How To Start Collecting Wine At Any Budget

So many questions precede the collecting process. What kind of wine should I collect? What if I don’t like what everyone else likes? How much money should I spend? What the heck is a Coravin?

Denise Clarke, owner/winemaker of Altipiano Vineyard & Winery, understands.

“We can become overwhelmed and intimidated because we think that we don’t know enough,” she says. “I just say this: You know what you like, and you know what you don’t like. Keep that in mind as you’re going through the learning process about wine.”

Here are tips and strategies for all types of aspiring collectors and connoisseurs, organized by budget.

Budget: $200 

Know what you like 

It’s as simple as that. Everyone should learn what they prefer and collect accordingly.

Cassandra Schaeg, owner/operator of Sip Wine & Beer, a wine bar in Escondido, California, encourages patrons to visit a winery if possible, taste and go from there.

“I would always suggest that people start local first, because they’re able to support small businesses, and then they’re able to experiment to see how their palate aligns with certain wines,” she says.

Clarke says it’s possible to test your palate even in the age of social distancing through virtual wine tastings.

“That is so much fun because you’re getting the story and, to me, wine tells a story,” says Clarke. “Don’t spend the $200 until you have at least gone around to different places.”

Strategize your storage 

Expensive wine coolers aren’t always necessary, especially for beginner collectors. Schaeg recommends a wine rack in a dark, cool place, like a closet that stays between 65–70°F.