Pack Rats or Wine Collectors?

It’s not just wine. I looked in my overflow kitchen cabinet the other day searching for hammer one uses to pound meat. I didn’t find it. But I did find approximately 20 wine glass, each with a little logo etched into the glass. How and why I collected these glasses I’m not sure. For the most part they are small, ugly little things I"d not set on the table for a guest. But they did remind me of the various wine events I’d attended.

And it got me thinking: It’s not just the bottled juice we wine lovers collect:

Commemorative Glasses
They take up lots of space. And they aren’t really attractive in a display. But, they do undoubtedly tell the wine lover where he’s been. Generally they are small little numbers meant to accommodate a taste, rather than a drink. And they usually have the "Libby" quality with a little lip at the top of the rim.


Much easier to store than glasses. These remind us of what we’ve put down our gullet. Bonus: you can make a pin board out of them. Of course some corks are themselves different than the rest and these should go in the middle of the pin board arrangement. I’m partial to the corks with little messages on them, rather than just the name of the winery or its web address.

A true space waster! Yet in most every case the bottles that are kept seem to commemorate either a very special event or a very special bottle…usually both. If you line them up in a window upon which the sun shines in the morning or late afternoon you can get a pretty cool visual affect…something you can’t say about corks.

Champagne Caps
They remind me of the prizes you get in a cracker jack box. And honestly, they are among he cooler collectibles. Those little caps that are fastened down upon the top of the champagne cork by the wire cage. If you put about 200 of them in a bowl it’s fun to run your hand through them as you recall when and where you drank each and every one of the 200 bottles of champagne. Bonus: they tend to be colorful.

Winery Schwag
Truly useful stuff. I’m partial to the baseball caps over the tee shirts. In the better tasting rooms you can find fuzzy slippers with the winery logo stitched into its sole. The real prize for the winery schwag collector is the winery logo beenie. Very rare. Rarer still is the coveted Chateau Lafite Logo Beenie.

This is the collectible of choice among the hard core, high end wine drinker who attends those events in which the meal is and its wines are printed on lovely parchment and placed upon the under-plate sitting at each place at the table. More often than not they result from winemaker dinners. Collectors must also invest in either a scrapbook or a lot of frames to display this set of collectibles.


The poor man’s wine collectible. Requires usually a soaking bucket and special soap to carefully retrieve the label from the bottle. One of the few collectibles that the publishing industry has acknowledged and offered nifty little books to paste the labels into after you’ve unpasted them from the bottle.

Wine Magazines
The wine equivalent of National Geographic collectors. Requires sturdy shelving and a good rationalization. Some magazines accommodate this set of collectors by issuing special binders to hold the bound paper. The arrival of the Internet and the recent interest in Beanie Babies has somewhat diminished the once common art of wine magazine collecting

Grape Vines
Needed: clipping sheers you can keep in your car as you drive through wine country. Though relatively rare form of collecting and frowned upon by those from whom you collect them, it is a hobby that appeals to the naturalist wine love and can be quite rewarding. (Once saw a collection of 5 inch by quarter-inch round pieces of vine taken from 30 famous vineyards in seven different countries.) Looks impressive under glass with just the right backing.

A variation of the grapevine turn on collecting. Requires baby food jars, labeling apparatus and lots of shelf space. Begs the question, how do you know the collector isn’t just a poser who went out to his back yard, gathered up a bunch of dirt, put it n jars and wrote on them "Chateau Latour", "Martha’s Vineyard", "DRC"…

Willi Wine Bar Posters
Wine collecting for the artistic. Willi’s in Paris creates artful posters each year, selling them to print wholesalers across the world making more money off them than the actual Willi’s bar. Often beautiful pieces.

Again, more shelf space needed. However, can be educational despite the compulsion to add titles such as "History of the Florida Wine Industry in the 1940’s".


2 Responses

  1. flow - August 30, 2005

    You forgot to mention rocks as wine collectibles. In France they’ve got names for all the different sizes and shapes, and the rocks are attributed to improving the quality of the wines. The famous gallets in the Rhone Valley are mostly too large to lug home in a suitcase, but I’ve got rocks and photos of rocks from vineyards all over the world.

  2. Joe Underwood - November 6, 2006

    I have twelve bottles of wine from 1983 that have been kept on their side and in the cellar. I have twelve more from 1986. I do not drink alcohol. My brother bought them for me when my children were born as something to keep and either enjoy when the kids were grown up or sell when they were grown up. I think the wine was supposed to be from some really fine year in Europe somewhere. I could post the details but I am not at the house right now. Is it possible to sell wine like this somewhere online? How would I go about getting a fair price for it to give to my grown up kids now? Perhaps it is basically worthless. I do not know. Please forgive me if this is not a good place to ask these questions. Thanks, Joe Underwood

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