Wine-Buying Habits: What Are Yours?

What kind of wine buyer are you? Are you a casual wine buyer who just picks up a bottle now and again? Maybe you’re a hobbyist, someone who likes to search the aisles for wines that look particularly interesting. Or, possibly you’re a collector, a person who seeks out specific wines because of their intrinsic value. That’s OK, we’re not here to judge. No, we’ll let you do that for yourself.

So, just to get in touch with the issue, here are three questions you may want to ask yourself. The questions are innocent enough, but the answers might tell more than you really want to know, as in where your wine buying is actually headed. And don’t forget, the first step is to admit that you have a problem, er, hobby.

1) How long have you been “buying” wine?
Innocent enough, right? Well, if you answer "for the last five years," I’m sorry, but you’re not a “casual” buyer any more. Welcome to hobby-land. On the other hand, if you’ve been buying wine for less than five years, you’re not casual either. Welcome to plausible-deniability-land.

2) How many bottles do you buy per year?
This will obviously vary widely. Besides the wine store purchases, don’t forget to count the number of wines gleaned through winery “clubs,” email offerings, and mailing list memberships. Oh, and don’t forget those impulse buys or wine you discover in your travels. Did you count the bottles you received as gifts? Tried to skip that category, didn’t you?

3) How many bottles do you have cellared or stored around the house?

  • Less than 24 bottles—come on, no cheating. Look around and answer No. 2 again, this time honestly!
  • 25 to 36 bottles—that’s better. Congratulations, you’ve admitted you have a … hobby (wink, wink).
  • 37 to 48 bottles—look, the hobby won’t go away by itself. Buy less or drink more.
  • 49 to 60 bottles—well, you’re starting to look like a collector to me.
  • 61 to 99 bottles—uh-huh, you’re a collector. I see a home wine cellar in your future
  • 100 to 299 bottles—you’re hooked, admit it. At this point, you’ve either installed a home wine cellar (portrayed to your significant other as a “lovely piece of furniture,”), or requisitioned one of the kids’ bedrooms for wine storage.
  • 300 bottles—by now, in addition to filling your wine “furniture,” you’ve probably moved your excess to an off-site storage facility. Yes, that’s the collector’s pride of ownership.