This weekend I finally put all of the wines from my stock-up trip into the cellar and what happens today – I get a delivery from one of our wine clubs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have more wine on hand, but, come on, is there no end? Just when I thought that the wines were organized and I had a handle on what we had, where it all belonged, and how best to coordinate it all, I get more wine.
I guess that is the danger of collecting a consumable. Regardless of how you set up your wine cellar, or wine rack, once you drink some of the bottles, the whole system changes. With my obsession with organization (and yes, I’ll admit it, alphabetizing – I love to alphabetize!) it is surprisingly easy for me to deal with the chaos of a wine rack.
It could be a carryover from my days as a wine director for a restaurant, but when you get a good basic system in place, it’s easy to keep some sense of order in your wine collections. First off, you need to have a place for your untouchables – those bottles that you are laying down, or just saving for your next special occasion.
This is often the hardest for new wine collectors, especially for couples where both parties aren’t equally invested in the wine cellar. For some, this needs to be completely removed from the ‘everyday wine’ storage, the out of sight out of mind theory of wine collecting. It could be a closet, a crawl space under the house, a wine fridge, but if you can’t resist the siren song of your collectors bottles than get them out of sight! For others, the collector wine can be a specific shelf, a corner, or a row of your wine rack. Having a definite home for bottles that you don’t want to drink right now makes it easier to find wine for your everyday meals, because you know where your hands-off section is.
Second, just breaking down the wines into bubbly, white, rosé, and red is hugely helpful. It’s a piece of cake to find the bottle that you want for dinner if you know where to look. Basically, it’s the same theory as a wine shop, why rifle through all of your Cabernets when you really want a Chard?
Finally, resign yourself to reorganizing your cellar periodically. It’s the nature of the beast unfortunately. As you consume bits and pieces of your collection, your storage needs will inevitably change. Plus, it gives you a chance to look at all of your wines, reevaluate how they’re organized, and check to see what should be moved from the ‘untouchable’ shelf to the ‘drink me now’ spot. This walk down memory lane with your wine collection will put you in the perfect frame of mind to pop open something festive and enjoy a good bottle.