Wine Storage: Which is the Best Option?

For many wine enthusiasts looking to expand their wine collection, one of the main queries they may have is which storage option is right for their needs. There are many considerations that need to be kept in mind when choosing a wine storage option. For example, if you go down the route of a wine cellar then price and location are two factors that will play a large role.

In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of a variety of storage options for wine including wine racks, wine cabinets and wine cellars in order to give you the knowledge you need to make the best decision for you. 

Wine Rack: What Is It?

A wine rack is a simple linear structure that is designed to lay bottles on their sides for display purposes. Offering open-front, side and back access, these units can either be wall-mounted or freestanding depending on personal preference. 

Wine storage racks are typically made from wood such as cedar, redwood, pine, or mahogany. However, mahogany is a highly recommended choice as its more durable especially in high humidity environments. Stainless steel and wrought iron are also durable options and are frequently used in the storage of wine at home. 

In regards to capacity, most wine racks can hold up to 12 bottles at a time and many of these structures are designed to enable stacking if required. The shelving is designed with notches or indents to securely and comfortably fit 750 ml bottles. 

Pros & Cons

If you are looking for a wine storage option that is affordable and stylish, then a wine rack may be the perfect choice for your needs. Furthermore, this storage option is widely available both online and in homeware stores. 

While wine racks are certainly functional and accessible allowing you to store your wine collection in a central location in your home, many argue that their focus is too heavily put on aesthetics rather than correct wine preservation.

These structures lack the features needed to control temperature or humidity. Additionally, they’re most often designed to be placed in high-traffic areas such as kitchens which means that wine bottles may be at risk of being directly exposed to high temperatures which can “cook” or prematurely age the wine. To ensure proper wine storage conditions, an easy solution would be to place your wine rack in a cool and dim place. 

Wine Cabinet: What Is It?

Wine cabinets are another option for wine storage. Unlike wine racks, these structures tend to be more durable and stable. A wine cabinet is a sturdy piece of furniture that offers doors, side panels, and shelving space for wine bottles and other miscellaneous items such as wine glasses. They also come with compressors to cool the cabinet down to the ideal temperature for longer-term storage.

Made from wood with various finishes, these units act as the go-to storage solution for your wine collection. Oftentimes, individuals would these units as a focal point in their dining rooms. Less portable than wine racks, this storage solution can hold up to 25 to 100 bottles and feature larger slots making it ideal for storing larger wine bottles.  

Pros & Cons

One of the main advantages a wine cabinet offers over a wine rack is the fact that it not only comfortably stores a larger wine collection but also ensures that all wine bottles are kept directly out of sunlight and at the proper temperature and humidity. Therefore, these units are better for longer-term storage. 

However, the cost of these units usually makes the per bottle cost of storage quite high. For larger collections, a wine cellar is more economical.

Wine Cellar: What Is It?

Lastly, offering a more long-term wine storage solution is a wine cellar. Many enophiles that are serious about expanding their wine collection often look into installing a wine cellar in their home. This is a dedicated room often built below ground in order to protect wine from direct sunlight, low humidity and other factors. 

These spaces act as a climate-controlled system for preserving your wine collection. Generally, a wine cellar will feature components such as humidifiers, insulation and other sealing methods to keep the room at the optimal temperature and humidity level. 

The capacity level for wine cellars is extremely high depending on the particular location in which it was built and installed. Many wine cellars can comfortably store hundreds of bottles using floor to ceiling racks that are built directly into the cellar wall. 

Pros & Cons

As a wine storage option, wine cellars are by far the most appropriate in terms of the preservation of wine. Not only does it allow for the storage of an extensive wine collection but you can rest in the knowledge that wine bottles are stored at the correct temperature and in the optimal environment to promote longevity. 

The downside of this option is that it is expensive to build and not always feasible, especially for people who live in a city or those who don’t have adequate space at home to dedicate an entire room for climate-controlled wine storage.

The Best Tips For Storing Wine

Regardless of which wine storage option you choose, there are a number of core considerations you must keep in mind when storing wine. Following a few simple guidelines will help to ensure that your wine is kept in great condition until you’re ready to taste them. 

  1. The ideal temperature for both long-term and short-term wine storage is around 13 degrees Celsius.
  2. Store wine horizontally to keep the wine cork moist which is key to long-term storage and preventing premature ageing.
  3. Keep your wine in a dark area of your home and away from sources of vibration such as a stereo system or your washer dryer.
  4. Ensure your wine is being stored at the correct humidity level. Aim for between 60 and 68 percent. If the level is too low, the cork may dry out leaving the wine vulnerable to oxidization. However, if the humidity level is too high, this can cause labels to peel and make your wine collection more difficult to display. 
  5. Finally, store an open bottle of wine properly by promptly recorking the bottle tightly. If the cork is splintered, a rubber wine stopper or a vacuum pump is effective at creating a tight seal. An opened bottle of wine that is stored correctly can last between 3 and 5 days. 

Here at Small Winemakers, we encourage all our customers to follow the wine storage tips outlined above so that you can ensure each wine tasting is as wonderful as the one that came before. For more information on the correct way to store or serve wine, please reach out to our team of experts and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions. 

Here’s to your next great glass!

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