The Best Cellars for Any Amount of Wine

Wine cellar illustration
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Whether you just pick up a few bottles a week, or have been carefully collecting for decades, when you’ve got wine in the house, you’re going to need a safe place to put it. Here are some ways to help determine what kind of storage system you need, and how to best take care of your wine.

Wine Collecting Tips & Mistakes to Avoid

For Everyday Drinkers

Maybe you’re someone who grabs a few bottles a week at your local wine shop, or even a couple of cases. Your main goal is to sip and enjoy your wine, not age or collect it.

Even for a small collection of 20 or fewer bottles, protecting wine from its mortal enemies—heat and light—is necessary to get the most out of every glass. Heat and light tend to be prevalent in places you might want to stash your bottles, such as on an open rack in your kitchen or living room. A small wine cooler maintains ideal temperatures, can help protect from UV rays and be situated just about anywhere in an apartment or house.

For Small Collections

If you plan to age bottles in your collection for a year or more, you need to think about humidity in addition to heat and light. Humidity is paramount to keep corks moist. If they start to dry out, then oxygen gets to the wine and irreparably damages it.

Other concerns for longer-aged collections are odor and vibration. Cigar or cigarette smoke, cooking smells and even scented cleaning products can make their way past corks and into bottles over time. Wine doesn’t like to be shaken up or moved much either. Look for wine fridges with air filters to protect your juice as it ages, and cooling systems that cause minimal to no additional vibration.

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For Big-Name Labels

Maybe you have a collection of valuable wines with big-name labels, and you want everyone to see them. And why not? There’s no reason not to flaunt your Screaming Eagle, Pétrus, Château Margaux, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Gaja bottles in all their glory.

For these collections, you’ll want to make sure your best labels are displayed and accentuated by great lighting. Of course, you still need to ensure that you have a wine cooler/cellar that offers the all-around best protection, as chances are you will be aging some of those wines for the long haul as well.

For Very Serious Collections

If your collection ranges from 100–1,000 bottles or more, you might keep them all at home or in an offsite storage facility. You may have bought some on wine trips around the world or picked up others with the intention of storing for years.

This type of expansive collection has both sentimental and financial value. You’ll need some sort of personal organization system with labels, spreadsheets and tags to keep track of what you have, where it’s located and the best time to drink it. You can create your own custom cellar with a professional consultant or buy a top-of-the-line readymade version to keep your collection in prime condition.

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Published on May 18, 2020
Topics: Shop