Experiences have become a priority among millennials. According to research from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, “consumers are happier when they spend on experiential purchases versus material ones.” An indicator is a recent uptick in luxury condominiums having underground wine cellars for their residents to invest in.
A recent article by The New York Times explores the newest amenity for luxury condo owners in New York City: temperature-controlled lockers. Residents can purchase temperature-controlled lockers in the building’s cellar for $7,500 for 28-plus bottles or up to $15,000 for 70-plus bottles. Many luxury condos also have an in-house wine specialist and sommelier available to host private tastings.
A private sommelier is great for curating experiences with your loved ones at home, but what if you can’t pay thousands of dollars monthly for this service?
Finding a sommelier, also known as a somm, in your area is more accessible and affordable than you may think.
“The best way would be to Google somms in your area. Many somms aren’t only working in restaurants,” said Alice Achayo, Founder of The Wine Linguist (TWL), a Boston-based wine company providing consultation, tastings, and curation.
Sommeliers started offering private tastings during the pandemic when the restaurants where they worked were shut down.
“Somms needed to make money, so they started to use their skills to make money outside of the restaurants they worked in. Now you have somms offering private services,” Achayo shared.
While there isn’t an official database of private somms, Achayo suggests Googling “private somms in my area” or checking out Telesomm, a website connecting wine enthusiasts to sommeliers for private wine experiences.
Tips For Building A Solid Wine Collection For Your Home
“Don’t focus on buying wine based on the brand, popularity, or what other people think. Buy what you want to drink. Consider the foods you eat often and the spice and herbs you cook with the most. Ultimately you want to have wines that would go with those foods,” said Achayo.
The wine entrepreneur suggests getting a temperature-controlled fridge to store the wine you plan to age. “A proper wine fridge will house your reds, whites, and sparkling wines at a controlled temperature,” Achayo shared.
She also suggests storing wine in boxes and not at a proper temperature most likely won’t help your wines age well.
“Storing your wine in a controlled temperate is important because when you decide to open it in 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years, it hasn’t gone bad because you stored it at a proper temperature,” Achayo advised.
If you’re new to collecting wine, chances are you won’t know what you like. Achayo suggests trying different wines to expand your palette. Figure out why you like the wine and describe what you like about it. This will help when curating your wine style.
Finding Wine Events In Your Community
Attending wine events is a great way to learn more about your preferences and meet experts in the industry that can guide you.
Visiting your local fine wine shop is a great place to start. They usually have free weekly tastings.
“This is a really good way to try a wine before buying the whole bottle,” Achayo said.
Not only can you try different wines, but you can also learn what you like and dislike about those wines before committing to a purchase.
Achayo also let us in on a significant wine hack: befriending the staff at the wine shop.
“They can help you figure out what you like. You can build a rapport with them; they will help you try different wines and learn your palette. Every time you go in and give them feedback on the last wine they sold to you, they make a note of your palette. You’re essentially curating your palette together with them,” she said.
Every wine shop isn’t like this. Avoid large liquor stores and find smaller neighborhood establishments. You can usually tell when places are passionate and knowledgeable about wines as soon as you walk in. Look for wine shops that house wines from around the world.
When it comes to curating a home, experiences help define your interior. Your home tells a story of the places you’ve been and the things you’ve done. When inviting friends and family over for a visit, you want them to experience your home with you. A great way to entertain guests is by exploring your tastebuds over food and wine.
“I’ve definitely seen that there has been growth in people wanting and investing in experiences,” Achayo said. “A group of women hired me to host their Valentine’s Day celebration. They wanted the experience of having a somm come into their home and do a tasting.”
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by Stephanie Taylor | February 3, 2023
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