With spikes in COVID-19 cases this year, many people have started to stock their cellar as they stay at home more often. Bottles of wine were flying off the shelves at the start of the pandemic, but those who built their cellar already were sitting breezy with a bottle of Champagne. As ordering wine online is easier than ever, this is the perfect time to find your best quarantine wines and add to your wine collection!
Here’s how to make the most of the year of quarantine wine:
Prepare A Wine List
Instead of going crazy with online wine shopping, first prepare a list to make sure you have all the different types of wine that you might want for different occasions. I suggest making a simple excel spreadsheet organized by style, country, or grape. You can also download our template for building a perfect quarantine wine cellar here.
A beginner’s mistake is to buy a million bottles of their favorite wine. You’re savvy, so you’re going to plan ahead and have a lot of types of wine around to suit different wine and food pairings, occasions, or guests. For 6 months for an average couple with a semi-diverse taste who averages 3-4 bottles/week, your cellar might look something like this:
- 3-4 bottles of sparkling (Crémant, Prosecco, California sparkling wine, etc.)
- 2-3 bottles of Champagne (include at least one Tete de Cuvée so you’re ready to celebrate when the occasion arises)
- 4-6 bottles of crisp, light-bodied white wine (great for food! Chablis, Grüner Veltliner)
- 2-3 bottles of off-dry white (good for spicy food and hot days! Mosel Riesling)
- 4-6 bottles of full-bodied white wine (Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Condrieu)
- 2-3 bottles of rose wine
- 5-7 bottles of light red (Red Burgundy, Sonoma Pinot Noir, Cru Beaujolais)
- 6-8 bottles of full-bodied red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux)
- 1 bottle of Sauternes or Tawny Port
You can adjust these counts based on your own taste, but I highly suggest having a mix of red and white at the very least. Once you have your list, start shopping around!
Look For Deals & Interesting Buys
One of the best deals you can get when you buy wine online is to order in larger quantities to avoid paying for shipping. Also be sure to subscribe to a few different vendors so you can be on the lookout for great deals and sales. I do suggest shopping from a few different sites. Keep in mind that there is a different person buying for each place. Larger companies like Total Wine will always need to buy in larger quantities, so they might not have the small, artisan producer you can find from a smaller company. Some online wine vendors actually operate under one parent winemaking company. To keep it interesting, I suggest mixing up your stores can give you a really nice, diverse wine collection.
Consider signing up for a monthly or quarterly wine club that can help you keep your stock at a healthy level without too much extra effort.
Get A Wine Fridge
A lot of people ask me if they really need to invest in a wine fridge. For around $100, I’d say it’s a great investment to protect all of the great new wine you just bought! When I lived in San Francisco, I got a wine fridge from Goodwill for $50. Now, this doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as they can keep your wines cool and dark (around 55 degrees), it’s just fine. You can keep white and red in the same fridge, but just keep in mind you may have to adjust the serving temperature when you’re ready to drink it.
At the very least, keep your wine in a cool, dark, corner of your home without too much access moisture. Sunlight, temperature swings, and fluctuating humidity can damage your wine, even in the short term. If you plan to drink your wine in under a year, it’ll probably be fine in your closet. Just avoid a lot of direct sunlight.
Having a wine selection on hand is a great way of life, quarantine or not! When you can be spontaneous and enjoy a great bottle with some great food, life is a little less stressful.