“A Wine Collector’s Dream House” – A Rant

An article in the April 2012, edition of Food & Wine magazine got my blood pressure up.  At first I was going to try and ignore it.  Then I thought, “Why not write about it?”  So here goes:  The article titled “A Wine Collector’s Dream House” (http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/home-design-ideas-a-wine-collectors-dream-house) starts with the quote “If wine is something you enjoy so much, why put it in the basement?”  The quote is from an architect Paul Masi.   For a “wine collecting” client, he designed a 1,000 bottle wine storage unit that is set at a house’s entryway.  At least one wall of the unit is glass and it is backlit.

So what got my blood pressure up about that?  Well first people keep wine in a cellar because that is where it is safest.  One thing that is important for long term storage of wine is protection from light.  Light causes photo-chemical reactions with the organic compounds in wine.  You don’t want to drink wine after that has happened to it.  Not only that, since wine bottles are glass, they can magnify the heat effects of light, the greenhouse effect.  Even with temperature control, individual bottles can get cooked.  Cellars tend to be dark.  It’s that easy.

So an architect got carried away, what is the big deal?  Well Food & Wine is supposed to be for people who like wine.  The people who write for it and edit it are supposed to know something about wine.  They should not be showcasing a design that gets something this basic wrong.

There is more though.  This architect, presumably following his client’s interests designed something that makes wine about money and showing off how much his client has.  How much could his wine collector client know or appreciate the wine in his collection when he is willing to let 100 or so of his bottles be ruined?  It certainly didn’t make me think I would like to sit down and enjoy a glass with him/her.

I have an ego.  I am not above showing off.  But when I want to show off with wine I do it by picking a good wine that I think the people I am sharing it with will enjoy.  So here we go, my credo on wine.  Wine is not about money, or class, or being one of a select group.  Wine is about enjoyment.  Enjoy!

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