New Year's Wine Resolutions

Starting a wine cellar with minimal time and money


With the New Year upon us, we tend to be a resolute bunch. Many of our resolutions revolve around self-betterment, peace on earth and fitting into old jeans. You know, those same old unattainable things we like to devote several days of effort to each New Year!

What if I told you those several days of effort could pay off handsomely in ways you scarcely imagined just moments ago? In fact, before you began to read this article, you might have never realized that you, yes you, could not only benefit from a wine collection, but could do so with a minimum investment of both time and money!

Photo courtesy Danielle Scott via Flickr/CC
You might say I am crazy, but I’m here to prove that I am not. What we’re embarking on today is a lifelong journey of discovery, wonder and excitement; the thrill of the chase, the agony of defeat and the point of it all: drinking better wine.  We’re going to learn how to build a cellar on a budget, one that is rich with rewards yet gentle on the wallet. Well, at least at this early stage!

Read on as we enter phase one of the Wonderful Cellar Project: The $2500 Cellar.

We’re beginning our cellar project by taking a look at some of the options available to people at a relatively modest price point: $30 a bottle. I could buy a single bottle of wine and be done with it, building that $2500 cellar in one purchase, but that’s neither fun nor helpful, is it?

What I’m hoping to do is help people understand where there is value in cellarable wine and with that, offer some pointers. Value being a rather subjective word allows this first step to be an installment down the path to a rather full and exciting project: the $20,000 Cellar!

My final recommendations for bottles costing $200-$400 a bottle might find few fans, but in the spirit of completeness, I believe it is worth noting where value may occur along the full spectrum that is the continuum of wine pricing. I am fully aware that many people will never feel comfortable spending anything beyond the prices offered in these first installments, heck I will count even myself out once we get to the final chapter, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t fun and value to be had by completing the exercise.

And what value might that hold? Simply put, that one need not invest exorbitant resources in building a cellar that satisfies its primary purpose, to supply maturing wines over the course of several years. Today’s start holds the most value of them all, showing that you don’t have to be a genius nor a millionaire to drink better than most people, and most geniuses and millionaires for that matter!

So what does my fantasy cellar look like? Let’s break it down by stages and price points.

The $2500 cellar is stage one and consists of six cases of wine broken down as follows:

Eight types of wine, three labels for each type, three bottles each, all at less than $30 a bottle.

The $5000 cellar is stage two and includes the $2500 cellar plus:

Five additional types of wine, three labels of each type, three bottles each, all at less than $60 a bottle,

The $10,000 cellar is stage three and includes the $5000 Cellar plus:

Five additional types of wine, three labels of each type , three bottles each, all at about  $100 a bottle.

The $20,000 cellar is the final stage and includes:

Five additional types of wine, three labels of each type, three bottles each, all at $200 to $400 a bottle.

I should add that this is merely the plan at this early stage. I have many of the details of the $2500 cellar worked out, but trying to be complete and thorough with these limitations may prove difficult, so I reserve the right to change things up as I see fit. That however is a discussion for the future, so for today, let’s jump right in and start talking about wines for your cellar at $30 or less!

Read on as we enter phase one of the Wonderful Cellar Project: The $2500 Cellar.

Mentioned in this article


  • High quality at $30 or less? Think Washington!!

    Jan 05, 2012 at 9:50 PM

  • Snooth User: Mrshouse3
    628746 18

    sounds like attainable treasure to me.

    Jan 05, 2012 at 10:08 PM

  • Navarro dessert wines. Affordable, delicious and even better with a few years on them.

    Jan 05, 2012 at 11:40 PM

  • Surely you need to clarify the distinction between a collection and a cellar. The difference is defined by time.

    Time in the sense of how long the longest bottle will take to frequently you intend to drink from the cellar...and how often you intend to replenish it.

    We could all put together a collection, a variety of wines which could all be drunk tomorrow, and replace each bottle as we drink it. That is very different to creating a classic cellar, in the English sense, where one is buying by the case for long-term (25 years or more) maturation, alongside everyday drinking and middle-term consumption.

    Here's a post about NOT drinking a claret for over twenty years, and the benefits thereof:

    Cellars are wonderful things - but time is surely a key element in their definition.

    Jan 06, 2012 at 6:46 AM

  • Snooth User: Bosun
    937230 46

    Is that all there is to this story? I was expecting more.

    Jan 06, 2012 at 3:41 PM

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