I want to save the good stuff to drink when I’m with family and friends.
And that can be a problem.
Wine enthusiasts like me, will build up large cellars of awesome wine. This wine can sit for years and sometimes decades while the owner waits for the perfect occasion to open it.
While the owner of this wine collection is waiting some undesirable stuff can happen.
The wine can go bad.
Even stored under perfect conditions, wine can still go bad. Like everything, wine has an expiration date. The problem is no one really knows when that is. Some wines can last for decades, others only a year or two.
And that’s a great place to start my list: The 9 reasons NOT to age wine.
- Wine doesn’t last forever.
It’s a tragedy to find someone with a large old wine collection, only to find that many of the great bottles are past their prime and should be poured down the drain. It makes me cry.
2. Usual Suspects
Another tragedy that can happen to great wine that you are waiting for the perfect occasion to drink is that some unauthorized person can take the wine. Family members are a usual culprit.
Mom, who is going to a dinner party with her friends from work, and she doesn’t know Yellow Tail from Bordeaux, just took the first bottle of wine came across in you cellar. She figures you have a lot of wine, you won’t miss one bottle, plus she’ll go to the grocery store to replace it if you want.
She leaves the cellar with a bottle that says Cabernet Sauvignon. What she doesn’t know is that that was your last bottle of the 2002 vintage from your favorite small winery in Napa Valley. The bottle has the word Rutherford on it. You can’t replace the wine, it’s sold out, plus the current vintage sells for well over $150.
3. 3-5% of all corks are faulty. Corks have one of the highest failure rates in any industry. That’s just the way it is. It doesn’t matter if you buy California, Bordeaux, or Brunello, corks all around the world have a high failure rate. And the best wines are still sealed with corks.
You could hold on to a wine for a long time, pull it out, and the wine is garbage because the cork failed years ago.
4. Natural disasters. A house fire, hurricane, earthquake (I lived in Napa when the quake hit and lost some good wine), any random shit you can’t predict, can happen. And then you don’t get to drink your awesome wine.Why do you want to start collecting and aging wine?
5. I don’t know what the bullet point here is but consider this…
I worked with one of the best winemakers in Napa Valley. One of his bottles of wine sells for $250. He tells me to drink all California wine 8 years from the vintage. His customers buy his wine and say they will store it for 20 years. They are making a mistake.
I know this sounds out there, but someone could break into your house. While they are trying to steal your expensive shit, they see your wine cooler and snag a bottle on the way out the door. I’ve heard of this happening.
You might move. It’s very difficult to move a collection of wine. Most people move in the warmer months. When you move the wine it’s easy for it to get too hot. The wine gets ruined in the move. I’ve experienced this many times.
8. You didn’t buy enough of the wine.
I only hold on to a wine if I have at least 6 bottles but preferably 12. That way you can drink it over the years so you can see when it’s at its peak. If you only have 1 or 2 bottles, go ahead and drink ‘em.
9. You could die.
If you get in a car accident or whatever and you leave this earth… Well, you can’t take your wine with you. You will have saved the wine and not had the pleasure of drinking it. That’s sad.
You might want to consider if you even should age wine. Most people (me included) should not. It’s not as good an idea as it seems.
“Serious Wine Collectors” hate to hear this. Ok, I understand we all have our deeply held beliefs. I’ve had “Serious Wine Collectors” tell me that my winemaker friend in Napa who makes great wine and suggests you drink it within 8 years of vintage, is an idiot.
Ok. Not likely, but whatever. This post isn’t for “Serious Wine Collectors.” We all have our hobbies and I’m not trying to shit on anyone’s hobby.
I’m just trying to help people avoid the mistakes I’ve made and mistakes I’ve seen a lot of others make as well. When I’ve had a beautiful bottle of wine that I’ve held for a long time get ruined I always think “Damn! I should’ve drank that wine on a Tuesday night while eating Ramen noodles and watching a movie, instead of holding it for the perfect occasion.”
It’s always a better use of the wine to drink it, than to hold it and it goes bad. But that’s just my opinion that I developed the hard way.
There are all sorts of bad random things that can happen if you hold on to a good bottle for too long.
I’m not trying to talk down to people aging wine. I’ve experienced the downside and the limited upside. The vast majority of the time it’s not worth it to hold wine for long periods.
Wine is meant to be consumed with family and friends. Do that instead of storing it forever.
What do you think, am I crazy?
I want to hear from Wine Enthusiasts. What do you love about aging wine? Has anything unfortunate ever happened to your favorite bottles that you’ve held on to?
Love me or hate me but please don’t ignore me. Let me hear your thoughts in the Comments section.