Prominent wine connoisseurs and the occasional wine drinker alike enjoy drinking a nice bottle of wine at home. While some people may buy one bottle at a time to drink that evening, others may have a vast collection of wine, which they need to properly store until they are ready to drink it.
If you fall into the latter category, you may consider building a wine cellar at home. After all, once you have spent money on fine wine, you want to be able to care for it so that it doesn”t spoil before you drink it!
While building a wine cellar at home may sound like a challenge, the key to creating a successful wine cellar is the location.
Ideal Wine Storage Conditions
As you are deciding where in your home would be the best place to build a wine cellar, understanding the ideal conditions for storing wine is important. For example, if you are unsure how to store wine properly, you may build your wine cellar in a location that will inevitably cause your fine wines to spoil.
To properly store wine, choose a location that is:
- Between 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit: The temperature of the location you choose needs to remain in this range because extreme cold or intensely hot condition will ruin your wine. While the cold may freeze your wine, heat causes spoilage. Along with the temperature, the humidity factor of the location is also important. Ideal humidity for wine storage should be around 70 percent. However, any humidity factor that ranges between 50 to 80 percent will still maintain the integrity of your wine.
- Dark: Finding a location that doesn”t receive direct sunlight is another good tip as you are choosing where to build your wine cellar. Because direct sunlight will raise the temperature of the room and may even hit the bottles of wine themselves, it may not only spoil your wine, but also can cause your wine to age prematurely.
- Odor-free: If you build your wine cellar in a room that is exposed to a number of different odors on a regular basis (such as in your kitchen), you run the risk of exposing the cork in your wine bottles to this odor. Over time, as odors come in contact with the cork, they can seep through it, spoiling your wine.
- Well-ventilated: Proper ventilation goes along with having an odor free environment. While a room may be exposed to some odors, proper ventilation can ensure that these odors don”t linger around the cork and ruin your wine. Similarly, even if a room isn”t exposed to odors, over time, it can become dank and musty, especially if the room isn”t frequently used (i.e. a basement). These odors can also penetrate the cork and spoil your wine. Making sure that your wine cellar is well-ventilated will prevent any odor from being around too long to ruin your wine.
Similarly, choose a spot that isn”t exposed to vibrations, as this upsets the wine and could, if the vibrations are large enough, break some of your treasured bottles.
Possible Locations for Wine Cellars at Home
Given the ideal wine storage conditions, some places in your home where you could build an effective wine cellar include:
- a basement
- a garage
- an attic (as long as you choose an area that doesn”t get direct light)
- an unused cabinet, closet and/or pantry.
If you have a few possible locations where you are thinking of building a wine cellar at home, choose the place that is least used but still easily accessible, as you will want to be able to get to your wine without hassle, especially if you are entertaining guests!
Outfitting Your Wine Cellar
Once you have chosen a location with the right climate to store your wine, you will need to get it ready to hold your wine. The only features your wine cellar needs to have are:
- climate control
- racks to hold the wine.
Likely, the location you choose will already be equipped with lighting. Similarly, if you have an air conditioning system at home, climate control is also a non-issue. However, be sure that you have both climate control and lighting in your chosen space before you start setting up the racks, as you may find that you have to choose an alternative location if either of these features isn”t present, or you aren”t able to install them in your chosen space.
If you do a thorough job in scouting out the location of your cellar, you will only have to install the wine racks. Depending on the space your have chosen, you can store any where from 10 to 100”s of bottles of wine. Wine racks are available from a variety of department stores, as well as online retailers. They come in various shapes, sizes and finishes, ranging from wood to metals. While simpler wine racks can cost as little as $50, more elaborate wine racks can cost upwards of $1000.
Tips for Maintaining Your Wine Cellar
Because the wine cellar itself has a relatively simple set up and minimal features, maintaining your wine cellar revolves around making sure that:
- the climate stays ideal (both in temperature and humidity)
- the lighting works
- the racks function.
In most cases, wine cellars need very little maintenance over time.
However, the key to an effective wine cellar lies in organizing your wines properly. While the smaller wine cellars may not need extensive organizing, those who have larger wine collections will need to set up a system so they can locate each bottle without hassle. Some methods of organizing wine may involve categorizing them by:
- grape variety
Choose a method that makes sense to you.