Honestly, if you have any fabulous, expensive, special bottles of wine saved and stored in your basement in cartons or on wine storage racks in a special room with temperature controls and you have reached the age of 80, I believe that you should stop saving and start drinking your wonderful collection alone, or share with your friends and family.
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying 80 is some kind of bench marker alerting you that the end is in sight. Suffice it to say that the runway is getting shorter and I am merely suggesting that you drink up and enjoy, unless you plan to leave all the good stuff behind to be consumed by those who might not appreciate the true value of your collection.
At least that's what I will do if I am lucky enough to have a wine cellar overflowing with aged, special bottles of wine that I have purchased over a lifetime and kept painstakingly preserved while aging properly in our basement! I doubt I will wait to 80 either to start consuming it. But that's another story.
I can assure you that I don't plan to leave any of the good bottles behind...sorry kids!
There are people out there, however, that need to make a plan now for what will happen to their vast collection of wine when they die.
Like me, most of us might have a few bottles on hand to drink at spontaneous or planned celebrations, parties or family gatherings. You might even own one of those small wine fridges to properly chill and hold your bottles of wine. Or you may have a wooden wine rack stacked on top of the fridge and every now and then you have to replace the few bottles you consumed because you don't keep large quantities around the house.
People have a variety of wine collections. Some are small in number yet still need a special place to store the wine. Others may own and store thousands of bottles of wine in temperature controlled environments in their homes.
No matter what the actual number of bottles, wine can be considered an asset to be included in your estate when you die. And, more importantly, if you have what is considered to be a valuable wine collection, then some proper planning should be done in order to determine what happens to your wine upon your inevitable death.
I found this great article that peaked my curiousity in thinking about wine collections as it relates to planning for the inevitable.
Some points to consider:
- Is the person you intend to leave the wine to passionate about wine?
- Do you trust someone to preserve your collection?
- Do you want it auctioned off?
- Do you want it consumed at the reception following your funeral or memorial service?
- What are your heirs willing to pay in inheritance taxes for the value of the collection?
- Who will take care of storing the wine?
- How will the wine be transported and distributed and who pays for that?
- Have you thought of creating a Wine Trust?
- Is your wine collection insured?
Please don't whine if this post doesn't align with the realities of your own wine collection. I promise I won't.
But, if this message rings loud and clear, be sure to make a plan for your wine collection and communicate your plan!
Otherwise, your valuable wine cellar might end up in the wrong hands, consumed without the knowledge of it's true value, stored incorrectly at wrong temperatures with wrong bottle positioning, or improperly transferred across the country in a hot U-Haul to be kept in one of those standing storage units in Uncle Frank's back yard. Imagine the horror!
You can always dream about what you might plan to do with your thousand bottle specialty wine collection right?
Got Wine? Be sure you insure it!