Guide to collecting on a budget

Cellar Down Under

Want to build up a wine collection but can't afford grands crus? Read on.

I'm so pleased that my series on starting a cellar without paying a fortune has been so popular. It wasn't my idea at all but that of a reader, Nicholas Bull.

Anyone can sign up with a fine-wine merchant and be sold classic fine wines but my aim was to highlight the fact that you don't need to be a millionaire to assemble a wine collection. Although a substantial and increasing proportion of wine is made to be drinkable on release, there is no shortage of affordable wine worth keeping while it develops more complexity and gives even more pleasure.

These were the wines I tried to highlight, making specific recommendations of wines I have actually tasted and enjoyed, with suggested drink dates that last until 2028 at least and sometimes long afterwards.

As you can see below, I devoted each article to a different geographical unit. The first and most obvious was Bordeaux as it produces more ageworthy wine than anywhere else, but I added many more areas.

But do remember that there is no point in keeping wine unless you can keep it in suitable conditions: fairly consistent low temperature with reasonable humidity (otherwise the corks may dry out), without strong smells and without strong light (see The (increasing) problem of lightstrike). Purple Pagers can read more detail on this topic in The Oxford Companion to Wine entry on Storing wine. And see too our free guide to professional storage, which, in the UK, generally costs about £15 per year for a standard case of 12 bottles.

Below are the relevant articles so far published, most recent at the top.

Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (6 July 2024)

The Americas (1 June 2024)

Iberia (11 May 2024)

Central Europe (6 April 2024)

Italy (9 March 2024)

Rest of France (10 February 2024)

Bordeaux (13 January 2024)