Except for saving a nice looking stamp off a letter from time to time, I am not much of a collector. To me collections of “stuff” in of themselves are little more than dust collectors (and of things to collect, dust is not on the top of my list). I know others love to collect things. This is fine. I harbor no ill will toward a collector. It is just not me.

Yet I realized recently that I have, somehow and without any design or intent and despite my most fervent desires, become somewhat of a collector of wine bottles.

Drying Bottles

Wine bottles drying on the rack after cleaning.

This revelation came to pass as we were bottling our 2011 Riesling.

A portion of each vintage I reserve for personal use and consumption, and I bottle those into bottles previously purchased but left over from earlier vintages, salvaged from wine given as gifts, or from any other odds and ends sources where one may acquire a glass wine bottle. Such bottles are saved and put aside with the intention for future use. After all a new 0.75 liter glass wine bottle costs about $1.00 (give or take a bit, and depending on the style and quality), but since I will “reserve” at least 100 liters for personal use each year the savings, while very modest, do add up. And, no, I am not a lush, as I do give away many a few bottles of wine as gifts…..

All wine bottles, new or old, need to be rinsed, cleaned and dried before bottling the wine. This takes a little more elbow grease and work to clean a used bottle than a new bottle. So upon completing this slightly more arduous task for the first set of 45 bottles, I took a short break and looked at the drying rack. It was then I noticed really what an odd and eclectic collection I had indeed achieved over the past decade.

Drying Bottles

Drying Bottles

But wait, it gets even better (or rather more annoying if you are one who rolls their eyes listening to a collector’s loquacious elocutions (i.e. endless prattle) of and about their collection). My little accidental collection seems to span not just a range of colors from clear to green and brown, but also is a fair representation of the different wine regions where each bottle style and shape originated. A few classics styles of such I show below:

German Bottle

German Bottle – what you will find containing a good Gewürztramine

Burgundy Bottle

Burgundy Bottle – with the classic dead leaf green color.

Bordeaux Bottles

Bordeaux Bottles – in all sizes and colors.

I guess every collector has his favorite. And for me it is the Bordeaux bottles, simply because they are easier to stack. My wife likes the Burgundy form because of its more graceful lines. A classic male-female difference when it comes to form versus function? I don’t know. Let’s all open a bottle of wine and think about it.