Putting Together A Functional Wine Cellar

It’s not trivial to have a perfect wine cellar. I often think about exactly what constitutes a perfect cellar for the typical wine drinker who, with his wife, tends to run through a bottle of good wine daily or about 300 to 400 bottles a year (approximately 30 cases). Unless you drink wine with dinner and like a great, well-matured wine as often as possible, there is no reason to have a cellar. You can always pick up a bottle of good wine at the store when you need it.

Wine Cellar

One problem I often see is people over-buying for their own needs. This is particularly true of the high-tech millionaires who buy cases of everything they can get their hands on and end up with hundreds of cases stored, much of which should not be stored and will just deteriorate.

A wine cellar is a function of discipline. I like the 30-case cellar that takes into account lots of constant buying that day or that week to drink right away. You don’t collect 30 cases of wine without tasting 30 wines before you buy them (although buying certain wines untasted is not uncommon).The 30 “tasters” add up to one month of drinking wine and account for nearly three cases of wine per year. I might buy a case or half a case of about one wine out of five or 10 that I try.

That’s another 150 to 300 bottles of wine you reject for the case lot collection. You’ve shot nearly a year tasting wine to collect. The point being the wine cellar wines can only account for about one quarter of your yearly wine-drinking pleasure if you like tasting different things.

There are some people who find a good wine and drink dozens of cases of that wine. I personally find that approach boring, although safe and smart. Most wine connoisseurs are into variety, looking for the Holy Grail of wines: the perfect cheap wine.

The most trustworthy wine to collect is Bordeaux. It can keep for decades and tends to continually improve.

When you start to collect from other regions it’s very spotty and you have to know what you are doing. The great (and expensive) Burgundies can keep longer than many wines, as can some of the California Cabernets.

But for the most part it’s risky to keep a wine more than five years, and too many wines begin to lose their fruit within a couple of years after purchase. There is nothing more disappointing then opening an old case of wine and discovering that it’s over-the-hill and undrinkable. In a future column I’ll have specific cellar recommendations and other specifications.


Reaching into the (wine) cellar for business: competitive market pressures spur insurance agents to create new niche products

A rain-soaked golfer is trying to calm his nerves in the country club restaurant with a glass of wine after a sudden downburst brought his tournament to an early end.

His first sip is bitter; the wine is spoiled.

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Driving home, he spots a tanning salon and derides to dry out. Unfortunately, he falls asleep in the tanning booth while the operator takes a long lunch. Scorched and enraged he walks stiff-legged to a pay phone next door to call his lawyer.

The electrical current running through the phone somehow short-circuits and the hapless golfer receives a jolt.

A bad day?

Not so bad for the country club, restaurant, tanning salon and telephone owner. Their insurance agents and brokers have made sure they are covered for such mishaps.


Wine Merchant Relies On Book’s Philosophy: Either Change Or Die

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The book: “The Dual Autobiography” by Will and Aurial Durant

A customer’s disparaging remarks introduced Roger Gentile to the love of his life and launched him on a life-long quest for wine knowledge.

“This guy walked into (my father’s) King Avenue carryout, I was about 21,” says Gentile, “and he asked if we had a good Chablis. I said, ‘Yes, sir,’ and pointed to a bottle of Gallo Chablis Blanc. He berated me. Made fun of me horribly. From that moment, I started buying every wine book I could find.”

It isn’t just the wine books, however, that have helped Gentile turn his dad’s shop into a well-respected wine and beer specialty business with stores at 1565 King Avenue and at the Flag Center near Westerville. Together, the two stores employ 12 people.


For Keeps; Creating a wine cellar – and selecting the wines to put away – is an education and a joy

Cellaring wine can be a highly satisfying hobby for the wine lover. By stowing away even a few bottles – and following a few simple rules – you will, in time, enjoy complex, balanced and interesting wines that will have real significance to you. The process should also deepen your knowledge of wine and its potential.

The most important thing to remember when planning a cellar is that not all wines can age. The second point, an obvious yet crucial one, is to only include wines that you enjoy once they have been matured. So wine selection is crucial to the success of your cellar.


From a chemistry perspective, wine is a highly complex beverage, and over time many reactions occur that change its colour, aroma, taste and texture. White wines deepen in colour with age whereas reds get lighter. Whites normally get richer whereas reds get softer.