There are wine drinkers and then there are wine lovers, for whom the drink stirs passion. If you fall into the latter category, perhaps you’ve considered adding a wine cellar or dedicated wine refrigerator.
Do you need it? Most wines today have already aged about two years from making to purchase and therefore are meant to be enjoyed soon after buying. If, however, you want to begin acquiring wines that are suitable for storing and aging, the ingredients for success are rigorous.
Storage priorities. If you are weighing the options for more storage, then you must intend to accumulate a fairly large wine collection. To justify the expense, your wine collection would need to be substantial — at least many dozens if not hundreds of wines. The cost of building a dedicated facility would be prohibitive for anything less.
When it comes to storage, environmental conditions are essential and temperature is of foremost concern. Wine must be stored in a tight temperature range of 55 degrees to 60 degrees. The humidity must not be below 57 percent or else the cork may shrink and cause slow evaporation and even spoilage.
Wine should be stored lying on its side, not standing. There should be no vibration, so a storage place under the stairs is not a good idea. Lighting should be minimal. Ideally, the storage should be in the dark except for when retrieving a bottle.
Building storage. You may naturally think that your basement would be ideal. Measure the temperature over an extended time. Does it consistently fall in that 55-to-60-degree range? What about humidity and potential for the bottles to be disturbed by vibration? If not, adding a refrigerator or building a separate cellar might be a better option.
To build a cellar capable of holding the amount of wine in question would cost thousands. You must designate a space, frame it, and then add insulation, sheetrock and flooring. It must remain dark 99 percent of the time. The lighting that you do have cannot be incandescent. Temperature and humidity must be tightly maintained, which can best be accomplished with a foam insulation in the walls that acts as both an insulator and vapor barrier.
If you don’t have the space and budget for a cellar, then a wine refrigerator would be your best option. Choices go from mini refrigerators that slip under your kitchen counter to larger sizes requiring their own space. Costco carries affordable models, or you can special order more expensive coolers.
Several online resources exist. One of the largest is www.wineberserkers.com.