Mistakes… I’ve made a few

Over the years I have made some errors of judgment while starting a wine collection and thought it was time to confess my sins.

  • Not buying enough of a wine I really liked. As a wine lover and retail salesperson I had access to a lot of great wine on a daily basis. This caused me to be complacent and I often just bought single bottles of wine because I craved variety. This lead to a situation where I ended up with a lot of orphan bottles in my cellar and no frame of reference as to the wines suitability for aging and where it was on the aging curve. Solution is to buy ( a minimum) of three for any wine you want to follow over a number of years. Six or twelve bottles are even better.
  • Serving wines at the wrong temperature. I have adapted my rules for wine service and now like to put reds in the fridge for approximately 20 minutes before serving and take whites out approximately 20 before serving. Traditional wisdom for red wine service is/was room temperature. Most rooms in North America are warmer than room temps in Europe so this temperature adaptation accounts for the difference. I find I enjoy the wines much more now.
  • Not having sacrificial bottles. There have been more than a few times when I woke up the next morning and realized that some really good bottles had been open far too late in the evening when I didn’t have the capacity to properly enjoy them. IE no need to open that special bottle of Super Tuscan at 3am . Solution have a selection of good quality reasonably priced wines and keep them in the most accessible spot in your cellar ( this is especially helpful in a household where there are people who don’t have the same passion for wine that you might have). If you love Cabernet Sauvignon maybe 6 or 12 bottles of something like Wynns Coonawara Cabernet (link) or Edge Cabernet from Napa Valley (link)

  • Not trusting my own palate. I have had the rare opportunity to try a LOT of wine during my career. There have been a few times when I tried wines at public tastings and the sales person told me a great story about the wine or mentioned it would be receiving a glowing review from ( insert wine writers name here) . Sometimes I liked the wines sometimes I didn’t but nevertheless I bought the wine anyway . Years later the wine would be opened and the disappointment would be palpable. Solution , trust your judgment. You only have to make yourself happy when it’s your money on the line.
  • Keeping wine too long. This is a painful lesson. There is a tendency among wine lovers to keep wines in your cellar for a special occasion. Then the special occasion comes along and it not as special as you might like so you keep the wine longer. Resist the temptation to keep bottles forever. It’s bad to drink a wine too soon, but it’s worse to keep them too long. Better to project in your mind a wines potential than to lament it’s demise.

    If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning.

http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers

David Lancelot

Tasting tips and winery visits

Starting and maintaining a wine collection is a lot of work. Also a lot of fun. Part of the process is evaluating  the wines you would like to add to your collection and periodically revisiting  the ones you already own. This can be accomplished by attending tastings with friends or on a more formal basis as a member of various food and wine clubs. Another way to keep up with the annual releases of your favorite wines is to visit the producers directly . This will allow you to see new wine releases , occasionally buy older wines directly from the producer and ask them questions about the suitability of their wines for aging. I would like to offer you some advice on making this process entertaining and valuable. I’m going to structure my advice around traveling in the Okanagan but the information translates well to other regions.

  • Start out on a positive note. Get plenty of rest the night before , eat a good breakfast and bring water with you when you start your day.
  • Brush your teeth in the morning but don’t use toothpaste and the wines right after will taste like your toothpaste.
  • Have a plan. Double check which wineries need/require appointments . IE Laughing Stock Winery in Naramata is appointment only. Nichol Vineyards doesn’t require appointments. Some wineries are very small and close 1 or 2 days a week to allow owners/staff to rest and do other things.
  • Have all your wineries you want to visit in your phone contacts should you need to call for directions that way you will use less data.
  • Bring a map. Most wine lovers only visit a winery 1 or 2 wines a year max. There is a good chance that you will get disoriented in unfamiliar territory at some point.
  • If you are flying you will need some way to transport your wine shippers can be purchased from wineries however I like to go in style so I bought a Wine Check.  See above. This fantastic case has wheels on it and a strap so you don’t need to carry it through the airport. You can put a 12 bottle cardboard shipper or a 12 bottle Styrofoam shipper for better thermal protection.   If you order one from the website  http://wineopulencecanada.com/ please let them know you heard about it from Spit Happens
  • If it’s warm make sure you keep the wine inside the car and the AC on as much as possible. The temperature in the trunk can get insanely hot . Your wine will be compromised before you even get home.
  • If you want to leave it in the hands of someone else  hire a guide and let someone else do the driving. You could even take an Okanagan tour with me ! I drive for Experience Wine Tours http://experiencewinetours.ca/ . We are very highly rated on Trip Advisor  and offer day long tours of many parts of the Okanagan with pick up and drop off at your Kelowna based hotel/motel/B&B plus a fantastic picnic lunch. If you are staying in the south then you need to check out Ron Rocher at Vine to Wine Tours http://vinetowinetours.ca/

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers

David Lancelot

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