The 100 Bottle Cellar – Chris Caughman

This is the first post in our 100 Bottle Cellar series where we ask collectors a simple question: How Would You Stock A 100 Bottle Cellar?  Chris Caughman is Vinfolio’s Director Of Content, ensuring that all Vinfolio, WinePrices and VinCellar data is accurate and timely. Chris is an avid wine enthusiast, collector and a world class wine expert. When not geeking out on wine, Chris is also a diehard sports fan and will destroy any and all challengers at Fantasy Football. To learn more about the 100 Bottle Cellar series, click here.

Future Investment + Immediate Enjoyment

With ten years of experience working in the wine industry and a couple certifications to my name, I like to think I can navigate the landscape of fine wine with the best of them.  My tastes have evolved over time, running the spectrum from oaky chardonnay to steely and mineral laced sauvignon blanc, from big, jammy reds to those of more complexity and nuance.  In short, I’m a full-blown and unapologetic geek at this point.  I’m also just a few years out of college, which makes me quite young to really appreciate and apply concepts of patience and restraint when I acquire a nice bottle.

I only include the long-winded bio because my level of experience and approach to drinking play very large roles in selecting my 100-bottle cellar.  The fact that my tastes continue to evolve and I find many occasions to open bottles, to me, means that I essentially want my cellar split 50/50 into two super categories: wines that are ready to drink and wines that are purely for investment.  The thinking here is that I have plenty of wine available to open and enjoy, while I also have plenty of wine appreciating in value as it matures.  Down the road I can fund the replenishment of consumed wines and also acquire more investment grade wine with the proceeds from the sale of my investment only wines.  If I can maintain this strategy, I can hopefully sustain a nice collection for a long time.

Ideally I would stock my collection with case quantities, but for the purpose of this exercise, I’m listing quantities no greater than 6 so I can feature more diversity of regions and producers.  After all, as much as I value balance in a wine, I value balance in a collection.  Also, it should be noted I’m moving forward considering money as no object because, well…I’ll let you in on a little secret, I’m still paying student loans and investment grade wine is not in my budget.  Without further ado…

Continue reading The 100 Bottle Cellar – Chris Caughman

A New Way To Fund Your Wine Collection

Imagine being able to share great wines with your collector friends and make some extra cash to fund your collection at the same time.  Direct selling wine is a hot new trend in the wine industry that embraces the home collector as wine sales rep. Think Avon parties, but for wine.

WineShop at Home and other similar retailers are sending representatives half a dozen bottles of wine for tastings. The reps can then take the orders and the companies will deliver the wine. Those who do this as their sole job are making a nice chunk of income and it doesn’t take up too much time. It is a neat newer way for wine lovers to share their interests and make some extra cash doing it.

“Jenny Kuzbek was a part-time elementary school teacher living in a small town near Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and three children when she signed up with Traveling Vineyards in March. By late 2014, she had stopped teaching and focused exclusively on direct selling. She holds six tastings a month and the work has provided her with enough income to allow her to be a stay-at-home mother.”

Read more about at-home sellers at BBC

Sommeliers Are The New Teachers

As wine collectors, should we be spending more time getting educated by our sommeliers?

David White discovers more about today’s sommeliers and the ways in which they want to share their knowledge with the incoming wine enthusiasts. He admires how restaurant owner and wine expert, Max Kuller, takes time to teach his staff about the affordable wine they sell, even if they are not sommeliers themselves. Read about how Kuller’s unique and modern approach in the world of wine.

“Kuller represents a new generation of sommeliers, one that has rejected the exclusivity and stuffiness of yesteryear in favor of an approach that values inclusivity and education. Kuller is more comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt than a three-piece suit. And while his list includes a handful of expensive trophies, it mostly offers offbeat, wallet-friendly wines that work well with Doi Moi’s cuisine. Thanks to regular gatherings, Kuller’s team is familiar with Doi Moi’s full list. And Kuller works hard to make sure his colleagues take the interaction of wine with food seriously. ”

Check out the rest of the article at Grape Collective.

Fighting Wine Fraud Is Hard

Collectible wine tends to stay on the market for a very long time and that makes it exceptionally difficult to deal with issues of wine fraud.

Nick Bartman has proposed an interesting idea for fighting fraud in an article at JancisRobinson.com. In the article, he proposes leaving a physical imprint on each wine bottle that is unique to the batch of wine being bottled by that specific bottling plant. Because the machinery for creating wine bottles is large and expensive, it supposedly wouldn’t make any sense for a wine fraudster to try and replicate the process.

His anti-fraud proposal rests on a fairly straightforward, though flawed, assertion:

Something that is difficult and costly to replicate today will also be difficult and costly to replicate in the future. 

Continue reading Fighting Wine Fraud Is Hard

Building a Wine Collection Starts With Love

For someone just starting their wine collection, where to begin is one of the biggest questions. Do you go for wines that will impress? Highly rated wines? Wines that others are collecting?

In this great Forbes article Alicia Adamczyk boils is down to the simple truth: Start with wines that mean something to you.  She discusses with sommeliers how to build a collection. Gilles de Chambure, John Conniver, and Courtney Humiston say that they can appreciate an extravagant wine collection, but they can all agree that wine and the start of a collection should have history and personal meaning to the collector. Figure out what you like and find significance in the bottles, beyond the year and score.

“Courtney Humiston, the wine director at the Dry Creek Kitchen at Hotel Healdsburg in California, says to ignore scoring and classifications. ‘One of the joys of a wine collection is pulling a special bottle 10 years after you first tasted it and being able to share the story of that first discovery with your friends and loved ones,’ says Humiston. ‘Having a personal connection to the wines in your cellar, to me, is very important. Otherwise, it’s just a cold room full of very expensive fermented grape juice.’”

Check out the rest of the article at Forbes.com

How-To Guide For Selling Your Wine Collection – Part 1: Where?

This is the first in a two part series on selling all or part of your wine collection. This installment covers choosing the correct avenue for selling your wine. Stay tuned for our next installment as we walk through all the tips and gotchas for rebalancing your collection. 

Why Sell?

As a collector, you may have a number of bottles in your cellar that you are looking to part with. It could be that the bottles are getting late in their drink date, you have too much wine to ever drink, or your tastes have changed and you want to rebalance your collection. If you’re looking to keep to the New Year resolution of getting your cellar in shape, or perhaps it’s because you may be moving and will have less room for your wines, or reaching retirement, or would like cash for a child’s college fund, here is a guide to nudge you in the right direction for selling your collection. We are going to provide a multi step guide on the different ways you can sell parts or all of your wine collection.

Continue reading How-To Guide For Selling Your Wine Collection – Part 1: Where?

Be wary who you invest with

Here at Wine Posts, we collect wine for a simple reason: because we enjoy it and like to drink it. Investing in wine is a more dubious process. Yes, first growth Bordeaux and collectible Burgundy has a great history of appreciation, as a quick search on WinePrices will tell you.  However,  between questionable vintages, ratings misses, shady partners and moving markets, it’s easy to get burned when your sole goal for collecting wine is to use it as an investment.

Continue reading Be wary who you invest with