Collecting Wine

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

collecting wine, became a popular hobby in the 1980s. Americans in particular have tended to call anyone who buys fine wine a collector rather than a wine enthusiast, connoisseur, or amateur (the French term), suggesting that the thrill lies in acquisition and possession rather than in consumption. Ever since the development of cylindrical bottles in the 1730s, when it first became possible to maintain a personal cellar, there have been individuals whose purchasing patterns amounted to building up a specific collection of certain wines. The rapid economic growth of the late 1970s and 1980s, however, together with a succession of good vintages to be bought en primeur and the emergence of a truly international consumer wine press (see Robert parker, for example), resulted in the emergence of a significant group of serious wine collectors around the globe (notably in the United States, Germany, and asia). They communicate and trade with each other through the auction houses and the specialist brokers, and for some of them the purpose of collecting is to enable occasional but usually sumptuous marathon tastings.