Protecting your wine collection

bottles of wine stored in a cellar

A vintage wine collection can prove a great source of pride and joy 

Traditionally, before the arrival of temperature-controlled wine cabinets, wine was always stored in cellars (and before that caves) to ensure the valuable contents were not exposed to extremes of temperature and humidity. A cellar provides an ideal environment in which wines can mature gracefully, away from light; however, occasionally, the very thing that makes cellars so perfect for storing wine can also pose a threat to your precious collection.

Being underground, if your property floods, a pipe bursts or you have a fire and the fire brigade pump water into your property, water will find its way into the cellar and, once there, it can wreak all sorts of havoc.

Floods can lead to treasured vintages rendered anonymous by lost labels, corks contaminated by dirty floodwater and bottles damaged or broken. Entire collections can be spoiled in a single emergency and protecting your stock is a major priority for any passionate wine collector. 

With that in mind we’ve put together some top tips to help you look after (and enjoy) your investment:

Keep an inventory

Make sure you know which wines you have, how much each bottle is worth and where in the cellar you’ve laid it down. There are now a number of apps that can help you keep track of your collection or you can stick with a good old-fashioned cellar book. Whichever system you use, make sure you keep it up-to-date, so you have an accurate record of your collection. You should also keep original purchase receipts.

Tag your bottles

Place plastic identification tags over the bottle ends to identify the contents. Not only will this avoid the need for constantly pulling out the wine, it will also enable you to identify the contents of the bottles with labels that have been washed off by flood or water damage.

Have a salvage plan

Flooding is the biggest risk for underground cellars and poses a real threat to wine collections. In the same way that art collectors have a salvage plan for their paintings, make sure you have a plan for removing some or all of your wine collection if the local water table starts to rise or you live in an area at risk of flooding. This is where your inventory and cellar storage plan will come in very useful as you can quickly identify the most valuable bottles and remove them to a place of safety if it looks likely that floodwater will affect your property. 

Insure your collection properly

Make sure you insure your wine cellar contents for its full replacement value. In the event a claim has to be made, you do not want to lose all of the extra value that has built up over the years.   

NFU Mutual Bespoke Home Insurance is tailored to your individual needs, with meticulous attention to detail paid to ensure that your collection is suitably covered should anything happen to it. This leaves you free to enjoy filling your cellar and opening a bottle or two when the perfect occasion arises.