Wine is a delicate substance that is constantly undergoing a variety of chemical reactions. Under the ideal conditions, these reactions happen naturally in a timely, predictable manner. However, if they are upset for some reason, your wine will likely spoil. As a result, building the ideal atmosphere for storing wine requires is key to properly preserving and aging it.
While you may know the appropriate conditions for wine storage, being able to create and regulate them is another subject altogether. As you are building the ideal wine storage space, you will need various accessories and pieces of equipment to help you fully control this environment and, therefore, minimize the chances that an environmental factor will ruin your wine.
Keep in mind that the accessories you”ll need will depend on the type of space in which you choose to store your wine. For example, wine enthusiasts with wine cellars will need dramatically different equipment than the occasional wine drinker who only needs to store a few bottles. In this article, we will break down the necessary wine storage accessories according to the size of your storage space.
Storing Wine in Limited Space: Wine Racks and Refrigerators
Many of us don”t have vast amounts of extra space in our homes in which to store a large number of wine bottles. Similarly, few people have the extra money it takes to invest in many bottles of wine. For those with limited space and money, storing wine means finding a space in which to preserve and age a handful of bottles of wine.
If you fall into this category, then the most important wine accessory for you is a wine rack. Wine racks are shelf-like units that hold wine horizontally. Depending on your needs, you can get a wine rack to store anywhere from six to hundreds of bottles of wine. While lower-end wine racks start around $10, more ornate racks that hold many bottles of wine can cost anywhere upwards of $1,000.
Once you have your wine rack, you will need to find a suitable location for it that is out of the light. If your kitchen receives a lot of sunlight, consider storing your wine rack (and wine) in an infrequently used cabinet or closet. This will not only ensure that light doesn”t upset the wine, but it will also prevent other disturbances, such as vibrations from constant jangling.
Another possible accessory is a wine refrigerator (also referred to as a wine cooler). While these will definitely take up more space and energy than wine racks, wine refrigerators are reliable accessories that provide you with the ideal wine storage environment. Wine refrigerators tend to start as low as $100. While you may want a wine cooler that sits below your countertop (much like a mini fridge would), you can also get smaller countertop wine refrigerators that resemble toaster-ovens.
If you have a small kitchen that can”t accommodate a wine refrigerator, keep in mind that you can install these units in any location throughout your home, just as you can with a wine rack. Closets, cabinets, basements and extra rooms all make suitable locations for wine coolers and refrigerators.
Wine Accessories for Larger Spaces
Wine collectors with more money and space can create a wine cellar in their homes. When choosing a location for your wine cellar, pick a room with few or no windows. In general, basements are ideal locations for wine cellars.
Along with extensive racking to hold your copious bottles of wine, you will need other pieces of equipment that will help you properly regulate the storage areas:
- Humidity: While a hydrometer is a device that measures and provides you with a read of the relative humidity (RH) of an area, a humistat is a type of de-humidifier that regulates an area”s RH. Installing both in your chosen wine storage space will allow you to create the ideal RH for your wine (any RH that is 70 percent or more).
- Light: Although wine should ideally be stored in dark conditions that don”t receive any direct (or indirect, if possible) sunlight, you will need to install overhead lighting so that you can see when you are working in your cellar. When choosing lighting for your wine storage area, choose softer lights, such as incandescent lights, rather than fluorescent light. This softer lighting ensures minimal disturbance to the wine.
- Temperature: To properly regulate the wine cellar”s temperature, install a thermostat and AC/heating unit in the storage space. Choosing a room in your home as the cellar eliminates the need for this installation, as it is already likely connected to the home”s AC/heating unit. However, if you are building a wine cellar in your basement or another region without a temperature control system, you will have to install one, especially if you live in a particularly volatile climate.
- Ventilation: To prevent odors from penetrating the cork and spoiling your wine, be sure that your wine storage space is well ventilated. While a temperature control system helps keep air moving, you may also need to install a few vents and fans (on timers) that will adequately regulate air flow in your wine cellar.