Saturday, May 03, 2008

Tax Windfall? Go Wine Shopping

I was in the first wave of tax payers to get a tax rebate this year, although I'm sure Uncle Sam would prefer you to use the phrase "economic stimulus payment." Why? Because the government wants you to spend your check--not use it for savings or to pay off credit cards (which is what I'm going to do). (image from

So if you're a wine lover, what should you do? If you are looking to help out the economy by spending your check in the wonderful world of retail, here are some ways to do so while feeding your wine habit, too.

If your rebate is $600, then why not buy yourself a 30-50 bottle wine fridge? These are great for kitchens, small apartments, and small wine collections. Yes, you will fill it all too soon, but with warm weather on the way this would be a nice little treat for you and your wine. Drinking cellar temperature reds in summer is one of life's great pleasures, since the wines warm up slowly in the heat.

If your rebate is $500, then why not invest in some 2005 Bordeaux including some Sauternes, and plan to open them in the next 5-10 years? I'd look for bottles that cost between $25 and $50 and buy 6 bottles of red and 6 bottles of Sauternes. These are likely to increase in value (although, like any investment there's no guarantees), so take care of them and store them carefully.

If your rebate is $400, consider joining a wine club and pay in advance for the whole year. If you love Pinot Noir, Pinotage, and Chardonnay, take a look at the Fort Ross Vineyard Collector Club which sends you 3 bottles 4 times a year, with shipments varying from $80-$110 plus shipping and taxes. If you love Rhone varieties, then maybe the Tablas Creek Vinsiders is for you, with 2 shipments of 6 bottles a year, for $150-$190 per shipment plus shipping and taxes. If you like wines with a sense of adventure, join the Twisted Few, Twisted Oak's wine club. They send you 2 bottles every other month, and mix them up with whites and reds and whatever else the gang feels like putting in there. All of these club memberships come with discounts on wine and shipping throughout the year, so you will not only get a great selection of wine over the year, you'll have a chance to rebuy at a lower price when you discover a new favorite.

If your rebate is $300, why not buy a small thermo-electric counter-top wine fridge and a few bottles of white and red to put into it? You can find these little units on sale for under $150, which leaves you with another $150 to buy some reds or whites to put into it. One blogger, Monkuwino of One Wine Per Week, scored an Emerson unit that holds 8 bottles last year for $59. Looking for tips on which wines to cellar? Food and Wine Magazine had a great list of suggested wines in January, including 2004 Ribero del Duero wines (cellar 3-10 years), 2005 Grand Cru Chablis (cellar 7-10 years), and 2004 Barolo (cellar for 15 years and more).

When you get a windfall, it's nice to get something that you'll not only enjoy now, but enjoy throughout the next 12 months. If you pick one of these options, you will be investing in your wine enjoyment in the short and long term, and giving a little boost to the economy as well.

Or you can do the really prudent thing: pay off your wine bills from last month that are still sitting on your credit card!


Anonymous said...

Here in the UK, i just scored a small tax rebate and was about to order some more 2005 Bordeaux, when the cooker and washing machine simultaneoulsy imploded, leaving me in the negative - drat!

MonkuWino said...

Thanks for the mention in your blog! The two Emerson units are holding up despite the unusually warm weather we've had lately. One stays around 56-57, the other 58 or so even though they are set for 54. Here is another suggestion for the tax rebate: use it to pay off all that wine ordered from Garagiste that piles up that doesn't get billed for a long time and then all of a sudden they decide to bill you, haha..

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for me, my economic stimulus payout will be put towards the taxes I owe, for which I filed for an extension. Wahhhhhhhhhh! Your ideas are much more fun.

Dr. Debs said...

Listen, I'm using mine to pay off credit cards--I won't even have a nice shiny washer to look out. But I think Jill wins the prize for the worst case scenario...

Anonymous said...

I think I'll be using mine to pay for the Intermediate WSET Certification. :)