Wine Collections - Putting a Wine Collection Together

A 1997 Castelgiocondo Brunello Ripe al Convento turns a steak dinner into a life-changing event and a 2001 Morelli Moscato d'Asti explodes with sweetness during an unforgettable romantic dessert. These are the moments that wine lovers cherish. This is what "Wine Collections" are all about.

Say you're new to wine, and you go into your local wine store. You see a last-year Barolo, and you recognize the label as belonging to a winery everyone's raving about. You grab a bottle for your special dinner that night. At the table, you pop the cork, pour a glass, and promptly decide this is the most awful thing you've ever tasted. You find out the next day that the wine should have been 'laid down' for 5-8 years before it reached its peak. How would you know?

This chart should help wine lovers of all types quickly identify good ranges of age for a type of wine. It's just a guideline, of course. Every winery has different methods, and low-quality wines of a type (say Chianti or Nero d'Avola) won't last nearly as long as high quality wines of the exact same type. Also, wines from good years last much longer than wines from poor years.

Also, keep in mind that part of what helps a wine age is the Sulfites in it. Sulfites are natural preservatives found on all grapes. If you buy a low-sulfite wine, it will tend not to last for very long.

Given those factors, this chart will help give you a general impression about wine types. It should help you to determine if you grab a current bottle off the shelf at the wine store, is this a wine you should drink tonight or ten years from now.

Wine Type Aging Suggestion Wine Type Aging  Suggestion
Novello Drink Now Chardonnay 0-5 YRS
Amarone 5-7 YRS Gewurztraminer 0-4 YRS
Brunello 4-10 YRS Pinot Gris 0-5 YRS
Super Tuscans 5-10 YRS Rieslings 0-20 YRS
Chianti 0-5 YRS Sauvignon Blanc 0-2 YRS
Barolo 5-15 YRS Fiano di Avellino 2-3 YRS
Barberesco 5-15 YRS Greco di Tufo 1-2 YRS
Merlot 2-5 YRS Falanghina 0-2 YRS
Taurasi 5-25 YRS Catarrato 0-3 YRS
Nero d’Avola 3-8 YRS Grecanico 0-3 YRS
Primitivo 5-10 YRS Insolia 0-3 YRS
Cabernet 10-15 YRS White Blends 0-3 YRS
Sicilian Red Blends 1-5 YRS Champagne 0-15 YRS
Barbera 0-10 YRS Prosecco 5-7 YRS
Aglianico 2-15 YRS Vin Santo 5–15 YRS
Syrah 2-7 YRS Ricioto 3-9 YRS
Cabernet Franc 10–15 YRS Rieslings 0-15 YRS

Dessert Wines 2-12 YRS

Tips to Better Wine Buying

Vintage Charts by Region

Wine Ratings: Looking for the latest wine ratings? Try these award winning sources:

Special Requests

Looking for a particular wine or vintage? Contact Us with your special request. Be sure and include your present location. Tell us the wine name/variety, vintage and number of bottles you are looking for. If we can find it, we will send a response with pricing, shipping, etc.

Bringing back Wine Collections to the U.S.

Wine Shipping Tips

Military Members Shipping Wines Back to the U.S.

If you plan to ship alcohol or wine back to the United States during your next permanent change of station, there are new guidelines that you need to know.

Active duty Army and Marine Corps members, Army and Marine Corps-employed civilians and DoDEA-employed teachers must personally procure transport for their alcohol, and they will be reimbursed for transport costs not to exceed the cost for government arranged transport.

For example, if the government shipping cost for 200 pounds from Naples, Italy to California is $210, but your transport cost for the alcohol is $900, you would only be reimbursed $210.

Active duty Navy and Air Force members and Navy-employed civilians are authorized transport of alcohol purchased overseas as part of their total household goods entitlement. In accordance with the Defense Transportation Regulations (DTR),FISCSINST 4050.1a and the Joint Federal Travel Regulations (JFTR), alcohol and wine will be shipped separately from the rest of the personal property, as unaccompanied baggage and part of the total authorized weight allowance.

The two authorized methods for transporting alcohol are personally procured or government transport. In either case, the alcohol shipment will count toward the service member's or employee's total authorized household goods weight entitlement.

Alcoholic beverages entering the U.S. customs territory are restricted and subject to duties and taxes, to be paid by the property owner. Alcohol shipments to an overseas location will be made in accordance with that country's laws and regulations. As soon as you have your PCS orders in hand, you can arrange for shipping of alcohol with the Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO), either through personally procured or government-procured transport. PPSO will arrange shipments for alcohol of 30 or more bottles using the direct procurement method (DPM).

Government-procured transport means that the alcohol will be shipped via surface cargo container with an expected transit time of 60 to 75 days to the East Coast and 75 to 90 days to the West Coast. Be forewarned that with government-procured transport, there is no climate control environment during transit or storage, and shipments are often exposed to extreme temperatures.

Government liability for shipments of alcoholic beverages is for claims of broken bottles and damage, as opposed to spoilage. This is because it is difficult to prove that the spoilage occurred during transportation and that the item wasn't spoiled before being packed.

Personally procured transport allows the shipper to choose the method of shipping, for example, using a local wine merchant, moving company or courier carrier. U.S. Postal Service regulations prohibit the shipping of alcoholic beverages by mail. Regardless of the transport type, it is the property owner's responsibility to contact the destination state alcoholic beverage control authorities to see if there are any state restrictions or required permits for the importation of alcoholic beverages, and to obtain instructions on how to pay for any imposed duties and taxes.

To find out more about the shipping of alcoholic beverages to the U.S. visit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms website or your local state alcohol control board

For the latest information about personal property shipments, service members should contact the local Director of the Personal Property Shipping Office.