Collectible Wines or Just a Keepsake

How many of you go out and buy a special wine to celebrate the birth of your child?  It seems to be a fairly common tradition.  Do you drink the wine?  Now?  Later?  On his or her first birthday?  Or do you save it to give to your child when he or she becomes an adult?

Hubby and I started down this wine path together when we first started dating 17 years ago.  I branched off and took it to a different level while he chose to remain  a recreational wine connoisseur.  However, years ago he was one of those parents who thought it would be really cool to buy a bottle of wine from the year of your child’s birth.  Hubby had two sons with the younger of the two being born in 1989.  Hubby rushed out to find a 1989 wine he could keep until Justin turned 21 and they could drink it together.  While he was shopping for wine he decided to look for a 1985 wine as well for his older son whom he had adopted only a few months earlier.  Those wines managed to find their way to my house several years later.  Sadly, though, they had never been stored properly and to add to that, the 1985 was a Chenin Blanc and was already 13 years old.


Rolling forward another few years and I now have wine that is 28 years old.  You can tell by looking through the green glass that the wine is dark brown and most likely pure vinegar, but we wouldn’t get rid of it for anything.  It appears that Christian Brothers Winery no longer exists.  So this wine may not be drinkable, but it is definitely a collectible.

The second wine Hubby picked up that day was a 1989 Sebastiani Merlot.  Although Sebastiani is still around, the winery has changed hands and is no longer run by the Sebastiani family.  Using all my favorite wine search websites, I looked for this one in vain.  All I can figure out is that maybe it wasn’t meant to be aged.  But here, once again, since this wine wasn’t stored properly, it would have never been drinkable after 24 years.  Another great collectible though.


Last, but not least we have a 1981 Ersekhalom-Bischofsberger (Hungarian Spatburgunder) which is actually a Hungarian Pinot Noir.  It appears that this wine would have aged graciously had it been stored properly.  You can find it listed on Cellar Tracker.  This one came from my in-laws.  In the early 80’s, they went through a phase of drinking wine.  There were no wineries or wine stores in their area, so the “wine party at home” concept was born.  They would attend these parties and have wine shipped in.  Once the parties lost their thrill and the desire for wine faded, they just kept the wine in their basement.  When they found that hubby and I were into wine, they brought us their leftovers.  We were actually such novices that we thought we might be able to drink it.  🙂  All I can say is that I am REALLY glad hubby tasted it first!!!


ancient wines

So this is my “ancient” wine collection.  It has no real value, but the intent was sincere when the wines were purchased.  Now they are just a keepsake.  I doubt the boys even know we have these wines from their birth years.  I foresee a special place for all of them on a display shelf at the new wine bar though.  It is one of those things that just makes you smile.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wineandhistory
    May 07, 2013 @ 00:33:05

    My husband’s grandfather got him a birth year vintage French wine (actually he got one year older, because that was better wine, but that just explains what his grandfather was like). His mom stored it for years… but the conditions were less than perfect. Jon finally opened it a couple of years ago when he was about 33. Sadly it had gone bad. But it was still a memorable experience! He kept the bottle for a candle candleabra.


  2. talkavino
    May 07, 2013 @ 08:21:30

    This is the tough question. I always jump when I see the wine with kids’ birth years. I’m holding on to a few bottles with my kids’ birth years, but I’m not sure how much they really would appreciate them if and when we will be drinking them together. But interestingly enough, you can buy some of the older vintages without the need to rob a bank first. A lot of well aged Riojas are available on the market at reasonable and somewhat reasonable prices ( and Riojas are great at aging). I also recently got a bottle of 1979 Satenay from Benchmark Wine Company for $30 – don’t know if it is any good, but at this price, it is well worth trying…


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