A carefully collected and curated wine cellar is something not just to savour on the taste buds – it’s a thing of joy and pride, something to share and show off.
We’ve come a long way since we stored our prized vintages in caves buried deep beneath the surface but whether your collection is kept in a temperature-controlled room next to the kitchen, or in a specially constructed basement beneath your property, you’ll want to make sure it’s properly protected.
Fire and water can destroy your wine in a flash, so we’ve put together some ideas to help give you some peace of mind.
When an emergency strikes, by its very nature you often don’t have time to save what’s precious to you. A flooded cellar, a burst pipe or water pumped from the firefighter’s hose can all destroy treasured collections – from loosened labels to rotten corks or smashed bottles. There are some simple steps you can take to limit or mitigate the disaster:
1. Know your wines
You have probably spent a lifetime learning about (and tasting) the best wines the world has to offer, from the ancient houses of Europe to the disrupter estates of the New World. But have you got a record of what’s actually in your collection? Whether it’s a digital app or a traditional cellar book, knowing your inventory can be a major help if the worst happens.
2. Use identity tags
It might sound time-consuming but tagging your collection in a non-perishable material such as plastic, wood or metal can make it easier to identify any wines that are damaged as a result of a flood or water damage. Labels can become detached from their bottles, or bottles can get broken so if you can tell what you’ve lost, it will be easier to replace. It’s also good cellar management because you can tell at a glance what is in the rack without having to disturb the contents.
3. What is your exit plan?
Just as we plan for our financial futures and protect our assets as best we can, you should really be thinking about your valuable collections – whether that is art, high-value cars, jewellery or…wine! When Windsor Castle caught fire, hundreds of firefighters and volunteers helped rescue Her Majesty’s precious art collection. You may have to rely on your own resources when the time comes, so having a plan to salvage as much as you can could pay dividends. Prepare a brief disaster recovery plan for your treasured possessions, using your inventory record to identify what needs to be saved first. Knowing where your most valuable wines are stored and how you would be able to safely remove them (without putting yourself or anyone else at risk) is a great place to start.
4. Be prepared with the right insurance
It goes without saying that having the right insurance cover in place will save a lot of head and heartaches if disaster does strike. We work with our Private Clients to make sure the cover we provide leaves no bottle unturned. When the time is right to replace what is lost or damaged, you’ll be able to pop a cork and raise a glass or two in celebration rather than commiseration.
ANDREW FRAIWALD Cert CII
Private Client & Portfolio Broking Team Leader