Those of us who enjoy a crisp, chilled white wine on a summer evening, or sipping a full-bodied red in front of the fireplace usually keep a few bottles of wine on hand. A true wine connoisseur may even be in the market for a home with custom wine storage or a built-in wine cellar.
Of course, a dedicated wine cellar (and tasting room) is a luxury that requires a lot of space, as well as a large budget. When it comes to getting the best out of our wines, there are plenty of affordable storage options. We know you can do better than that shelf above the stove! First, let’s look at the best ways to store wine, and why it matters.
Tips for Wine Storage
Unless you’re a serious collector putting up bottles for years of aging, you probably don’t need a custom cellar. However, wine does need to be stored at a consistent temperature, ideally between 45 and 65 degrees. Large temperature swings must be avoided, and temperatures over 70 degrees will “cook” a wine and destroy its complex flavors.
For long-term storage, your kitchen refrigerator is too cold – although it’s fine for wine you’ll drink in a week or two. To preserve your wines’ subtle flavors and have them ready to serve, follow these tips:
- Heat is very bad for wine, so a kitchen shelf is not ideal. Your laundry room or pantry are probably too warm as well.
- Avoid locating wine racks in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lights. Exposure to light is very damaging, hence the dark color of wine bottles.
- Storage in a cool spot in your home (consistently under 70 degrees) is fine for wines you’ll drink in a year or two.
- Store bottles on their sides to keep the liquid against the cork – this keeps the cork from drying out and letting air in.
- Artificial corks and plastic caps don’t require horizontal storage.
- A wine refrigerator set at 55° F is perfect for storage and keeps your wine at what many experts believe is the ideal serving temperature.
Do You Need A Wine Cellar?
The short answer to this question is no – you can create good conditions to store wine at home in a number of ways. However, if you’re investing in wines to be opened after several years, you’ll need optimal storage conditions in order for them to mature properly. And if you’re a gourmet cook and want to have a large selection on hand to complement your menu, good storage will ensure that your wines maintain their flavors.
Traditional underground cellars were created in ancient times to provide the consistent temperature and humidity levels required for long-term wine storage. Modern wineries still use underground cellars for aging. If your home has a cellar, it may be the ideal location to store your wine collection. Humidity levels of 50%-80% are thought to be best to keep corks from drying out. Too much humidity can encourage mold, so it’s important to test your cellar area. A cool basement that’s not too damp can be used to create an excellent cellar just by adding horizontal wine racks.
What’s The Best Wine Storage System For Your Home?
If your home isn’t blessed with a basement that can also work as a cellar, there are plenty of ways to incorporate good storage practices into your home. Interior designers have unique and creative ways to turn wasted space into wine storage.
Photo Courtesy of The Renovation Spot
Wine Storage in Bar Furniture
Wine connoisseurs may advise against keeping your wine in a bar cabinet, but for short term storage (a few months to a few years) it’s just fine. Look for a cabinet with horizontal racks, and place it in a cool room away from direct sunlight.
Wine Storage Cabinet, Wayfair
Modular Wine Racks
Modular wine racks are available in many styles. A modular system can fit into tight spaces and lets you add additional racks as your collection grows. Create a wine storage area by re-purposing unused space in a cooler area of your home, like an empty closet or outdated wet bar.
Modular racks by Vinotemp
Cabinet-style modular units can be added to built-ins, hung above a piece of furniture, or stacked in a closet for a custom look.
Modular storage by Kessick
The next step up from racks and cabinets is refrigerated wine storage. From small, countertop wine refrigerators to large dual-zone units that hold hundreds of bottles, a wine refrigerator is the easiest way to create cellar-like conditions in your home. Specially-designed wine buffets are even available with refrigerators built-in.
Under-counter wine refrigerators have become popular additions to modern kitchens. They’re an affordable way to keep your collection conveniently at hand. A dual-zone model provides ideal storage conditions for reds and whites, and the best serving temperatures for both.
Undercounter Wine Refrigerator by Subzero
If your enthusiasm for fine wines turns you into a collector, you may indeed need a cellar of your own. WineEnthusiast.com has refrigerators that accommodate 300 bottles. Beautifully-designed custom storage can even become a focal point in your interior design:
Are you looking for a home with wine storage? Whether you’d like a kitchen with a wine refrigerator or a deluxe wine cellar, Sagan Harborside Realty is your best resource for Marblehead, Swampscott, or North Shore luxury homes. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.