Intolerable Foodie: Storage Wars

Collecting wine isn’t as easy as it looks, but it’s just as obnoxious

It’s such a foolish thing, my wine cellar. Far wiser, of course, to buy an old bottle of Médoc when I want to drink it than to waste real estate, air-conditioning, and capital on a multi-decade gamble that a bottle will improve. I could use the space under my house for tools or sports equipment or whatever it is that Americans who drink Coca-Cola collect.

But then I think: How do people without cellars match their wines with their meals? Do they Instacart daily? Or do they serve oysters and, if they don’t happen to have a muscadet in the house, settle for a New Zealand sauvignon blanc like a dirty hippie? Some, I know, use that sad little stainless-steel wine refrigerator, which is the equivalent of buying an uncracked copy of Infinite Jest for your bookshelf. Yes, I see that you own exactly 32 bottles of super-cold wine, and yet for some reason I’ll still be bringing a bottle to your dinner party.

I’m building a bigger wine cellar at my new house (my old one holds just 400 bottles and is cooled by a standard AC unit that goes to only 60 degrees and is thereby slowly boiling my 2009s), and there are a lot of decisions to be made. Most important, how do I guarantee everyone sees the place when they come over? Do I want it designed by Premier Cru Wine Cellars, which did work for Trois Mec and Jim Belushi, and if so, how do I prevent people from finding out about the latter? Should I fill it up slowly or quickly taste a bunch of age-worthy stuff at Augustine, the splendid new Sherman Oaks wine bar? Or should I forget the cellar and just stash everything in perfect condition at the Cave Wine Storage Lockers in Glendale, so I can pull out bottles in front of other wine snobs whose respect I so desperately need? Do I even like wine?

I’m going to push all these questions aside and concentrate on lighting, flooring, and an old French wood table. I need a place for people to sit, where I can lecture them. And a thick, locking door, so they can’t run out.