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RonicaJM

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How much in the cellar?

by RonicaJM » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:06 am

Leave it to the newbie to ask a lot of questions. But, I was reading the Wine Bible a couple of days ago and I came across a picture of the author in her wine cellar. There were A LOT of bottles in there, maybe thousands. Anyway, the caption read something like..." I intend on drinking every one of these bottles of wine."

So my questions are:
1. How many bottles do you have?
2. If you have a lot of bottles when can you possibly drink them all if you continue to buy and cellar more wine? :shock:
In vino veritas...
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Howie Hart

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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Howie Hart » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:30 am

Ronica - You sure do ask a lot of questions! 8)
My situation is somewhat unique wrt the others on this forum. Most of the wine in my cellar is wine I make at home, about 80 gallons per year or 400 bottles (some of which is still in glass carboys, waiting to be bottled - need time to wash bottles). I also have about 5 cases of various "store-bought" wines. Probably half of the store-bought wine I acquired while visiting wineries. I usually end up giving away more than half of my home made wine.
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Kevin Glowacki

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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Kevin Glowacki » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:41 am

I have about 45 bottles in an off site storage facility.

Most of what I buy I drink within the month, since I tend to buy a mixed case at a time and I'm not of an income level to support buying a lot of collectibles or wines that require cellaring to be drinkable.

About half of what I've got in storage are dessert wines (Sauternes and Tokaji Aszu) and Champagne. The rest are a random assortment of various reds.

Most wine is ready to drink upon release. There are some wines that benefit from ageing, as they can be quite austere and shut down when they are youthful. Classed growth Bordeaux and Barolo immediately come to mind. Others drink fine when young, but some people prefer the way they taste after many years of cellaring. I've only had two wines over 20 years of age and while they were quite good, I wouldn't want to drink wines of that age all the time.
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Robin Garr

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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Robin Garr » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:26 am

RonicaJM wrote:Leave it to the newbie to ask a lot of questions. But, I was reading the Wine Bible a couple of days ago and I came across a picture of the author in her wine cellar. There were A LOT of bottles in there, maybe thousands. Anyway, the caption read something like..." I intend on drinking every one of these bottles of wine."

So my questions are:
1. How many bottles do you have?
2. If you have a lot of bottles when can you possibly drink them all if you continue to buy and cellar more wine? :shock:


Ronica, you ask a lot of <b>fun</b> questions. Keep 'em coming!

The answer from me is a little wacky, because I write about wine and thus have to open so many new bottles that it doesn't really pay for me to buy wine to save for drinking later. That being said, there's a fair amount of wine around this house - probably 200 to 300 bottles - but only a fraction of them - 30 or 40, maybe - are wines that I'm actually consciously saving for special occasions. All the rest are either bottles awaiting review or bottles that I bought with the idea of reviewing but never got around to. Most of those bottles will stay around here until they get dusty, and then I'll either pass them on to non-geek friends who won't mind that they're a little tired, or donate them to local charities for wine-and-cheese tastings or fund-raisers.

Merging two threads here, I would urge you not to take <I>The Wine Bible</I> too seriously. I had the occasion to sit through a <i>long</i> presentation by its author just about the time the book came out, and she didn't impress me. Or maybe I should say she impressed me for the wrong reasons: I don't think I've ever seen another purported wine expert make so many factual errors about wine, or make them in such a didactic manner. I'm not sure I can evaluate the book fairly, because I can't evaluate it outside the context of that memory. But it's not on my reference shelf.
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Carl Eppig

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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Carl Eppig » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:50 am

We have a 98 bottle passive rack under the stairwell. We keep about two thirds of it filled with rotation, and the other third laid down. We do have the capability to cellar another four cases as overflow, but since moving from Maine last year, have not even kept the basic rack filled.
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Shaji » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:58 am

Not enough say I. More than enough sayeth everybody else.
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by OW Holmes » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:02 am

I've just got to take an inventory. I keep a spreadsheet to which I add purchases, and subtract consumption, when I remember to do so - which is practically never. Then every once in a while I make a few entries and adjust numbers to what I think is left. So I will say somewhere between 500 and 700.
As to the second question, I am buying less than I drink now, but then I am an old fart. I am at the point where I will buy a few wines for current consumption, and hardly any that require aging (though I did just stupidly buy a mixed case of '05 Bdx futures) but as I project the maturity of my cellar, in about a year or two I will be drinking only mature wine, and trying to hang on long enough to enjoy it all, leaving nothing to my kids. Except maybe the 05 Bdx.
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by David M. Bueker » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:07 am

Well there's about 2200 bottles now, and the number is still growing. The beauty of it is that my enthusiasm for the chase is waning as the cellar is getting tippy top filled.

So some time soon I will likely (really) slow down significantly and drink off mostly inventory. I'm sure I will buy some inexpensive daily bottles, but there will be enough very good stuff to pretty much quit buying them.

Now I will likely buy a few really top end bottles once in a while, but only 1-3 at a time, and only when the opportunity is very good.

Ok...anybody want to take bets on how long this thought process holds true??? :wink:
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OW Holmes

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Re: How much in the cellar?

by OW Holmes » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:12 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Ok...anybody want to take bets on how long this thought process holds true??? :wink:


I'll wager a bottle that it lasts longer than my stated intention to "buy a few wines for current consumption, and hardly any that require aging."
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Jenise » Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:11 pm

Ronica,

There was a time when I had 100 bottles and thought I was rich, but it seemed like I never actually had anything to drink so I set my sights on 300. When I finally got to that point I was surprised that I still didn't have anything to drink, and so I revised my cellar objective up to 500 bottles. And so it kept going, and now some ten years later I have about 1500 bottles on hand and another hundred or two undelivered. And guess what? I STILL DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DRINK.

An exaggeration, of course, but in fact just a minor one. So you'll ask how can that be. And the truth is that it just doesn't feel like I thought it would when I got to this point: my tastes keep changing and becoming more refined, which raises the bar for both quality and readiness. That is, where I naively thought five years old was a plenty mature red wine when I was at the 100 bottle level, and it was compared to the brand new wines I was used to, I now am liking 8 to 20 years. And that answers your second question.

Fasten your seatbelt because this is your future. As you start acquiring wines and setting them aside, and as you hone your tastebuds, you'll find yourself amazed at the difference even six months can make. So many of the wines you buy have recently been shipped and are, unbeknownst to you, still suffering some travel shock. A few months of rest will work that out, and then add a few more months or a year or two to shed some of the babyfat and achieve more balance between fruit and structure, and whoa girl.

FWIW I intend to stay at about this level. I know people with four and five thousand bottle cellars who are hobbled by quantity. Yeah they've got some wonderful aged bottles, but they're at the point where when they choose a wine to go with dinner they have to choose the wines that have to be drunk instead of the wines they really want to drink. I don't want to ever get to that point, but like David B. I'll have to be careful because I really love shopping for wine.
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Ian Sutton » Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:16 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Well there's about 2200 bottles now, and the number is still growing. The beauty of it is that my enthusiasm for the chase is waning as the cellar is getting tippy top filled.

So some time soon I will likely (really) slow down significantly and drink off mostly inventory. I'm sure I will buy some inexpensive daily bottles, but there will be enough very good stuff to pretty much quit buying them.

Now I will likely buy a few really top end bottles once in a while, but only 1-3 at a time, and only when the opportunity is very good.

Ok...anybody want to take bets on how long this thought process holds true??? :wink:

I think you'd started to doubt yourself before you hit the submit button!
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by RonicaJM » Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:18 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
RonicaJM wrote:
Merging two threads here, I would urge you not to take <I>The Wine Bible</I> too seriously. I had the occasion to sit through a <i>long</i> presentation by its author just about the time the book came out, and she didn't impress me. Or maybe I should say she impressed me for the wrong reasons: I don't think I've ever seen another purported wine expert make so many factual errors about wine, or make them in such a didactic manner. I'm not sure I can evaluate the book fairly, because I can't evaluate it outside the context of that memory. But it's not on my reference shelf.


Thanks for the info on the Wine Bible. I ordered several books and this one is quite wordy and not as easy to understand. But, it came highly recommended by my wine merchant.
In vino veritas...
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by RonicaJM » Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:32 pm

WOW, you guys have a lot of wine. My husband will never go for it. :? We'll see if I can slowly wear him down.

I guess I can see how it happens, though. Especially what Jenise was saying about your tastes changing. I had a wine at dinner the other night that we use to buy regularly. It was not appealing to me AT ALL. In fact, I sent the first glass back. The second glass (from a different bottle) tasted pretty much the same.

I can not wait to taste a really expensive wine (for me that would be $50 or more). The beer budget is an unfortunate hinderance to this hobby.


BTW, for those of you who want to clear some space out of your cellar you can ship it to me!!! :D
In vino veritas...
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Jenise » Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:36 pm

Ronica, every merchant in my area has a copy of the WB under the counter, and it can be a decent source for quick answers--not everybody wants to be a geek. And great as books like the Oxford Companion to wine are, its wordy and one doesn't always have the time to wade through all that. But I do remember that the very first time I went to look something up in it--and I can only remember that the topic was ripasso style Italian wines--it didn't have the answer that should have been there. Ditto other questions since. For a book that purports to be a Bible, it's more a FAQ guide than the comprehensive tome you'd think.
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James Dietz

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Re: How much in the cellar?

by James Dietz » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:32 pm

We have about 450 bottles and holding steady... one Vinotemp wine cellar in the garage and a small built-in fridge in the kitchen that holds about 30 bottles or so.

We are in a kind of steady state... buying about what we drink, though now with all the new Fall offerings out, especially for California Pinot, I'm waiting on about 50 bottles to be shipped.... since we typically drink 1 bottle/day on average, so there is a lot of replacement going on.

For those of you who haven't tried it, you might consider using Cellar Tracker for your inventory system. I had always used a combined Excel/Word system before, but Cellar Tracker is so damned powerful and you can look at your cellar in so many ways (varietal, region, price, score, and on and on) that I'm sorry for ever waiting to change over (and the change over was virtually painless).
Cheers, Jim
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by JC (NC) » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:34 pm

I haven't done an accurate count but estimate that I have over 300 bottles. I drink about two bottles a week and use somewhat more than that when entertaining so my current supply would probably last me 2-3 years without buying any more. I have slowed down my purchases in 2006--partly because I made a New Year's resolution not to use credit cards except for emergencies. Having to pay cash or debit my checking account directly tends to inhibit my wine-buying habit. However, there are still wines out there that I can't resist. I came home from the Pinehurst Food and Wine Festival with four bottles including an expensive Grandfather Old Tawny "Port" from Australia and a half bottle of Inniskillen Cabernet Franc Ice Wine. I'm thinking of purchasing some more Ferrari-Carano Tresor wine (a red Bordeaux-type blend from California) and I'm on several mailing lists for Pinot Noir. I also don't have many higher end German Rieslings in my inventory and may want to correct that plus I like to keep Sauvignon Blanc on hand and would like to purchase a Trimbach Gewurztraminer Cuvee des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre. You see how addictive it can be. Watch out! And have fun!
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Isaac » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:40 pm

I haven't bought much over the summer, and I think I'm down to 100, maybe 120 bottles.

Time to fix that!
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Otto » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:44 pm

I had about 80 bottles before summer. Due to using most of my cash for dentists, I've been drinking mostly from my wine cabinet. So now I'm down to about 70 bottles. I'm sorry that I have so few matureish bottles - all are young.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Bill Spencer » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:22 pm

%^)

Around 250 bottles ... all "stored" at room temperature which with the air conditioning running here in the Desert Southwest is max 74 degrees daytime and min 69 degrees nighttime ... Kathleen and I open nearly a bottle a night ... we do two major buying trips a year - one in March and one in July ... Central Coast, of course ... we also try to support our local bottle shop although we tend to buy more gift certificates for gifts to others than actual bottles for ourselves ... it's the only bottle shop in town and, somehow, someway, we need to support it ...

So ... we are buying for consumption mostly within a year's period of time ... asking a lot of even a good wine to make it through two Summers in Yuma ...

Clink !

%^)
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Dale Williams » Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:02 pm

Cellartracker (and I strongly second Jim Dietz's recommendation - I thought I was happy with Access, but the possibilities of different ways of viewing and sorting are amazing) says about 825 and 125 pending (but more than 20% of the pending are halves). Not totally accurate, probably a few I drank and forgot to remove, and there's a whole rack of "soons" that are everyday bottles that don't get entered.

In a semi-passive (I have an AC unit in case of the real heat wave) cellar, with about 100 stored in overflow (cool basemnt at office)

I plan on continuing to buy , but to try and not increase total numbers.
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Brian K Miller » Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:05 pm

I've been into wine for a few years, but most seriously over the last couple. I mostly drink it with friends on weekends and especially for "special occasions."

My biggest problem is I tend to have a serious "collecting bug" :oops:

So...I am up to around 170 bottles, 95% red wine, with much of it "nicer" wine that begs to be shared.
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Andrew Shults

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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Andrew Shults » Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:44 pm

I typically have about 3 dozen bottles on hand at any one time. Virtually everything I buy is ready for immediate consumption, but I keep stock on hand so I always have a variety to choose from and so I can take advantage of sales, closeouts, and quantity discounts.

My rate of consumption isn't very fast, usually one glass for me with dinner each night and another glass for my girlfriend a few nights each week. Thus, I really don't need to have more until I start drinking more, get an apartment large enough to have frequent dinner guests, or get a salary that allows me to buy wines worth aging.

I suspect that someone like Karen MacNeil drinks more, entertains more, and buys more age-worthy wines than I do. Thus, her large cellar.


Re the Wine Bible: I have not heard McNeil speak, so I can only judge the text itself. While the coverage is poor (or absent) for some geographic regions, I think it is a good intermediate-level book. It's a step up from "Dummies" but certainly not as authoritative as the Oxford Companion.
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by TimMc » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:21 pm

I have a "working" wine cellar. :wink:

Usually a case or two at any given time.
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Re: How much in the cellar?

by Carlo » Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:06 am

So my questions are:
1. How many bottles do you have?
2. If you have a lot of bottles when can you possibly drink them all if you continue to buy and cellar more wine?
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