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Get the Wine Storage Your Budding Collection Deserves

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April 29, 2016
Love wine? How to store your collection

If you find that your small, six-bottle countertop wine fridge just isn’t cutting it anymore, it may be time to upgrade to something bigger.

Luckily, wine storage options abound: from larger wine refrigerators, to home cellaring, to renting temperature-controlled storage outside the home. When contemplating a move to a bigger unit, think about your needs and hopes plus what space you have available, said Doug Jeffirs, director of wine sales at Chicago-based Binny’s Beverage Depot.

“If it’s something on the smaller scale, 50 bottles or less, accessibility is really important. It’s good to have it in or near the kitchen. The better ones in that size will have dual-zone temperature gauges, where you keep the whites and the sparkling at a lower temperature in one zone, and the reds at a higher temperature,” he said.

For oenophiles who want to build a home cellar, and perhaps to increase property values, there are two options. People with below-ground basements can do “passive cellaring,” which only requires putting up a wine shelf away from equipment like furnaces and laundry units. Jeffirs said basements keep the temperatures around 60–64 degrees, which is great for wine storage.

For those who want to convert a closet, he recommends hiring a professional.

“If you want to convert a closet, you need a cooling unit to do that. Anytime you build a cellar, it’s going to require a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from affecting the surrounding areas. It also requires the right woods inside the cellar for the racking. Redwood and cedar are resistant to the moisture effect,” he said.

For do-it-yourselfers, websites like Vinotemp and Vintage Cellars have instructions. The costs will depend on the closet size, but cooling units cost about $200, Jeffirs said.

For those who are thinking about wine as an investment, or who simply lack space, renting temperature-controlled wine storage is the best option. Most cities across the U.S. will rent storage units that are insured and temperature controlled perfectly for wine, Jeffirs said.

“If you’re into any kind of investment-quality wine where you need to prove the provenance of the condition the wine was kept in, wine storage is important,” he said. “Get onto online forums and check reviews. Go to reputable storage places if you don’t want to have to worry if your wine is kept in the perfect condition,” he said.

And finally, Jeffirs added, oenophiles going the wine storage route, no matter what they choose, should think big.

“One thing I always advise, just like with flat-screen TVs, is always opt for the bigger unit. So many times people start off with cellars and within a year they’re overfilled and they wish they went bigger,” he said.

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