Wine Awakenings

Wine sales are higher than ever in the US. Some age demographics are drinking more than others. Well, what happens to lead them to a lifestyle of wine drinking and even collecting? How do you store it in each stage? When did you experience your “wine awakening”? Where has it taken you now?

Conversation with a Millennial Wine Drinker (approximate storage needs = 6-10 bottles)

When I asked Elijah if I could talk with him about his wine habits, he replied, “I like wine.”In fact, he seemed to enjoy talking about it. Upon further investigation, I discovered he has found some favorite varietals like Cabernets. Sweet wines are not his go-to, but he wouldn’t be opposed to a white wine. I delved further into his wine-drinking experiences and asked him on what occasions he drinks wine. When going to a restaurant on a date, he will order wine rather than a beer or mixed drink. Collecting a few bottles to share with his friends is something he participates in. He doesn’t really collect wine in high volume, but if he likes a brand, he will buy several to have on hand. He would usually spend $20 or less on his favorites. The grocery store works fine for his needs. He has even invested in wine decanters and aerators to enhance his experience. He seems to have a deeper interest in wine than some of his peers. He has caught the wine bug, and I see more bottles in his future.

Generation X: Next Level of Wine Drinker (approximate storage needs = 50-200 bottles)

I interviewed a more seasoned wine lover next, who enjoys talking about wine almost as much as he enjoys drinking. “Wine makes me a more grateful person,” he remarks. Wine, for him, has a deep meaning in a social and emotional context. “Wine was meant to be shared,” he muses. One thing that sparked his love for wine was traveling to wine country and seeing the wineries in real life. He was fascinated to learn about soil, climate, and weather, creating this amazing grape just right for winemaking. He also had an over-enthusiast wine mentor in his brother.

Dinners out with experienced wine drinkers through work-related outings opened his eyes to the importance of a shared experience in wine. He explained his fascination with how different each person’s palate can be drinking the same shared bottle. Cost and quality don’t necessarily go together, in his opinion. He is still learning and wants to delve into wines from other old-world cultures. He collects and waits for that peak-tasting moment. For now, he does have bottles stored in his basement. For him, this lifestyle is ever-evolving and has no expiration date.

Baby Boomers (approximate storage needs = 250-1,000 bottles)

My last discussion was with an over-60 retiree who happens to love wine. In his early 30’s, he started getting into wine, but it didn’t stop there. When his work led him to France, he used his free time to travel to regions like Burgundy and Cahors. He spent time exploring and even meeting the families that kept the wineries alive, merging the old world with new excitement. He continued collecting when he moved back to the US. He has been storing those keepsake bottles in a wine storage cellar now for some time. He doesn’t mind lower-cost wines, as he learned in Europe; lower cost and higher quality can meet together for a beautiful match. He savors his “good bold Cabernets” and the “bite tart Malbecs,” especially with a rare steak, blue cheese dressed salad, and chocolate dessert. He reflects with unpretentious ease that now is the time to pull out and enjoy his special reserve bottles from France and California. He can open these bottles with peak contentment in this stage of his life.

Each year the bottle is different, just like its drinker. Each stage of life brings a new level of love and interest to this wine-loving lifestyle. Tastes change with age leaving us wanting those deeper, richer experiences. We keep that special bottle for nostalgia’s sake and then one day realize it’s time to enjoy it. As you continue to add to your wine collection, you add to your life experiences. One day you will realize it’s time to uncork a new memory and you want it to taste just right. Practically speaking, where will you store it?

Kessick has over 20 years of wine cellar storage experience and offers many options and solutions for storing your prized collections. See our gallery for ideas and inspiration.