Wine Storage Solutions - THEGRAPE

Comparing The Advantages and Disadvantages of Wine Storage Solutions

Today In Wine 101: Advantages and Disadvantages of Wine Storage Solutions

What are the differences, advantages & disadvantages in wine storage solutions, including: wine cellars, wine fridges, regular fridges, wine racks, wine closets, etc.? All things being equal, which of these solutions is the best for keeping my wines on a budget, which of these solutions is optimal?

If you’ve recently started collecting wines that are both affordable and familiar but are looking to tap into the more exotic varietals that require long-term aging, then you’ll want to find the best solution to make certain your investment is well kept. Whether you’re looking for a storage option that will help age your wines or just store them for a couple of hours, wine bottle coolers, wine cellars, wine closets, wine racks and wine refrigerators all have their advantages and disadvantages. The goal is to find one that offers the best environment for your wines.

Temperature is another pivotal aspect when selecting the best storage method for your wine. It can help ensure your wines age gracefully or make certain the wine maintains its integrity to avoid spoilage. Generally, red wines tend to require more time to age due to their higher level of tannins. However, there are white wines such as, Chardonnays and German Rieslings that can also benefit from long-term aging. “Experts” suggest the best temperatures to serve and store red wines are between 55˚F – 65˚F. If it’s a few degrees off it won’t make a huge difference in the taste. But, bear in mind, if the temperature of the environment goes above 75˚F this can cause the wine to age more rapidly, have unbalanced flavors, and even take on strong undertones of alcohol or vinegar.

The majority of white wines are best served chilled. Ideal temperatures to serve and store white wines are between 40˚F – 50˚F.  The reason you want to keep white wines and champagnes chilled is to preserve their aromas. When opened and oxygenated, those scents become more heavenly to your senses and divine as you savor their flavors.

If you’ve already started collecting an assortment of wines and are looking for the best method for storing them, here are some options to consider:

Note: Each method offers its own unique qualities based on the needs of the wine collectors budget and/or immediate needs.


Regular Refrigerator

Sure, many of us have used our refrigerators to store or chill wine for a couple of hours. Storing the wine for a couple of months is no big deal. Unfortunately, what I’ve learned over the years is that it isn’t the best option for aging wines long term. There are many culprits that can destroy or deteriorate a wine such as: foods with strong odors or rotting vegetables or meats. The odors have the ability to destroy the wine and ruin what was once delicious and sometimes alter the taste in the worst way. Also, fluctuations in temperature can affect the wine’s bouquets, aromas, and taste. So, if you do plan on using your refrigerator to store wines for more than a couple of hours make sure the wine is stored sideways not upright. This ensures the cork is kept wet to avoid the possibility of it drying out and letting air in. It’s not recommended to store your wines in the fridge for over a year.


Wine Bottle Cooler

These items are perfect for dinners, date nights, exclusive get-togethers, small events, music in the park and more. They come in an assortment of designs, styles and cater to wine enthusiasts who are looking to store and chill a wine or multiple wines together for a couple of hours. Not to mention, they have mobility on their side. They are offered in the form of a bucket, pocket sleeve, bags, totes, cases, stands and trolleys. Wine bottle coolers are able to hold anywhere between 1 – 16 bottles of wine with prices ranging from, $6.99 – $119.99 or more.

Some of the more expensive wine bottle coolers offer dual temperature settings, LED lighting, ThermoGuard, and interchangeable storing capabilities. Wine bottle coolers are an excellent choice for chilling white wines or ensuring they stay cool while at a social get together. However, this method for storing wines is not intended for long-term aging.

Therefore, if you’re looking to enjoy a wine or several wines for an evening, event or special occasion with no access to a refrigerator this is a great option to consider investing in.


Wine Rack

Wine racks are perfect for accommodating small, moderate and large sized wine collections! They are offered in, wrought iron, wood, metal or steel and can come in the form of a tabletop, wall hanging piece, individual bottle rack, diamond bin and other innovative designs. Although, if you have bigger bottles, make sure to purchase a wine rack with slots that can accommodate their size (e.g. 3 ¾ in. is usually wide enough for large sized bottles). I’ve seen wine racks stored in a basement, corner of a room, or area of a house or apartment that is dark and not subjected to sunlight. I love wine racks because they offer versatility when it comes to accessorizing a room and are affordable for all types of budgets. Prices range from $9.99 – $1,000.00 or more. Depending on the location you select, you can age wines for short and long-term.

But as the saying goes, “location, location, location,” does make a difference. So try to choose a location in your home or apartment that is conducive to the needs of your wine. What do I mean by this? Lighting/UV rays/Sunlight, drastic fluctuations in temperature, too much humidity in a room, vibrations or movement and even strong fragrances or foul smells can change and even spoil your wine. Remember, wine is delicate and demands high standards of living. Therefore, when contemplating where you should place your wine rack and store your wines, consider all the above factors before making a final decision.


Wine Coolers/Wine Chillers/Wine Refrigerators

Wine coolers, wine chillers and wine refrigerators are essentially the same. These are a great option for individuals who have already established a small collection of wines and are looking to slowly expand their collection over time. This is an excellent option for storing red and white wines and can age them up to a year or two, maybe even a little over two years. They come in a variety of forms such as; counter tops, built-in appliance, freestanding structures, and furniture décor. Look for wine coolers that offer an appealing design that compliment your style or the interior décor of the room and will showcase your wine collection.

Although, when deciding on which wine refrigerator you should select make sure the cooler isn’t too noisy. Some can become quite a nuisance late at night when you’re trying to sleep. Also, look for refrigerators or coolers that offer adjustment levels for humidity & temperature. Trust me these features will benefit you in the long run. Lastly, see if it is easy to assemble, or offers installation. Wine coolers/chillers/refrigerators can accommodate anywhere between 2 – 500 wines. The top brands to select from are: NewAir, Whynter, and Danby. Prices for the best quality wine coolers are between, $169.00 – $300.00 or more.

Although, wine coolers are not regarded as the best option for aging wine for more than 3 years, experts suggest it is the best choice if you’re looking to serve wine or store them for a couple of years tops.


Wine Closet

Wine closets are a cool, unique and an affordable way to store small to medium sized wine collections. You can literally turn one of your closets into one or be a little more creative and store them under a staircase that is not polluted by sunlight or warm lighting. Closets are one of the most affordable approaches for storing wine and are a great place to start. Depending on the conditions of your wine closet it can be a good place to store your wines for 2 – 4 years.

Remember to assess the location to ensure you’ve covered possible culprits that can damage or taint your wine collection like, temperature, humidity, movement and strong odors. Once you’ve covered those points and have devised a way to maintain a wine closet environment that is conducive to the needs of your wine collection, you can age wines anywhere between, 1 – 4 years. But if you’ve recently purchased a more grandeur case or collection of wines that have a peak date… you may want to consider a wine cellar.


Wine Cellar

The crème de la crème for storing wines would be a temperature-controlled wine cellar. It is the best option for storing wines both short term and long term. So, if you’re looking to age several cases of a particular wine or have a large more eclectic collection of wines that require storing for five years or more, this is the option you should consider investing in. Proper aging can improve a wine’s bouquet and aromas, while allowing the wine to gain character and complexity in taste. Wine cellars are perfect for individuals with a more eclectic collection and can store between, 100 – 1000 or more wines. If you have a collection that meets this description, and have the means to support it, you may want to consider renovating a space in your home and turning it into a wine cellar. They offer a huge return on your investment and ensure your wine will be kept in the most optimum conditions. Wine cellars require insulation, airtight environment and moisture barriers. Not to mention the costs vary and depend entirely on the size of your collection, where the cellar will be installed and budget.

Reflecting on the above wine storing methods, remember that regular refrigerators are only a quick fix for storing wines and wine bottle coolers are a terrific option for keeping your wines chilled for a couple of hours but won’t keep for long term aging either. Wine coolers, wine chillers, and wine refrigerators, can be used to store wine for 1 – 3 years. While wine racks, wine closets are excellent options for storing wine both short-term and long-term.

However, make sure to take into account the following: lighting/sunlight, temperature, humidity, movement and odors as these can affect and spoil wine in various ways. So when choosing a location for your wine rack or closet make sure you select a place that will not be tainted by any of the following factors listed above. Although, if you have the means to go all out and invest in a storage facility like a wine cellar, you’ll find this to be the best option for storing wines that require long-term aging for several years or more under the best conditions.\


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