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A beginners guide to starting your own wine cellar –in any home! -Prepare to enter the grip of the grape

Here at R&H Brunswick, we're a team of 30 wine lovers. Soon we'll be sharing with you our absolute faveourite 

95% of the world’s wines are meant to be consumed within a year or two after release, so why collect wine? We can give you three compelling reasons:

Firstly, a small percentage of the greatest wines (mostly reds) need anywhere from a few years to several decades to achieve their mellow, multifaceted maturity. By then you won’t be able to find them or afford them – unless, they’re already yours.

Secondly, the wines you age yourself will be in better condition than older bottles you’ll find withering away on retailers’ shelves.

And lastly, the stash of booze not only saves you a trip to the bottle shop but it is a constantly evolving and endlessly fascinating opportunity to engage with your favourite wines at different in stages in their – and your –development. 

 

The 3 most important steps:

 

  1. Crunch the numbers (how much per bottle & how many bottles)

A wine shop can be one of those dangerous places where before you know it you've dropped hundreds & eve thousands of dollars. Before you begin on your wine collecting journey, set a strict budget & stick to it because without it you’ll always spend 25 percent more than you want to. 

As a general guide for per bottle price, we hear from Gerald Ryan, sommelier at rural Victoria's farm-based foodie temple, Brae, in Birregurra & Nick Hildebrandt, co-owner and sommelier of Sydney's award-winning Bentley, Monopole and Yellow restaurants…''You're looking at a minimum of around $30 a bottle for wines that are going to age. There's not too much for under $25 that will last the length of time…& if you are looking to put together something serious, you might even go for minimum $50 a bottle''

So how many bottles? This part is down to where you are storing your wines. Experts say 240 maximum is a good cellar – but you have to keep front of mind that you must replenish your cellar often, it might be every month or every three months. The idea is once you have a plan, you continue to invest.

So how many bottles? ''A 240 maximum is a good cellar,'' Morrison says. ''But remember, that isn't just a one-off cost. You have to replenish it regularly - maybe every month, three months or quarterly. The idea is once you have a plan, you continue to invest.''

 

  1. How & where to store your bottles

In the perfect world, we’d be living in a home with one of those stone-cut cellars lurking beneath the ground…(how drop dead gorgeous is this modern take on a wine cellar from a Melbourne warehouse conversion by Ha Architects! Pictured above)

But this doesn’t mean we can’t all build wine collections with a more modest means. A cellar can be set up just about anywhere-even if you’re in a one bedroom apartment.  The golden rule is that wine doesn’t like light, heat or vibrations, so if you have a dark cupboard at home that hovers closely & consistently around 18 degrees then you have a winner.

Alternatively, you could invest in a wine fridge. Our Director Mario bought one last year that can store up to 120 bottles-you set the temperature & you don’t have to think about it again. He bought his from here – they’ve got a huge selection: https://www.appliancesonline.com.au/search.aspx?search=wine%20fridge&f_sort=MP

 

  1. Which wines to invest in

 

It’s your collection, so when it comes to which bottles, it’ll be your taste that will guide what goes in. However in saying this, there are some wines with a lifespan of a butterfly & others with long-term capability.

Riesling, semillon, sweet wines and most reds are all good medium-to-long-term cellaring prospects (medium-term from five-seven years; long-term seven years plus). Sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio and rosé are not.

Before you get in too deep, make sure you enjoy the flavours and aromas of older wines. Everyone appreciates youth, but it requires understanding to fall for the charms of middle-age.

So, try to find examples of favourite wines with some bottle age on them. If you like the way they’ve evolved and developed, you can safely start stashing some stuff away.

Unlike art, watches or cars, the great pleasure in wine collection is depleting it – so as we said earlier, be prepared for its ongoing maintenance and replenishment.

To begin, spend as much as you can afford, ideally a dozen of each wine, but six, or even three bottles, will let you chart change.

A trap to avoid is initially purchasing a bunch of wines destined to mature at once. Start out with a range of styles to ensure you have wines reaching ideal drinking in the short, medium and long-term.

And never forget the golden rule: it’s always better to drink a wine 10 years too early than one day too late.

Don’t just look at it – drink up!

 

And if we haven’t convinced you by now to go away & start your own wine cellar, check out this quote from Chris Morrison, group sommelier for Sydney's Guillaume Brahimi “I don't think I've ever met anyone who started to collect wine and then six years later said, 'You know what, I kinda fell out of love with it'.''

 

Big Love, The R&H Brunswick Team 

Xx

 

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