Every year around November, I used to get my sticky notes ready. I had a special place in my pantry for holiday wines that I planned on taking to holiday parties; without sticky notes attached that said “Do not drink! Save for Jeff’s ugly sweater party,” I’d forget which bottles I was supposed to save for the event. When you’re like me, and you buy at least two or three party bottles every week from now until mid-January, you need a great organization system for holiday wines that goes beyond sticky notes.
Why You Should Separate Your Holiday Wines
Many collectors assume that they don’t have to plan for storage when they buy holiday wines because they know the bottles will leave the cellar quickly. While it’s true that most of these bottles won’t stick around for long, if you refuse to organize them like any other wine you own, you’re more likely to lose bottles, accidentally mix them in with rarer wines, or absentmindedly drink one of them the day before the party.
Usually, I’m busy getting ready the day of the event, so it helps having a simple grab-and-go system for my bottles. I know exactly where each holiday wine is located, and which one is needed for the event, saving me time and stress. In addition, getting into a routine organization habit will keep the rest of your collection tidy. Organization expert Marie Kondo recommends having a place for every item because it makes you more likely to keep the important things (i.e. age-worthy Bordeaux) in a specific place as well. You’ve formed a lifelong habit of putting your bottles exactly where they belong, not wherever you feel like it.
Two Plans for Success
I recommend storing your holiday wines using two methods: a wine fridge or professional storage.
If you’re the type of wine enthusiast who attends dozens of parties and who always brings a bottle or two to thank your host, a wine fridge designed specifically for holiday wines will be the simplest choice. First, invest in a small fridge that has enough capacity to hold the average number of party wines you buy at any given time. I personally use a 28-bottle fridge because I can store a few bottles in preparation for just about every holiday event, and still have some room left over for last-minute purchases and everyday drinking wines. Next, organize your fridge by event date. I keep upcoming event bottles toward the top of the fridge, while wines for events that are still weeks away get stowed below these bottles. I also keep a handful of extra bottles at the bottom, just in case I’m invited to a last-minute get-together — this saves me a panicked trip to the wine shop. After the holiday season passes, I convert the fridge into general storage for the rest of my drinkable bottles.
Your other choice is professional storage, which requires less work on your part. All you need for this option is internet access and a reliable warehouse to keep your holiday wines in order. First, ship your wine to the warehouse. Then, as the date of the event nears, all you have to do is order your wine online, and the warehouse will ship it to your doorstep. You can plan which wines you want sent to you ahead of time and you can schedule them before you forget in the holiday whirlwind.
I recommend this method for collectors who like to plan months in advance or who have particularly busy schedules. This is also the perfect choice for the finer, age-worthy wines that you want to bring to events, or when you’re traveling and don’t want to take your wines with you. If you have a lovely vintage port that you want to serve at your family’s annual holiday dinner, you can let it age in professional storage first, then have it shipped to any location (even your parent’s house) when you’re ready to open it.
Storing Holiday Wines by Type
Your storage method will also depend on the type of holiday wine you want to bring to an event. Generally, fortified wines like port or Madeira are ideal for winter celebrations, yet their need for long-term aging means that they’re better off being stored in a professional warehouse than in a wine fridge. As their maturation date approaches, they can be stored in a fridge, but you should have a plan for these wines years in advance, if possible. Another wine that does especially well in professional storage is vintage Champagne. Other classic holiday wines like Cabernet Franc, Syrah blends, or Moscato will do equally well in a wine fridge as they will in a warehouse, so you have a bit more freedom. Choose the storage method that works best with your schedule and takes the stress out of the holidays.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s best wine.