Opinion Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.
In a number of previous columns, we’ve explored the numerous elements of consuming wine at its peak – the moment when it reaches the top of the bell curve and expresses its best characteristics. The columns focused on these categories:
- The majority of wines are best consumed when purchased; additional storing adds little to enhance most wines. Modern vineyard management practices and winery processes, aided by advanced technology and techniques, have resulted in significantly better wines, typically at or near their peak of maturity upon release. These wines represent perhaps 90 percent of all wines sold in the market today.
- There are winemakers who produce and then release their wines with a built-to-last goal in mind. They blend their wines in such a manner that the wines will achieve their full potential after a number of years of aging by a consumer. These wines represent a miniscule portion of wines sold in the marketplace (select French and Italian wines come to mind) but typically command the highest prices.
- Consumers seeking wines that are released at or near peak have a number of choices. Modern winemakers are making investments in the vineyards and in the winery to produce more ageable wines – and then making the effort and taking the time to age these wines at the winery. It is not unusual for wines from certain regions to come to market with two to five years of cellar aging, thus needing little or no additional aging.
These ready-to-consume aged wines tend to be more expensive than young, unaged wines but less expensive than built-to-last offerings. They represent a minor, but growing, segment of the wine market.
I am asked by readers if purchasing a wine storage unit is advisable for dealing with their wine investments. My response tends to focus on the reason why a reader is considering investing in a unit, which can range in price from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Into which of the three categories above do their wine purchases typically fall? If they like young, straightforward wines, there is little need for investing in a storage unit. Such a unit could be suitable for storing wines at ideal temperatures for short periods, but rarely enhances those stored wines over long periods.
If they are interested in acquiring built-to-last wines or ready-to-consume aged wines, then a storage unit may be a sound investment. By storing these wines at optimum temperature and humidity levels for five to 10 years (or more), their wines will continue to develop and increase in quality – and value.
The return-on-investment analysis in deciding whether to purchase a storage unit is difficult to assess. It contains an element of subjectivity: Should you purchase a young, built-to-last wine and age it yourself in your home storage unit, or purchase a winery-aged wine, at a considerably higher cost than a typical bottle of wine, and enjoy it at your convenience?
If one can rationalize the purchase of a unit, the question then becomes which one and of what capacity?
The choices are vast and nuanced. Fortunately for those in the readership radius of The Examiner, a seasoned company offers a broad range of styles, models and advice on selecting the ideal storage unit for your needs.
The Wine Enthusiast, headquartered in Valhalla, specializes in wine storage units and a wide selection of wine accessories. Their website displays many of their storage products, from small (12- to 24-bottle capacity) under-the-counter or closet units to larger (up to several hundred bottles) portable units to more artistic, fine wood storage units that are both functional and serve as furniture centerpieces, prominently displaying your wine collection.
The Wine Enthusiast also offers custom-built units or cellars to accommodate any collector’s fantasy. Similar sources include IWA, Vintage Cellars and Vinotemp.
Purchasing wines can be a daunting experience. Through experimentation, a consumer can choose a path for investing in wine for the short or long term. In either case, the choices are numerous. The only limit is your budget.
Nick Antonaccio is a 45-year Pleasantville resident. For over 25 years, he has conducted wine tastings and lectures. Nick is a member and program director of the Wine Media Guild of wine journalists. He also offers personalized wine tastings. Nick’s credo: continuous experimenting results in instinctive behavior. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.