Roger Bissell WIne Collection

7 Steps To Building The Ultimate Wine Collection

Have you ever dreamed of having an amazing wine collection in your home?

I remember the first bottle of wine in my collection which was a gift from from my mother of 1995 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva.

My personal wine collection in my home in Florida represents my evolving palate much like the interests of the world. I am in constant pursuit of different wine varieties and regions. There are over 2,500 bottles in my collection that all have special memories of vineyards/countries I’ve visited all over the world. It also is highly indicative of the types of cuisine I enjoy cooking in my home during the different seasons of the year. I find that the true mark of a top notch sommelier or wine buyer is to find wines that taste well above their price point. Anybody can pick a $500 bottle of wine that tastes great; finding that hidden gem under $20 that tastes like a $100 is quite the skill!

Whether you’re passionate about entertaining guests or you just like having your favorites wines to sip on whenever you choose, I am sharing some useful tips that will ensure that your wine collection is not just amazing, but also relevant and paired with the cuisines you enjoy eating in your home. As always, I am available to personally help you with the process.

Let’s get started!

Be specific (and honest) about the reason you are building a wine collection.

Is it to impress and entertain others? Or is it to have something to drink yourself and/or with your family over the next 20-30 years? Don’t buy into trends or hype! Stay true to what you like and let a professional guide you with that specific reason in mind.

Your palate and your collection should complement one another. 

It is important to understand your wine knowledge and palate evolves as you’re exposed to new cuisines and wine. Have you ever had a great, new bottle of wine in a restaurant that you purchased and when you tried it again in your home it wasn’t as good as at the restaurant? Conversely, have you been to a new restaurant and had one of your favorite wines and it just didn’t taste the same? Usually this is a result of the pairing between fruit, acid, salt, tannin, spice and fat. It just wasn’t the right food with the correct wine. When you have wines and foods that are meant to go together it can be an amazing discovery! Remember what grows together goes together. Try choosing wines that grow in the same area as the cuisine you are eating. Consult with me or any other wine industry professional if you have questions.

Buy your wine from a trusted and reputable source. 

It helps to know a local wine shop sommelier or a knowledgeable buyer who can help save you a ton of money by not purchasing wines that you don’t enjoy or will not drink. Conversely, if you’re on a budget, they can also help you find those hidden gems to pour for guests which will leave them speechless.

wine cellar ideas roger bissell

Wine collections come in all sizes. credit:

Determine the space (and budget) you have to build your collection.

Wines need to be stored at a constant temperature and humidity for ideal aging conditions. Your cellar itself is your first initial investment. Be prepared to invest in a high quality cellar to guarantee your wines have what they need and most importantly, to protect your wine investment.

Plan on only 20-40% of your wine cellar to age more than 2-3 years.

Most people make the mistake of not buying enough wine to drink over the next several years or they buy too much for the long term future and then don’t have anything to drink now. It’s important to know what wines to drink when and not to wait too long to ensure that you’re drinking them close to their peak.

Document what you purchase and what you drink.

You’ll need to monitor when to drink, what’s in your cellar and for insurance purposes. Also, bottles can get lost in your cellar so you should keep track with an inventory management tool.

Host a wine tasting party.

Throwing wine tasting parties with friends or colleagues in your home is a fun way to share some great memories as well as get a glimpse at different palates too.  You can also take turns hosting at different homes and invite guests to bring a bottle each time. Try different themed events focused on certain wine regions.

Unwined Roger Bissell Chicago

credit: Kim Yeoh

Get your collection started with some of my favorite picks.


Building your own wine collection at home requires time, organization, care and a financial investment. The benefits far exceed the costs. because of the joy and sense of pride it will bring you.

Should you need any help or want to have fun with planning your wine cellar, let’s come up with a budget and build one together!

Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today.

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