First of all, we should define what I mean by ‘cellar’. In this case it means your supply of wine (and beer). Storage conditions of your wine and beer will be a topic for another day!
Most home winemakers always seem to be drinking up the last of their batch of wine just as it becomes perfectly aged. It’s also usually the last bottle of wine in the house and now you have to hurry and get another batch on. This means you have to visit the liquor store to get you through until your wine is ready to be bottled. Please note that ready to be bottled does not necessarily mean ready to be drunk.
With a little advance planning and a little math, you can ensure that you never run out of wine again. In all honesty, it will take a bit of an initial investment, but it still beats paying liquor store prices or worse – doing without!
1. First – determine how much wine you drink in an average week. Take into consideration the wine you drink with dinner, birthdays, anniversaries, dinner parties, gifts, thirsty friends, moochy relatives – you get the idea…
Keep in mind whether your preference is for white, red or blush, dry, sweet or fruity.
2. Multiply your weekly consumption by 52 (#weeks).
3. Add about 15% for emergencies.
4. Here comes the hard part….Double it! Make twice your yearly demand in as short a time as possible!
5. Now, put half of it away. Date it, and pack it up and forget about it. For one year! Drink the other half young as you need it.
6. At the end of one year you will still have your whole next year’s supply of wine – aged! Now you have to make next year’s wine. Get another four, six, twelve batches on the go on the anniversary of the first batch and put it away for next year.
Following this plan ensures that you will always have plenty of aged wine on hand. Unfortunately, it isn’t realistic for most people to have that kind of disposable cash on hand to be able to make twelve (or more) batches all in one go, so a more practical approach is to make two batches at a time and put one away. Do this every time you would normally make a wine and you will always have aged wine on hand.
*****While you are doing your planning, there are a few things to take into consideration. For example, even if you are a die-hard red wine drinker, it’s always a good idea to have some white on hand for guests as well as perhaps a batch of sweeter wine or a mist. Dessert Wine, Apertif or IceWine style are perhaps not something that you would normally think of making but would make a great addition to your cellar. They also fit the bill nicely at the end of a great meal as that extra special touch. Great for hostess gifts too.*****
Then there are the Limited Edition wines that all wine kit companies produce which are only available once a year so you must plan to write these wines into your plan. Also periodically, new limited release wines come up that beg to be taken home.
The best part of cellar planning that it helps you be prepared so that you aren’t drinking the same young wine every night. It also gives you the opportunity to take a hard look at what is available and fill in the corners with wines that you always intend to make but never get around to.
Same policy works to a lesser extent with beer. Beer tends to be a little shorter term so instead of thinking on an annual basis, try working on a quarterly basis and plan for your three-month cycle.
Wine is a great idea for many types of gifts. Some people give a batch or a gift certificate for things like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings of close friends and family. Others use bottles from their batch to put in gift baskets, take to parties as a host gift, use as Christmas gifts or thank you gifts. Some also like to use bottles of wine as a gift for retirements, birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, post secondary graduations and many other celebrations.
There are many events wine is good for. Any event you are personally hosting like, Housewarmings, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Christmas Parties, BBQs, Thanksgiving and many various religious celebrations to name a few.
There are several ways to use wine for weddings. Some couples serve it at their reception, others use it as the guest gift, have it put in the rooms of out of town guests and some use it for the surrounding events like showers, rehearsal dinners and gift openings. Go to the weddings page for some great ideas.
Many people find ways to use wine in their professional life by putting it in gift baskets for clients, using it as a thank you, giving it to co-workers at a holiday event, a reward for a job well done as well as many other ways.
Food & Wine Pairing
What you are looking for is harmony and balance in your pairing. Wine on its own tastes different than when it is paired with food. If it is complementary, wine can impart its flavours to a dish, thereby giving the food an added layer, or food can lend its flavours to the wine. If they clash, or if one overpowers the other, the experience will under whelm and disappoint and can sometimes lead to flavours that are not present in either, like an unpleasant metallic taste which can result from high tannin content and oily fish. With the right pairing, wine and food can combine to give your palate great pleasure!