Once your wine collection is properly stored, perhaps in a well-constructed custom wine cellar, and your systems are appropriately backed up, are you and your wines safe? Maybe not. What is the state of your records?
While most of us are, at heart, optimists, it still behooves us to prepare for unfortunate occurrences. Consider if the unthinkable happens and your wine collection is subjected to fire, flood, heat damage or some other peril, do you have the documentation that will help you when you file an insurance claim? Or should you wish to sell your wine, do you have the records that will establish provenance to the satisfaction of the secondary market?
The ideal scenario is an up-to-date inventory of your wines and receipts for all purchases, which will establish the contents and value of your collection. Receipts can be photographed or scanned at the time of purchase. That’s not difficult. A current inventory, though, requires a bit more attention.
Wine collections are not static and are subject to being consumed (thank goodness!), so periodic updates are necessary to maintain accurate records. That can be done through a homemade spreadsheet or through the many inventory software systems available online. Some are free while others, with more features, are available for purchase.
Admittedly, that might be one of the less enjoyable aspects of wine collecting, but you needn’t interrupt dinner to perform your inventory maintenance. Simply taking a photo of the evening’s dead soldiers provides all of the reminder you need to update your records the next day, over the weekend or whenever you get around to it. The important point is to do it on a regular basis, so the task does not get out of hand nor your inventory seriously out of date.
Another reason for accurate purchase records is to establish provenance—authenticity of the wines—in the event you wish to sell them later. With the increased incidence of counterfeit wines, purchasers on the secondary market are becoming more wary and scrutinizing the source of the wines they buy, particularly those that are rare or collectible. Maintaining a record of the source of your purchases and, ideally, the source from whom your vendor purchased the wine, can help provide a chain of ownership that will set a prospective purchaser at ease.
A side benefit of staying on top of your inventory is avoiding the discovery of the surprise bottle that should have been consumed years prior—never fun. But regardless, I would encourage us all to spend more quality time with our wine collections. It makes one a happier person.
Read Neil Kaplan’s prior blog posts:
This blog post is part of a continuing series offering advice on assembling and caring for a wine collection in your home. Additional information is available at the author’s website. See your local, independent insurance agent for advice on coverage to protect wine and other items of value.
© Copyright 2018 Neil Kaplan; used by permission.