The Grapevine

Should You Encourage Wine Collecting?

April 6th, 2016

Seems like an easy question to answer – of course you should encourage your wine shop customers to collect wine. You should encourage them to buy as much wine as you can! Well, maybe not … [level-members]

It sounds odd that we might consider not encouraging wine collecting. After all, we really do want to sell as much wine as we can – though that doesn’t mean sell sell sell today at the cost of a long-term relationship with a customer.

And it doesn’t mean encouraging customers to buy wine in ways that don’t make sense for them. It’s probably helpful to consider the different kinds of “collecting” someone might engage in.

For example, you probably wouldn’t consider someone a serious collector if his or her collection was limited to a bottle of first-growth Bordeaux for each of his/her childrens’ birth years. And yet, that’s a worthy pursuit. Sure, we can quibble with the choice of wines – something personal might be better than trophy hunting – but it is a collection, however small, with some personal meaning.

Then there’s the other extreme. Folks who don’t collect, which implies some sort of plan and an appreciation for the individual components of the collection, but who simply store wine. Clearly there are some wine drinkers with extraordinarily broad tastes. But most of us, perhaps after exploring our way through the wine world, settle on the styles and regions and varietals we love. Buying the latest new thing or whatever is hot in the consumer press isn’t really collecting. It’s storing.

While it’s not our place to tell our customers what they should and should not do with the wines they choose to buy, we should encourage them to collect in ways that make sense in ways they may not realize. Winding up with a cellar full of wines you don’t really like is hardly a crime – and definitely a “first-world problem” – but it’s unnecessary and for anyone other than the rare few with unlimited resources, it’s a lost opportunity.

Encourage your wine shop customers to enjoy wine. Buy as much of what you love as you can afford. Explore new things that interest and excite you. But don’t try to buy it all.