A well-stocked wine cellar represents an opportunity to reserve beautiful moments of tasting and sharing. But it is also a heritage that, like the contents of the bottles, improves with time, provided that the right choices are made. However, many wine lovers wonder how to get started with their wine cellar. Cantenac Brown gives you some tips on how to start a wine cellar!
1. Create a cellar suitable for storing wines in good conditions
To preserve your wines in the best possible conditions, there are three possibilities:
- Keeping your wines in a natural cellar
- Store them in an electric cellar
- Store them in a professional external storage facility
The choice of storage method depends mainly on your needs and capacities. If you already have a natural cellar that meets the temperature, humidity and darkness requirements of wine, great. If not, it may be wise to invest in an electric cellar. Be careful to get the right information before buying, not all models are equal and some do not manage to maintain a constant temperature, especially in hot weather. The strong variations of temperatures being one of the principal enemies of the good conservation of the wines, choose your cellar with attention.
2. Choose wines you like
There is no secret, the best rule is to choose the wines you like. This is not an easy task if you are a beginner and do not know your tastes yet. There is so much to discover, especially at the beginning, try to taste all types of wines, from all regions and all styles, and build an eclectic cellar. To do this, don’t hesitate to ask for advice, to get wine recommendations from friends and family or from professionals.
3. Choose different types of wines
It has been observed that many wine lovers start out liking strong red wines and, over time, come to prefer finer, more elegant wines. They also often turn more to white wines. Don’t hesitate to bet on the great classics and the rising stars of each region. The same goes for grape varieties and colors.
In terms of vintages, you should also focus on variety to start your wine cellar. First of all because you will need both wines to keep and wines that are ready to drink more quickly, or even immediately. The wine itself must also be of good quality: to age well, it is necessary that they have a great balance, in terms of tannins, alcohol and acidity. We generally advise you to start your cellar with about 15% of wines that you plan to drink within two years, and 85% of wines for aging.
15% immediate thirst wines: you can choose dry white and sparkling wines, but also some red wines such as Beaujolais wines, or fruity vintages (often inexpensive wines).
85% wines for aging: a well-balanced cellar is generally composed of :
- 20% Bordeaux
- 20% Burgundy wines
- 15% Rhône wines
- 10% Loire wines
- 5% Alsace wines
- 5% Languedoc-Roussillon wines
- but also 5% champagne
- 5% from the South-West
- 5% from other French regions (Jura, Savoie, Corsica)
- finally 5% of foreign wines
In detail, for the wines of guard, it is necessary to privilege the red wines. The latter are known to have a greater potential for ageing. Nevertheless, a part of dry and sweet white wines is not negligible. In total, favor 65% red wines, 25% dry and sparkling white wines and 10% sweet wines. These proportions are ideals to start your wine cellar.
4. Controlling your budget
Obviously, not everyone has the possibility, or even the desire, to buy wines costing several hundred euros. Fortunately, in every region, there are excellent value for money wines that can age gracefully for many years. The difficulty is to identify them.
Choose trusted merchants, either your wine merchant or your favorite website. They generally have a demanding range of the best quality-price ratios of the vineyard. If you dream of great labels, you can also bet on second wines (Brio de Cantenac Brown at our place). The latter represent a great opportunity to taste the wine of great properties more accessible than their first wine (our Château Cantenac Brown).
5. Optimize the organization and management of your cellar
It may seem obvious, but think from the start about tidying and organizing your cellar! Many people classify their wines by region, but you can also think of sorting them by vintage or by age. The use of visual markers, such as stickers, can be very useful to find your way around. In any case, we advise you to keep a register (on a book, a slate or even a digital support), listing the wines you have and specifying the climaxes, the periods from which your wines will be ready to drink and to keep this register up to date when you remove a wine. Indeed, many people have had the bitter experience of finding a wine forgotten at the bottom of their cellar and which has largely exceeded its ageing potential.