Clever Don’ts Advice on Building Your SF Living Wine Collection

For many homes in San Francisco a wine collection is cool, sexy de rigueur. A smattering of wine knowledge, big coffee table wine books, a starting vintage collection and perhaps a petite wine cellar (or at least a controlled horizontal rack) go a long way in enjoying the oenophile’s life—and impressing guests.

So, where do you start in choosing which wines to add to your prized collection?

Here are some sagely don’ts from Berkeley-based Malik Kalfane who’s amassed 1,000 bottles in his cellar—since 1999 and from all vintner points around the world.

  1. If you think a bottle of wine is going to be really good, then buy more than one. Unless it’s very rare or very expensive Kalfane says you’re going to run into bottles that are tannic duds but you’re also going to uncork bottles that are truly sublime and you’re going to want more than one on hand. He recommends buying at least 3, and if the wine needs more time to age, buy 6.
  2. Wine collecting is not a cheap pastime so don’t be cheap on the wine storage equipment. Temperature is important, but so is humidity, light, circulation and stability. Investing in bottles that grow more drinkable as they age or need an ideal cooling temperature means quality racking, wine cooling and refrigeration and other cellar management tools are trés critical.
  3. Avoid overstocking on your current favorites. There may be a region you love or a particular vintage or type you love now and you buy a ton of those bottles. However Kalfane points out your palate will evolve as you widen out your tasting knowledge of wine varietals and regions. So, don’t stock too much now so that later you don’t have room for the new loves, or you find you don’t even like that old fav as much as you used to.
  4. Don’t buy according to magazine reviewer advice and what’s the popular buzz. This is a common mistake new collectors make. The best way is: build your palate on your own individual tastes and exploring as you curate your collection.