How to start a home wine cellar
You've got a few bottles of wine you’d love to keep for a while. You might even be considering buying a few more. But where do you put them? How do you store them and how do you get the most out of limited space? Don't worry; it's easier than you think!
Home wine cellars have the following benefits:
You will have a wine on hand that will work with that quick dinner you whipped up when, having rushed home late from work, you didn’t have time to hit the local wine store
You will have a selection of wine on hand that will accompany a selection of varying cuisines.
You will have a wine that has had some thought put into it - not a quick grab at the end of a long week. You will have on hand a wine you know you enjoy.
You will have a selection of wine available when those unexpected visitors drop in - no having to high-tail it to the local wine store!
You will more than likely pay less for your wine. By doing a bit of research on the varieties you enjoy and buying in dozen or half dozen lots, rather than the quick grab on the run, you are sure to receive a discount from your wine merchant.
You may be pleasantly surprised - or not! So you have put away six bottles of that Riesling you really enjoyed to find that six months later that, it is not only enjoyable, it’s absolutely gorgeous drinking!
Try this experiment: Buy a bottle of red wine. Take it home and put in the cupboard, under the bed, under the house, buried in the backyard - this is probably not an option, but could work, I will look into it - just as long as it’s in a relatively cool spot. Leave it for a couple of weeks, then go back and purchase another bottle of the same wine. Take it home, open immediately along with the bottle you have had tucked away. Pour into separate glasses (stating the bleeding obvious) and taste. You will no doubt find the wine you’ve had salted away for a few weeks displays more fruit on the nose and palate and have superior mouth feel with the flavours far more integrated than the “new arrival.”
So How Do You Start a Wine Cellar?
Now with the advent of the screw cap, bottles do not need the humidity that wine sealed by cork requires to prevent the cork from drying out. Nor do screw cap bottles need to be laid down. So if you are cellaring short term and forgo wine with cork closure the requirement for appropriate humidity need not be a consideration. You only have to worry about the other golden rules: light, vibration and temperature.
A place in the home where the temperature is constantly cool (around 15 degrees Celsius is optimum) where there is no direct light and minimal vibration is all that is needed. The styrene wine boxes used for wine shipping/postage are a great way to insulate and keep the light off wine with the added bonus that they stack well. A cupboard or wardrobe on a south wall (in the southern hemisphere) away from any heat source would be suitable. Put your wines in the styrene boxes and you have a pretty darn good cellar!
There is also a multitude of wine fridges/cabinets out there that can handle anything from small quantities to a good deal of wine. You do not need hundreds of bottles to get enjoyment out of a cellar. In every over-stocked cellar I have ever been in, without exception there is a very high percentage of wines that get “lost in the crowd,” wines that should have, could have, but were not consumed when they should have been and thus wasted down the sink.
If you stick to wines with screw caps there is another alternative for storing your wine: old fridge conversions. You can jig the thermostat and by getting the temperature to around 15 degrees Celsius wine can be stored in them. And for a very small outlay compared to the purpose built models! My only concern with this solution is the potential problem with vibration but presumably with a well sealed fridge the motor would not kick in at the temperature required as often as it would for a fridge used in a domestic kitchen. Nor would the door be opened as often. There are numerous articles on the how to of this on the web.
Home wine cellars are easy to set up and the benefits are numerous. Do try and salt away at least a few mixed cases of wine so you have different varieties available and make your drinking more exciting and pleasurable.
Home wine cellars are easy to set up and If you’re ready to start one, no matter how big or small, Michael Davey from WineSeek can help. Visit http://www.wineseek.com.au for a great selection of Australian and international wines at remarkable prices.