What is the purpose of collecting wine?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is the purpose of collecting wine?

—Linda J., Del Rio, Texas

Dear Linda,

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume any bottle of wine you’ve purchased and aren’t intending to drink right away is a wine you’re “collecting.” I don’t think a fancy cellar is a requirement to be a collector, but it certainly helps in storing your wine properly. Most wine lovers are collecting at least a few bottles that are tucked away.

The major reason I collect wine is so that I can drink it. I like being able to grab something I enjoy or am interested in from my stock to drink without having to plan or go to the wine shop for every single glass of wine. Of course, my tastes are varied, and so is my collection, from red to white to bubblies and dessert wines. Wine can become a sort of emotional souvenir to me—there are a lot of memories that I want to hold on to that bottles of wine can represent. Sometimes this factor is increased when the wine is given as a gift or procured by traveling, but it can also be something I bought because it reminded me of another wine memory.

There are also wines that I purchase with the specific intent of trying them when they are older. It’s not true that every single wine gets “better” with age—rather, they mature, and I like to watch them evolve. I like to justify this practice by noting that it can save me money to buy the wines when they are first released—some wines can increase in value as they age and become rarer, and that’s another fun part of collecting!

Speaking of, I know some folks that collect wine as an investment (or try to cash in on what’s become an expensive hobby) but it’s hard to make a profit on wines unless you’re dealing with the ultrapremium brands, and the way the wines are stored becomes extremely important when selling them at auction.

—Dr. Vinny

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