Back in July of 2020 as part of our Cellar Sanctuary Series, we visited the marvellous cellar of Michael Weir.
Michael has built two homes with cellars – not underground but dedicated internal rooms with double brick and extra insulation. He didn’t build his current home but his wife cunningly new that if she showed it to him, with its underground cellar, he would buy it immediately. She was right!
One of the best features is a highlight window that looks underwater into a large koi pond with 20-30cm koi that are decades old and often congregate around the window, watching in. There is a full sound system which creates a cool bar. The spiral staircase can be tricky to negotiate at the end of a night, especially trying to carry glasses and decanters up. He won't confirm or deny if he has taken a tumble in the past!
Temperature & capacity
Being underground the temperature is very stable. There is virtually no daily fluctuation and the minimal annual variation is not enough to really worry about. Current capacity is 1000 bottles and is housing 700. Whilst he has been lucky not to have had too many bad experiences, he probably wouldn’t like to keep super expensive, investment-grade wines for 30+ years, but for his purposes of enjoying a 10-year-old red, it is perfect.
When did you first get into wine
When Michael was about 20, he and a work mate did a wine appreciation course run by wine writer John Jens. It’s been a love ever since.
Most prized possession
Michael cherishes every bottle in some way because he loves buying, cellaring and sharing wine. But he does have some aged Brookland Valley reserve wines that will be shared with some friends in July for his 50th, which he is looking forward to :)
What Cellar One wines he drinks
Michael loves the Brookland Valley cabernet and chardonnay, as they are wonderful Margaret River examples of those varieties. He also loves Petaluma wines, Grant Burge Filsell, the Hardys HRB range, Houghton Wisdom range and St Hallett Blackwell shiraz. The Blackwell shiraz is great value, highly rated, and with 8-12 years in the cellar can easily be up there with a $100 bottle.
What he drinks
Michael is a big fan of Margaret River chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, aged Barossa shiraz and Riesling from the Great Southern and Adelaide Hills. Lucky Cellar One have plenty of those! His wife's go-to drink is bubbles, especially when entertaining, so they have regular deliveries of Croser coming to the house as well.
Advice for the budding cellarist
"Read, read, read. There is so much good information available from Australia’s top wine writers, especially about what is good value and what will cellar well. The other tip is you don’t have to spend a lot of money. There are some terrific wines available in that $25 bracket, that with 8-10 years under their belt are a completely different proposition. I’ve also seen over the years how many of the $10 wines I was buying when I first started, and cellared with success, now retail for $30-$50."