How to Start a Beginner’s Wine Cellar

Building a home wine cellar is not about brick and mortar but about wine. A few simple steps will get you on your way to a handy supply of wine and a fascinating hobby to boot, all without breaking the bank. Just follow these simple steps:

  • While the minimum number of bottles in your initial stockpile varies widely (I’ve seen starters’ collections containing anywhere from six to umpteen dozens), but a convenient first-time investment might be 24 bottles of wine. Just set a budget and go from there.
  • Keep in mind the five basic types of wine:
    • Red: Consider Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot…
    • White: The Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay leap to mind.
    • Rosé: Think Grenache, Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Cabernet Franc.
    • Fortified: The basics are Port, Sherry, Marsala, and Madeira.
    • Sparkling or Champagne: Have a blast… But just remember that if it’s not made in Champagne, France, it may still be good, but it isn’t true Champagne.
  • Ok, so you have your budget, and you at least have a clue as to what you like… Now what? Well purchase appropriately over a price range and quantity that includes everyday wine, weekend wine, special occasion wine, a “can’t go wrong wine” (for that surprise visit from good old Uncle Bruce), and finally a truly superb bottle for investment or for that extraordinarily special occasion like paying off your mortgage or as a tontine as in M*A*S*H, episode 187.
  • Don’t be afraid to try wines from different countries or “lesser wines” from places like California. There are hidden jewels out there.
  • Keep track of your collection! It’s all too easy to sip it away. Keeping a record may be as simple as a piece of paper and a pen, or as complex as a computer spreadsheet. Just be sure to note the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why”, and “how” for each bottle. To keep track of your collection is to grow your collection.
  • Join a wine club, an Internet wine forum, or attend wine tastings. (Hey… You can even trade comments right here on this blog!)
  • Finally, stop in to the Harwich Spirits Shoppe and talk with Da Gizz. He may be crazy, but he knows his wine.

One last thought… Don’t forget our prize-rich “Count the Cork Contest!” The gig is up Sunday, February 14 (Valentine’s Day).

See you by the racks…

Two cats blogging


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.

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One Response to How to Start a Beginner’s Wine Cellar

  1. Jenifer says:

    This is a very good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing
    this one. A must read post!

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