Whether you’re new to the delights of exploring the world of wine or a longtime connoisseur, the experts at Benchmark Wine Group can assist you with top-notch service and exceptional knowledge. As the market leader for professionals and serious collectors who buy and sell the greatest wines in the world, the Benchmark team is uniquely qualified to help you curate a cellar of great wines.
Robb Report Studio sat down with some of the very best at Benchmark to help guide you through the process:
THE STATER CELLAR MIX
A starter cellar should have a good mix of wines for drinking and wines for aging, advises Benchmark Founder & CEO David Parker. Then, use your personal taste as a guide to explore a variety of different regions and a mix of red, white, rosé and sparkling bottles.
Buy three to six bottles of anything that is age worthy, suggests Alexandria Harner, who heads up Benchmark’s monthly wine delivery club. She likes the “one now, one later, and the rest much later” formula for purchasing. “It’s lovely to be able to appreciate a wine throughout its evolution, and this will help you understand the nuances of aging as well,” says Harner. “Wines from exceptional vintages and regions made by highly renowned producers are best when cellared for many decades. As the wine ages, flavors and aromas evolve that are not often available in young wines. These agable gems are highly sought after by oenophiles around the world, as our taste buds search for rewarding and complex flavors.”
A basement or storage space kept at 55–59 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect place to ensure your wines’ age-ability. “As your collection expands and improves, you may want to consider adding an air-cooling unit and a humidifier to make certain extreme conditions don’t affect your treasures,” says Parker.
The most flexible organization systems allow you to be as detailed or general as you like—it’s all about personal preference. “The most important thing is to know where things are and when you should drink them,” says Parker. CellarTracker, an affiliate of Benchmark, is an excellent cellar management tool to help you organize your collection.
Of course, you should always start out by collecting the kind of wines you already love, Harner advises, but for investment-grade bottles some things to consider are: rarity, reputation, vintage, critics’ scores and provenance (i.e., source and storage).
If this all feels a bit daunting, Benchmark can help you create a wine collection with a variety of programs to meet your needs, desires and budget. Easiest of all is the Accellarator, where you can acquire a collection of premium wines with just one click. Whether you’re interested in a balance between instant gratification and a sound investment (the Enthusiast), the quintessential cellar for any oenophile (the Benchmark) or the epitome of fine wine collecting (the Parker), Benchmark’s team of trained cellar experts (they have 30 collective years in the industry) can curate a collection for you from an unparalleled stock of fine and rare wines.
One of the best takeaways from 2020 (yes, there were some) is a deeper appreciation of how pleasurable having an exceptional inventory of wine on hand can be. With fewer special occasions to celebrate, a great bottle can make any day a special one. There’s no better time to start a wine collection—or enhance an existing cellar—than right now.