• What’s the perfect amount of wine? Part of the answer lies in your financial condition. Part lies in your ability to house it all properly. Part lies in your psychic make up. Taking these elements into account, you need as much wine as you can afford before it starts to ruin your life, your finances and your relationships!

    For most collectors, it’s unrealistic, not to mention prohibitively expensive, to open a fine or rare bottle every time they reach for a corkscrew. A practical solution is to break down your shopping list into three categories: ’good’, ‘better’, and ‘best’.

    Generally it is a good idea to buy only wines to drink now as you would drink in 3 months. For long term cellaring wines, you should buy as many as you can afford, particularly as the longer the wine will be cellared, the more of it you will need, because you will test it as it evolves.

    If you want to plan your wine cellar with long-term as well as short-term consumption in mind, multiply the annual total  of ‘better’ and ‘best’ wines by the number of years for which you are cellaring (‘good’ wines are rarely worth laying down). The average length of time you will cellar a bottle of wine is eight years; some will age less, some will age more, but eight years on the average.

    It is impossible to predict the exact amount of wine a collector will require on an annual basis, but as the example chart below shows, an average couple could easily go through thirty cases a year, and more if they entertain a lot. You should increase your capacity required if you plan to age wine for other reasons such as: ageing wines for business reasons and for gifts; if you will house wine for friends or family; if you will age wine for eventual sale or if you are building a cellar to leave as a bequest to your heirs.

    Events/mthOccasion‘Good’‘Better’‘Best’Total Bottles
    16Family dinners at home104216
    2Casual dinners for four224
    1Dinner Party for eight224
    4Impromptu visits314
    Monthly totals159428
    Annual totals18010848336
    Long term cellaring (x 8 yrs)8643841248
    Wines for gifts48
    Storage for friends/family0
    Wine for eventual sale0
    Kids inheritance48
    Total Storage Capacity1680

    As long as you take the ’good’, ‘better’, and ‘best’ approach to the wines you select, there is no end to the range of possibilities, or the didactic potential of your wine room or cellar.