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Apr 19, 2011 01:38 PM

tipping point for wine cabinet?

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?

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  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

              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

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