What Are My Wine Collection Storage Options?

Over the past few years my interest in wine has steadily been growing...and with it the size of my wine collection. My old method of sticking wine bottles on top of my refrigerator to "store" them doesn't seem to be working anymore as I'm quickly running out of space. It also doesn't seem like the most appropriate place to store wine now that I've graduated from boxed wine to more expensive bottles. I was wondering, how should I store my wine and what are my different storage options?

There are many different factors to consider when choosing the type of wine storage that will be most appropriate for your needs. The size of your wine collection now, how much you anticipate your wine collection to grow, the amount of storage space you have available, the types of wine you plan to store, and how long you plan to store them are all elements that should be considered during the selection of your storage method. The three methods of wine storage to choose from are wine cooler refrigerators, wine cellars, and custom wine rooms. While each of these methods has its own unique benefits they all provide the functions essential for safe and effective wine storage; temperature control, ventilation, UV protection, humidity control, and most importantly they will limit fluctuations in any one of these categories. Below we explain in detail the differences between these methods of wine storage so that you can pick the method most fitting for your collection and your intended use.

Wine Refrigerators: Wine refrigerators have the widest variety in wine storage capacity. From compact countertop wine coolers with a 6 bottle capacity, to commercial wine refrigerators that can hold up to 600 bottles, there is truly a wine refrigerator for everyone. The beauty of wine refrigerators is that they can suit so many different needs and lifestyles. Whether you are living in a compact Manhattan apartment or are serving wine out of a busy restaurant, a wine refrigerator can protect and chill your wine collection while fitting into any space. Wine refrigerators typically have durable, metal exteriors with doors and hinges that are easy to open and close for optimum accessibility and frequent use. The fan-forced cooling often found in these units lends them to faster cool down and temperature recovery, making them ideal for environments where the doors may be opened more often—such as busy tasting rooms or kitchens. However, because of the more rapid cool down and the dryer nature associated with refrigerators, these wine storage units are typically better for the short-term storage of wine. With less control over the level of humidity in refrigerators, wines that you are trying to age in excess of one year are better suited for wine cellars and rooms.

Wine Cellars: Wine Cellar Cabinets are designed to recreate the environment found in natural wine cellars, but come in the compact form of a cabinet that can be placed inside a room. Wine cellar cabinets have wood exteriors and have storage capacities ranging from about 100-800 bottles. They are great for larger wine collections and because of their consistent interior environments are suitable for the short and long term storage of wine. Cellar cabinets allow you to customize and choose the type of interior cooling mechanism that will control the temperature and humidity levels. This ability to customize the interior cooling mechanism means that it is easily replaced should anything ever go wrong with it (meaning that your wine cellar will be running for many years to come), and that you can choose a cooling unit that fits the ambient temperature that the cellar will be placed in. Wine cellars are typically larger in size, making them slightly harder to fit into existing spaces than wine refrigerators, however they are ideal for the serious wine collector looking to house, protect, and age a larger wine collection. From short, low-profile credenzas that will easily blend into a dining room or living room, to stand-alone walk-in cabinets, wine cellars have a great degree of variation and customizability.

Custom Wine Rooms: The ideal environment for wine storage is a natural wine cellar. However, the conditions needed for this type of cellar (low light, high but not too high humidity, a consistent 55 degrees) are rarely found in nature. However, with the installation of wine cooling units, this environment can be artificially created so that any room, closet, or basement can be turned into a wine room. Adding a custom wine room to your home or restaurant is easier than many people would assume. It doesn’t require you to have a mansion or a below ground basement. That spare closet in the back of the house that is rarely used, or a walk-in pantry that isn’t being fully utilized can easily be converted into a wine storage room with the addition of a cooling unit and wine storage shelves. For those that do have the space to convert a whole room of their home into a wine storage area, there really is no comparison to other forms of wine storage. They offer the largest storage capacity, complete customizability, and the ability to more fully interact with your wine as you curate and walk amongst your collection.