Collecting wine is a craft that has existed since the days of the Roman Empire. Back then, wine collectors stored wine for aging purposes so that it could fetch a higher price. In the present day, the practice of collecting wine has the element of prestige. Cellaring wine goes beyond having an extensive knowledge of this industry; you need to prove it too. While there are numerous wine collectors around the world, this article focuses on the top five collectors based on the size of their collection.
1) Milestii Mici
Milestii Mici is the most renowned wine collector in the world with a staggering collection of over two million bottles. Milestii Mici has dedicated his life to collecting the best bottles available ranging from red wine to white wine. He has a preference towards red wine as evident in his vast collection of 70% red wine, 20% white wine and 10% dessert wine. He has even gained the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records, who recognized his efforts and contribution to wine cellaring. Milestii Mici stores his wine in an underground winery that is nothing short of perfection. If you are ever lucky enough to visit this wine city, be prepared to drive around a complex that spans over 250 kilometers.
2) Bern’s Steakhouse
Bern’s Steakhouse is the second largest wine collector in the world with a stash of five hundred thousand bottles amassed since 1956. Not too shabby either. Located in Florida, this family business continues to expand with a restaurant and wine and liquor store to boot. Famous for its rare variety of wines, it is no wonder even President George Bush dined there while in office.
3) Graycliff Hotel
In the third spot, enter Graycliff Hotel with over two hundred and fifty thousand bottles. This hotel was started in the Bahamas by a pirate by the same name back in 1740. The hotel was awarded the Wine Spectator Grand Award in honor of their dedication to bringing the rarest wines to the Caribbean. The Graycliff Hotel continues to add onto its wine collection with the latest addition of twelve thousand bottles of fine wine from Italy.
4) Bodega 1860
If you are wondering where to find rare vintages from the 1860s, look up the Bodega 1860 wine collection. Located in Spain, this winery has stood the test of time having continued production amidst the civil war. They are serious about preserving history in the form of rare vintages made in the war era. In true fashion, Bodega 1860 has protected these vintages from the consumer greed prevalent in the modern world. If you are hoping for a wine tour, you may need to win a presidential bid first before securing an invite. Bodega 1860 limits its guest list to the high and mighty among us, including political leaders.
5) Restaurant Latour
The spot for the fifth place goes to Restaurant Latour in New Jersey, United States. The man behind this incredible collection of over one hundred thousand bottles is Gene Mulvihill. Gene is responsible for carefully selecting each bottle before adding to his stash. You local supermarket wine brand has no place here. Over ninety vintages grace the shelves of this wine cellar, some dating back to the late 1800s. Maintaining the quality of wines does not come cheap. As we have seen with old wines, accidentally opening the bottle affects the integrity of the wine and subsequently, its market value. Gene has equipped his wine cellar with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technology to help analyze the chemical components and acetic acid of each wine. If you are new to wine cellaring, this wine cellar makes for a good training ground. Gene Mulvihill arranges his wines per region as seen in the different caves of his cellar.
Having seen the above collectors, you will agree that the practice of wine cellaring goes beyond a mere hobby. The above wine collectors did not rise to the top overnight. Successful wine cellaring calls for extensive industry knowledge and dedication. Be ready to invest heavily in a state-of-the-art wine cellar to house your growing stash. More useful tips we gather from this elite group is careful selection of bottles. What is the point of investing in a high-tech cellar only to stock it with mediocre brands anyone can buy off the streets? Do your research and perhaps consider a bit of wine travel. If you often go for summer vacations abroad, forget shopping and sipping coffee in the city. See a vineyard in Tuscany or Bordeaux.