Roughly 75% of wine purchased by consumers is drunk within a day or two of bringing it home, but most Wine Adventurers eventually acquire enough extra bottles to make storing wine at home a concern. Our inventory may not compete in size and value with fine dining restaurants or serious collectors, but we want to keep our wine in good shape until it’s time to drink it. Even if we don’t have an underground cave in our back yard or access to a nearby wine storage facility – we still have options for storing wine at home.
The consensus standard conditions for optimum wine storage is 70% humidity, temperature steady between 45 degrees and 65 degrees F (55 degrees is best), no exposure to direct light and bottles kept motionless on their side. These conditions apply to both red and white wines. Where in your home can you find conditions that most closely match these and are steady year-round? Here are options to consider that could be adapted to your specific situation.
Wood or Styrofoam Case. Wood and Styrofoam provide adequate insulation when not placed in direct sunlight or left in rooms subject to significant swings in ambient temperature. Wrapping each bottle in dark colored tissue paper is a tactic often used to shade wine from light, but it also adds another layer of temperature insulation. Use wooden wine boxes, Styrofoam shipping boxes or a cardboard box with Styrofoam inserts like those used to ship wine. Place containers on their side to keep wine on the cork.
Interior Rooms and Closets. Rooms and closets located in the interior of a home usually have more stable ambient air temperatures than spaces built along exterior walls – even when exterior windows remain closed and shaded. Closets and kitchen pantries typically provide the best shielding from light. Adding weather stripping to closet door frames can improve insulation from variances in temperature.
Wine Coolers. One way to eliminate worry about short term storage of white and blush wines is to simply place them in the refrigerator when you buy them. Keep the bottles in the back where they won’t be moved often and use the house refrigerator if you live where winter weather could drive the garage refrigerator interior temperature below freezing. If you have the space, consider a dedicated wine cooler (see examples available from Amazon.com below). While it is OK to store white wines in a refrigerator set to the proper temperature for red wines, avoid storing red wines with white wines being chilled down to serving temperature. Consider using two wine refrigerators, one for reds and one for whites, or a single dual-zone model that allows separate settings for each.
Home Wine Caves. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution and are willing to make the investment, a home wine cave may be your best option. There are two types that can be easily installed.
The first is a closet conversion. The process for creating it is simple: identify a closet you don’t need for other purposes, install racks, install a cooling unit (may require an electrician running power to the closet), then seal the door and any other openings.
The second is a garage cellar. If you have space in the garage, or any other area in your home, frame a simple closet-like space and finish it the same way you would a closet conversion. It doesn’t have to be large, just big enough to hold your anticipated collection.
Check out the video below from Coastal Custom Wine Cellars in Ladera Ranch, California (Orange County). This beautiful example of a professionally installed garage wine cellar may be a little larger than most of us need, but it illustrates many of the considerations to be addressed when installing a home cellar.
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