Secrets of Cellaring – Wine Collections vs. Wine Cellars

What’s the difference between a collection of bottles stashed under the bed and a bona fide wine cellar? Do you want to know about the Secrets of Cellaring?

A well-stocked cellar will bring you years of memories and hours of drinking pleasure. Let us explain more about wine collections. When you enjoy a good wine there is nothing better then being able to pluck one of your favourite wines from its temperature controlled slumber. It’s the equivalent to a baker and the best yeast, a chef and good olive oil or a BBQ bon vivant and good salt! Nothing beats the experience of consuming a wine in its optimal drinking window (at maturity). A collection of bottles has no rhyme or reason to it. A wine cellar is something that is considered, temperature-controlled and has a method.

It’s easy to fall in love with the romance of wine. We start buying random bottles that we like, in odd quantities from various sources and before you can say ‘pull that cork’ you have a collection of bottles.

These sporadic buying habits often lead to having an excess of one style of wine and not enough of wines that you wish to enjoy. Hence a collection of bottles. Wine is a living, breathing thing that changes and evolves over time. A cellar allows us to watch and share the wine’s journey to optimal drinking. Think of it as turning the pages of time in a storybook.


wine collection


You build a cellar by taking advice, researching wines, reading, writing notes and tasting – lots and lots of tasting (responsibly). This is a true secret of cellaring. Some wines you’ll love and some wines you won’t. Remember, if you’re not sold on a wine in its youth you’re not going to enjoy it once it matures. If you have random bottles in your cellar you could always have them liquidated by a professional. When starting a cellar consider the following: when do you want to drink? Now, this year, or when the wine has had time to reach maturity? This is the question of Wine Collections vs. Cellars, and becomes the method by which you begin to buy.

A cellar should always have wines that are reaching maturity in it. If you buy in multiples of three you will be able to compare tasting notes as your wine ages. Then decide what wines you wish to keep – try to branch out across varieties, include some sparkling wines, include whites, Hunter Semillon’s, German Rieslings and of course reds, WA Cabernets or Italian Barolos.

Reds generally are the most age-worthy wines but not all reds age well (be warned). If you like Coonawarra Cabernet, look to its homeland of Bordeaux, France and try the styles of their origin. Collect across varieties and styles – this will help you build a cellar that becomes an open book and you will always have something that is ready to drink.

A well-stocked wine cellar is the gift that keeps on giving. It grows with you, tells a story and is a constant reminder of how your life has changed. Keep and eye out for our upcoming series of the ‘Secrets of Cellaring’  Workshops  in both Sydney and Melbourne.

*N.B This is the extended excerpt of the June- July Article that was printed in Hallidays Wine Companion…issue #40