. These can be a great option if you want to ensure your investment is in top condition, or if you can’t install a cellar due to your building being listed, or the ground being unsuitable.

Building a wine collection is one of the most enjoyable ways to invest, as it can provide years of tasting and learning more about fine wine, as well as getting a return back for your time and money. But it can be an overwhelming task to begin, so use these tips as a guide for how to make your start in the world of fine wine selections.

Photo by Hermes Rivera