One thing that books and courses on winemaking never seem to teach is how to build up a good cellar of wine made on premises. If you’re like most winemakers, you always seem to be drinking the last bottle of your batch before it’s really perfectly aged.
- Determine how much wine you use. This includes your daily glasses with dinner, weekend dinner parties, friends dropping by, birthdays, anniversaries, the holiday weekend, house warming presents, your thirsty brother-in-law, etc. Let’s say that comes to about three bottles per week, all together. Split it up as per your preference for red and white (don’t forget pink and dessert).
- Multiply your weekly consumption by 12 weeks and divide by 30 bottles to determine your first order for your new cellar.
- Each time you bottle put 12 bottles of each batch away in your cellar (or at least a hard to reach area). Make sure you add the date of bottling to each case or write on the shrink cap of each bottle. Now forget about your cellar wines for at least a 9-12 months.
- Drink the balance of your young wine, as you need it.
- At the end of one year start opening those fully aged bottles, and enjoy the tremendous improvement that good cellaring can bring. You’ll be a convert to aged wines.
The problem with this is, while it is very rewarding, you need both the space and the cash to make 12 batches of wine all at once. If you can’t quite swing it, another good strategy is to make two batches of everything, every time you make wine. Bottle one for your use, and put the other in the cellar (away from the prying corkscrew of your thirsty brother-in-law!) Try and stay on a regular schedule – ask The Thirsty Vintner to put you on their “to-be called” list and set the date for that call. Then you can come into the store and start an old favorite or ask about a new wine. Over the course of a year you should be able to get least three or four batches salted away for aging, making a good start on your cellar.