How to look after your wine collection


On this day, assigned National Wine Day in the US, we share this advice from Nationwide Private Client, which claims to offer custom insurance for wine collections, on safeguarding those precious bottles. 

These are the most common issues that can affect a wine collection: 

  • Breakage – damage caused by dropping a bottle or during shipment from the vineyard
  • Mechanical breakdown – spoilage of wine due to climate control system failure
  • Backup of drain or sewer – wine collections are often stored in cellars and basements making them susceptible to damage due to drain or sewer failure
  • Natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and weather-related occurrences
  • Diminished value due to cosmetic damage to the bottle or water damage to the label

They suggest these three ways to protect a wine collection:

Document your investment

  • Keep all original documents including purchase receipts, auction catalogue or private seller information.
  • Keep photos and detailed descriptions of wine bottles including those with unique marks and vintage year.
  • Maintain an updated inventory list including descriptions, accurate count of bottles, and storage locations.
  • Get routine, professional appraisals of your collection, and keep a running record of appraised values.

Optimal storage

  • Store wine in a cellar or wine cabinet – The best place for storage is in a cellar or electric wine cabinet with fibreglass insulation to regulate temperature and protect against damage to the label.
  • Climate control – Keep wine away from areas that could generate temperature changes such as kitchens or laundry rooms. The ideal temperature range for wine storage is 45–65 ºF (7–18 ºC). Avoid arid environments that can dry out corks. Areas with 50–80% relative humidity are adequate for storage.
  • Store bottles on their side to prevent the cork from drying out.
  • Keep stored bottles away from light. Sunlight can damage wine by ageing it prematurely and household light can fade labels.

Insure your collection

  • Protect your valuable collection with a personal collections insurance policy. Many policies cover accidental breakage, theft and water-related damage.

So there you have it. A few (more?) things to worry about in the middle of the night...