It can take a lifetime to build a collection of fine wines. For some collectors, the years of searching the world’s wineries for the finest vintages is not simply a hobby, it is a passion.  Serious wine collectors understand the need to protect their wine cellars. We also recognizes this need.  Focus is pleased to announce an insurance program designed specifically to meet the needs of the serious wine enthusiast.

Who should consider purchasing wine insurance?

Anyone who’s serious about collecting wine. Typically, homeowners insurance alone does not provide the kind of protection you need as a wine collector.

What protection does wine insurance provide?

You are protected against a broad range of losses, including fire, theft and breakage. What’s more, coverage is worldwide with Chubb.

How do I insure my collection?

It depends on the value of the wine. For one or more bottles valued at less than $1,000 each, you can purchase “blanket” coverage under one lump sum. More expensive items can be specifically listed on the policy, with each bottle described and individually insured for a specific value.

Can I combine this coverage with my other personal insurance policies?

Yes, and we encourage you to do so. By combining wine insurance with your other coverages, you’ll get one policy and one bill for all of your personal insurance.

Do I have to inform my agent or broker each time I buy a new bottle of wine?

Not immediately. If you already have wine insurance through Chubb, you have up to 90 days after you purchase a new bottle of wine to inform your agent or broker. For those 90 days, Chubb provides you automatic coverage — up to 25% of your itemized coverage or up to $50,000.

Frequently Asked Questions

Controlling the environment you store your wines in is very important, but it needn’t cause either a headache or a drought in your wallet. Storing wine properly can be as easy and affordable or as complex and expensive as you allow it to be. Whatever your preference, don’t let the worries of wine cellaring take the fun out of wine.  To help you on your way to perfect wine cellaring, we’ve rounded up some of the most commonly asked questions.

Where can I store all these wines?

There are three recommended places to store your wines:

  • Wine cellar
  • Self-contained temperature-controlled unit
  • Rented storage space

Unless you have been blessed with a beautifully cool, not-too-damp basement, you’re going to need to buy, rent or create a storage space. Buying or fixing up a cellar can be anywhere from a small to grand expense, but if you choose to rent, your fees may be as low as $1 per case, per month.

Can’t I just use a refrigerator?

For short-term storage, refrigerators are acceptable. But for true cellaring, it is definitely not your best bet. The temperature of refrigerators on the average reach no higher than 45 degrees F, the highest temperature to safely keep perishable foods. This temperature is fine for wines that will be drunk in the near future, but it will not allow for proper aging in wines looking for longer cellaring periods. Additionally, refrigerators generally do not maintain a high enough moisture level for storing wine. This will not adversely affect wine stored for a few months, but it eventually may dry out the corks, which might allow air to seep into the bottles and damage the wine.

Does the temperature really matter that much?

Yes, and no. Wine should be stored in a 45 to 65 degree F climate. People disagree on ideal temperatures, but 55 degrees F is accepted as a close-to-perfect temperature. Maintaining the correct temperature is the most important aspect of wine storage, but minor fluctuations in temperature should not be a concern. Extremes in temperature or prolonged variances will damage wine, though. Prolonged temperatures above 70 degrees F may damage the wine’s freshness and subtleties or may cause the wine to cook, robbing it of its fruitiness and flavor. Temperatures lower than 45 degrees F may cause the wine to freeze, expand and push out the bottle’s cork.

Will wine survive a few hours journey in a hot car?

A few hours of heat above 70 degrees F should not damage your wine. Temporary fluctuations in temperature won’t affect your wine. If you are transporting wine by car for more than a few hours, you may want to look into a small cooler or other method to keep the bottles out of the sun and heat. And never leave wine in the car’s trunk.

Could my cellar be too humid?

Yes. Too much humidity can cause mold to grow on the bottles. As long as the mold stays on the cork or around the bottle’s lip, this should not affect the wine. Mold may cause label damage, though, which may decrease the resale value of the bottles. A humidity level of no more than 80 percent is recommended.

Could my cellar be too dry?

Yes. Not enough humidity may cause corks to dry and shrink prematurely. This can allow air into the bottle, oxidizing the wine and robbing it of its fruit flavors. In drastic levels of dryness, this damage may cause the ullage (the empty space in the neck of a bottle) to increase. The importance of humidity is a topic of debate in connoisseur circles, but keeping your wine at average humidity levels is suggested.

Does light damage wine?

Colored glass is used for most bottles as a preventive measure against the potential heating and aging influences of the sun. Some wine collectors believe fluorescent light adversely affects wine, but there is no evidence to prove this theory. Still, keeping your cellar dark in between visits is a wise idea.

Will vibrations disturb my wine?

Even if you live above a train station, vibrations should not adversely affect your wines. The worst vibrations can do is disturb the sediment. You should not concern yourself with the vibrations caused by refrigerators, storage units or from a frequently used staircase.

Is it necessary to store bottles on their side?

It has long been believed that bottles should be stored on their side. This allows the wine to keep the cork wet, preventing it from drying out. There is no evidence that keeping the bottles on their side is going to keep the wine any better than setting them straight up, but there’s no harm in remaining conventional here.
This information is advisory in nature. No liability is assumed by reason of the information in this document.