Wine connoisseurs, particularly those with sizable wine collections, have special needs when it comes to storing their treasures. Wine is susceptible to deterioration if it’s not stored properly. It can lose flavor or potency if it is not preserved at the correct temperature and humidity levels.
In the long term, it unfortunately isn’t as simple as just putting wine into the family’s main refrigerator along with the condiments, leftovers and everything else that’s already in there. This is because the ideal temperature setting for a multi-purpose family refrigerator is below 40 degrees, while the ideal temperature for wine storage is between 59-61 degrees. While you can certainly store wines in the fridge prior to sipping them in the short term, the refrigerator isn’t ideal as a long-term storage solution — particularly not for a wine collection of any significant value or size.
So what’s a wine connoisseur to do?
If you’re intent on accumulating a sizable wine collection, wine storage is a topic that you’ll inevitably need to address to your own level of satisfaction. You have many options, some of which can get quite extravagant, and some of which are more modest. The way you’ll want to handle your storage depends both on your budget and the scope of the collection itself, as well as the space constraints you have at home. These matters are as intensely personal as the nature of your wine collection is, and there’s no single correct answer to the question of what’s the best approach to storing your wine.
For collectors who have sufficient space and funds, a dedicated wine cellar is the ideal way to handle storing a large wine collection. Historically, wine cellars were located below ground in order to take advantage of the cooler temperatures available down there.
Nowadays, refrigeration and air conditioning technologies have made it possible for connoisseurs to house wine collections on any level of a home; below-ground storage is no longer a mandatory limitation, as it was in times past. However, it does still make sense to consider designing your wine storage area below ground. In the event your power or your temperature controls fail, it would be beneficial to already have the collection housed in the spot that’s closest to ideal.
It’s also beneficial from both cost savings and environmental perspectives to take advantage of the cooler temperatures below ground — particularly if you live in a warm or humid climate. The less you need to rely on your temperature controls, the better.
If your home already includes an unfinished basement area, finishing the basement could potentially turn out to be a means of protecting your investment in your home. According to Remodeling’s 2015 cost vs savings report, homeowners in the recent past have been able to recoup up to 78.2% of the value invested in a basement remodeling project. As far as home improvements go, these numbers demonstrate a better-than-average return on investment.
More Wine Storage Options:
While wine cellars offer obvious advantages, they aren’t an option for everyone. Many homes lack basements, making basement wine storage a physical impossibility. Some homeowners simply prefer having their wines stored closer to where they’ll be consumed.
The good news is that contemporary wine enthusiasts need not feel limited to below-ground wine storage any more. Many are opting to install wet bars, wine storage areas, or wine refrigerators in more convenient spots in their homes, often as part of their gourmet kitchen designs. Some are choosing to create entire above-ground wine rooms, complete with temperature controls.
Under-The-Staircase Wine Storage — For homeowners with space constraints, this is a clever way to incorporate a wine storage area without the collection consuming excessive amounts of space.
These are a few of your options for wine cellars and wine storage areas. Hopefully this information is helpful to you if you are planning to start a wine collection, or in the process of deciding what to do with an existing wine collection.
- At the Wall Street Journal Website — Luxury Wine Cellars Rise Up
- At the FDA website — Refrigerator Thermometers: Cold Facts about Food Safety