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tipping point for wine cabinet?

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budnball Apr 19, 2011 01:38 PM

As a very casual vino, I usually have no more than 10-20 bottles on hand at a time which includes a white and a sparkling on fridge. Earlier in the year, a few of my favorite vinyards had case sales and bought 4 cases which was fine when my garage storage place was cool. But now it is spring and I have moved the wine to an indoor closet. I'm down to about 25 but I wonder for those of you with limited space, what was your tipping point to buying or building a cabinet? And do you buy more wine than before? A freind has offered to build a 100 bottle cabinet for me but I am hesitant. I am not one to lay down bottles for maturing, I have a 3-5 month turnover. My fear is that that I will start buying for collecting instead of drinking. Silly, yes- no?

  1. ChefJune Apr 20, 2011 10:44 AM

    Not silly. If you love to drink and share wine, then having a temperature controlled place to store it makes good sense. You may or may not buy more with the wine cabinet, but as we get more into wine, we tend to buy more, cabinet or not.

    And why do you consider buying for collecting a bad thing? You will drink that wine eventually, and it is really fun to see how the wine ages over time.

    1. p
      pinotho Apr 20, 2011 11:28 AM

      do the cabinet, you will be very pleased. It doesn't really make sense to buy wine, yet not have a proper way to mstore it. If you think through it, I bet you will agree. There is just no downside to being able to store your vino.

      1. b
        budnball Apr 20, 2011 12:33 PM

        I guess my concern is becoming the type of wine bore I detest or worse a hoarder. However, I suppose pretend bohemian is as affected as snobery. And I would hate to lose my gifted white Bordeauxs.
        We started plans and I should be properly storing by the middle of May.

        1. Midlife Apr 20, 2011 12:43 PM

          Two things for sure if you have refrigerated wine storage:

          1. At some point you WILL fill it............ unless you have more will power than most everyone I know.

          2. Unless it's small enough that you can easily review what's in it, it's a good idea to keep some kind of record (like an Excel spread sheet) you can sort by vintage. It's amazing what can hide away in those things.

          I've never regretted buying my unit but I DO sometimes lose track of updating that spread sheet.

          1. r
            Ricardo Malocchio Apr 20, 2011 12:56 PM

            It's very pleasing and certainly not silly to have a wine cabinet - but most of us don't have a friend willing to make one for us! Rather, we lay down the long green and count up how many bottles we won't be able to purchase as a result. We then figure out how much we'll save buying wine cheaper on release and then holding it til maturity. I guess the primary rationalization (and a reasonable one I'd argue) is that you can pay now or you can pay later ... that is, if you're into wine built for aging ... but by maturing it yourself, you don't have to fret over provenance.

            So, that's why I broke down and bought one (a Eurocave 266). It's the largest unit I could both afford and fit in my Boston apt. Despite regrets over wines I might've purchased with the same funds, I do have much more peace of mind about those cases of low-sulphur cuvees from Lapierre, Foillard & other makers of vins naturales, as well as those sturdier but age-requiring bottles of Sauternes, Burgundy, Barolo, etc. In fact, I find that the comfort I have that my wine is safely ensconced allows me more patience to wait for those bottles to mature.

            Do any of these things make a difference to you? Do you like aged wine? Would you buy wines on release to get a great deal and then have the patience to wait til maturity to pop 'em? Would your cabinet even be temp and humidity controlled? Is your indoor closet so warm that whatever bottles you have on hand are in severe threat of heat damage? If none of these things describe you, the proposed cabinet, or your indoor closet, then maybe this simply isn't necessary in your case.

            BTW, I think I get where you're going with the "collecting" thing. I've seen this mentality among folks, and it sometimes smacks of clinically compulsive behavior. Wine cabinet or no, it's an issue. What can I say? Stay off the mailing lists. Avoid born-yesterday "cult" wineries selling no-history wines for $100-$200-$300-$400-more/btl. Ignore those luxury lifestyle mags that purport to be about wine. Likewise, ignore the wine-scoring arbiters of taste, and hope your favorite wines aren't their grade-inflated, price inflating favorites. Find your sweet price spot and reject the ever diminishing returns of super expensive cuvees. Embrace the Loire and Beaujolais. Always try to purchase in bulk to get the solid case/mixed case discount (15%-off at minimum, 20% preferably). Do your due diligence before buying. Know what you want, what it goes for, and then keep an eye peeled for bargains.

            But when you taste something as transcendent as the 2009 Lapierre Morgon, and realize that you can purchase a case for as little as $18.50/btl ... well, you just might decide to buy a case. And then you'll want to take care of it so you can enjoy a bottle or two next year, and the next year, and eventually upon maturity. And then you'll want a nice little home for them to sleep safely and soundly ... until you take the corkscrew to 'em!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ricardo Malocchio
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              budnball Apr 20, 2011 02:00 PM

              Thanx for the reply. I will be laying out the green for my wine closet, plus a bottle of unpronounable scotch. I am not so much into aged wines. That seems like the deep end of the pool, and unless it is a Sauternes, I'm not likely to spend over $30 a bottle. But here in San Jose, I am close to many wineries who have case sales 2 or 3 times a year and it will be nice to be a bit more flexible about purchases. Besides, those fruit bomb Cabernets everyone complains about are dropping in price and I love em!

              1. re: Ricardo Malocchio
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                andtheodor Apr 28, 2011 02:15 PM

                Your penultimate paragraph is one of the wisest musings on wine I have ever read. Bravo!

              2. Phood Apr 27, 2011 09:06 PM

                If you live in a metropolitan area, you may have commercial wine lockers available. Many larger wine stores have such spaces. If you get the aged, collected wine bug, you may find that your collection will exceed your expectations.
                Beyond the delight of the furniture and display, there is the functional part. My calculations show that it takes about 10 years for larger home storage to be competitive on price, and that does not account for utility costs. Lockers here in Los Angeles come in different sizes and price points, from a dozen bottles to serious commercial space. When I started, I hadn't considered that my collection might exceed 50 cases..
                The providers are responsible for maintaining temperature and humidity, and they are responsible to lots of folks with larger, more expensive collections than me.
                Bedsides, my home is space challenged.
                I find I have to plan ahead to keep a few older daily drinkers as well as a couple of special bottles on hand. Thusly, I cannot, after a particularly good bottle, open another one unless I have brought it home from the wine cellar.
                Cellartracker.com is a free service that allows me to keep track ot the my collection, others' drinking notes on those wines, and when my collection grew, the drinkability of my wines. It has been worth it to me to pay for this service. I can browse my wines while staying a safe distance from them, keeping track of which wines are in a dumb phase and which are approachable. As someone said; I can pet my collection from a safe distance.
                Enjoy,
                Charles

                 
                1 Reply
                1. re: Phood
                  omotosando Apr 28, 2011 11:55 PM

                  I was able to get a small locker in Los Angeles for $45 a year. That made it a no-brainer for me. I never intend to have a large cellar, so the small locker suits my needs, while assuring the few very expensive bottles that I do have are stored properly.

                  I highly recommend www.drync.com for tracking your cellar. It is free with ads -- I purchased the ad free app -- $5 if I remember -- and I can access my cellar on my Android, my iPad or my regular computer. Works without a hitch across all platforms. I also use it to track wines I'm thinking of buying -- you can enter them under "want" rather than "own" or "drank" so it provides a handy shopping list when you are ready to replenish your cellar.

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