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How to Build a Wine Collection

Mable Yiu

We asked Robert Schagrin, founder and managing partner of Crush Wine & Spirits (, to uncork the secret to getting started in wine collecting.


Many collectors start with redwines from Napa Valley—that’s a good start.The essential elements of a European collection are wines of France (Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Rhône) and Italy (Piedmont and Tuscany). Buy some young wines, and while they are aging, have some mature wines on hand to enjoy. And remember that the great white wines—not just the reds—can improve with a decade or more of age.


Drink what makes you happy. But be cognizant of how wines age. You don’t need to buy 10 years’ worth of Sauvignon Blanc, for instance, but having 10 years’ worth of Burgundy or Bordeaux is totally appropriate. From an investment point of view, some wine producers and regions have a better track record for holding their value or appreciating. Currently, red Burgundy is what’s hot.


For long-term storage, white and red wines are both ideally stored at 55 ̊F and 70 percent humidity—and for that you need a wine refrigerator.


Have two sizes of glasses for reds—a Bordeaux-shaped glass and one for Burgundy. White wines and sparkling wines are best served in the same glass. Look for Zalto stemware. They’re not inexpensive, but they will enhance your drinking experience.