How to Start an (Affordable) Wine Collection

Contrary to what most believe, you don’t have to be a lottery winner, have traveled the storied wine regions of the world—although, wouldn’t that be fantastic?—or be a wine snob to create an interesting, diverse, and delicious wine collection. It can be a very rewarding—and affordable—task to assemble a selection of wines to enjoy now or in the future. You just need to venture to some emerging regions or choose alternative wines from areas already know for producing wines with age-worthiness.

Find “New” Old World Wines

When we learn about wine we place them into a pair of very general categories originally based on geography. We refer to wines from Europe as “Old World,” while wines from every other region, including the United States, are called “New World.” The Old World is the birthplace of wine and where the notion of wine classification originated. Old World wines are produced according to strict regulations stemming from thousands of years of tradition. When starting a collection, try searching for wines from lesser known appellations within, or still attached to, regions with quality wine-making legacies. Wines such as Entre-Deux-Mers (between “Left Bank” and “Right Bank” Bordeaux), Bouzeron (just South of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or), or Gattinara (from Italy’s Piedmont). These wines won’t be as extravagantly-priced but will still have similar quality, style, and potential for aging as its more famous compatriots.

Find “Newer” New World Wines

Wines from the New World also offer start-up aficionados wonderful opportunities to build a collection. With less restrictions and limitations on wine production, New World winemakers can be more innovative and experimental, allowing for more diversity in styles and varietals used. Seek out wines from “emerging” regions of the New World, however, to avoid brand- name pricing or pedestrian mass-produced wines. Cabernets from Washington State, Zinfandels from Napa, or Chenin Blanc (nicknamed, “Steen”) from Stellenbosch, South Africa will augment your selection with quality and complexity without the cult-winemaker price tag.

Don’t Focus on “New” Trends

Wine, like most things, is trendy. And trends come and go. While White Zinfandel may never regain its popularity, most wines have a cyclical resurgence and deserve a reassessment every few years. Moreover, it’s during those down years that most wines seem to improve as producers focus on addressing quality issues. New collectors should focus on Chiantis from Tuscany, Merlot from California, and Riesling from Germany. Some wines never lost their quality, but for some reason or another acquired a misconstrued reputation. Unfortunately, dry sherries from Spain, fell into that category, and because of their versality, structure, and age-ability should be a key component of new wine collection.

Are you creating a new wine collection? Is your current assemblage in need of some new additions? Anyone you know searching for cellar help? Let’s select wines together! Contact me at erlinda@thevinicola.com or visit www.thevinicola.com to start curating your best portfolio yet!

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erlinda@thevinicola.com  |  202.247.1268

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