Have you ever scanned a restaurant wine list and noticed that a bottle you have in your cellar is on the list for two or three times what you paid for it?

Many collectors I know love BYO restaurants for this very reason. They can share a special bottle with friends over a wonderful meal without breaking the bank.

Here’s a few other reasons why, for some at least, building a bit of a wine collection is a lot of fun!

1. Well Made Wines are Designed to be Aged

I had the privilege recently of enjoying a bottle of Penfolds Grange 1975 and a bottle of Lindemans Limestone Ridge Shiraz Cabernet 1991. In my mind, nothing quite compares with the bouquet and taste of aged wines when imbibed at or close to their peak. In both of these wines the tannins had completely lost their original bitter sensation and were seamlessly integrated into wines that still displayed some primary fruit characteristics and had lots of body, depth and texture.

Bill Daley, former wine critic of the Chicago Tribune, said that “watching and tasting a wine go through its life cycle is one of the joys of wine collecting.” He recommends making notes as you taste the wine during its different stages of development. (How to Collect Wine by Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 29 September 2010)

2. Collecting Wine can Encourage Self Exploration 

Making a decision to start a cellar often stirs people into being more proactive about educating themselves about wine. Campbell Mattinson says that “cellaring wine can be a kind of self exploration.”

Many collectors report that over the years, as they experiment with new wines, their tastes change, and their wine collections move in new and often unexpected directions. A willingness to try new things and periodically re-assess personal biases are often happy psychological by-products of having a long-term interest in collecting. Of course, as some collectors reluctantly acknowledge, the flip-side of collecting is that it can become a bit of an obsession!

3. Buy Now and Safe Time and Money Later

The Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman argues that “to have wine to drink when it’s mature, you have to buy it when it’s available and affordable.” He also notes that “savvy buyers think of a wine cellar first as a supply of ready-to-drink wines for dinner.” (How to Build a Wine Collection by Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 28 February 1998)

For people who like to entertain or even just enjoy a bottle over dinner a few times a week, having a wine collection can save time and money. No need to make a last minute run to the bottle shop, and as your wine buying becomes more focused and considered you can often take advantage of special deals.

4. Wine Collecting Can Improve Your Social Life

Back in 2008 Campbell Mattinson wrote an article, Wine Made Simple: How to buy wine for a cellar, that attracted an astonishing 33 comments. So many collectors were keen to share their own experiences of building their precious and often idiosyncratic wine collections.

The internet offers a wide array of forums to meet and chat with like-minded collectors. In all likelihood you will end up on the receiving end for lots of invitations to tasting events and dinners. Many collectors end up joining wine societies or clubs. I’ve learned from experience that the only thing most wine collectors like more than drinking wine is talking about it!

5. Wine is More Liquid than Other Collectibles

If you have a bit of collecting bent, a wine collection may be a better bet than an art collection, for example, if you ever decide to off-load it. It’s definitely easier to give away and today you have lots of options for selling your wine on the secondary market.

Look forward to hearing about your wine collecting experience.

Merrill Witt, Editor