Story by Cheri Woodsmall
“Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives. Its life cycle comprises youth, maturity, old age, and death. When not treated with reasonable respect it will sicken and die.” – Julia Child
One thing is certain about Kansas City. We love our wine. Shiraz, Merlot, Cabs and Pino’s all make their way into our homes. Perhaps that’s why so many wine storage trends are coming out of the closet. Today’s gleaming wine fridges and elaborate wine cellars are becoming focal points in kitchens, dining rooms and main-floor entertaining spaces. From a traditional old world look to clean modern lines, your options are endless.
Make It Part of Your Entertaining & Living Space
From sleek and modern to a built-in look that resembles your kitchen cabinetry, there are several options to choose from when it comes to wine fridges and cabinets. With units that hold 32 bottles to over 400 bottles, there are choices out there for every wine lover. Before purchasing a wine fridge, determine whether you want to serve your wine or store it. What kind of wine fridge you buy should depend on how often and how much you drink. A wine fridge is meant to store wine, not to age wine until it’s ready to drink.
Another important thing to consider, do you drink red, white or both? Many wine fridges feature dual-zone temperature controls. You can set the upper section at 46°F for white wine, and the lower one at 53° or 58° to store red. Wine coolers vary greatly across brands in terms of temperature and humidity performance. The high-quality brands will do a better job of maintaining temperature consistency and stability inside the cooler, and will maintain humidity in the range of 50-70 percent. They also will perform better in hot temperature environments.
Follow Basic Rules No Matter Where You Set Up Your Storage
Simply put, you want a place that has consistent cool temperature — in a perfect world that’s 58°F. You want wine in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Ideally it should be kept on its side and in a remote enough place so not to get jostled or moved around a lot.
Use a Basement If You Have It, And Keep the Wine Cool
The experts at Wine Magazine say, if there is a cool basement space you can trust without light, you can definitely keep wine at a fairly good temperature throughout the entire year. Sure, there are times in summer you may want to move it into an air-conditioned area. When wine gets to a certain temperature, it can accelerate the aging process. If you keep your home at a cold temperature all the time, around, like, 60°, you can keep your wine in a dark room or in the bottom of a closet. The cooler you can keep it, the better.
Repurposed Old Furniture for Storage
Do you have an old dresser or buffet that you aren’t sure what to do with? If you can work within those guidelines set before (cool space, on the side, little movement), you can put wine in anything. One of the most unique things we have seen is using an old library card catalog. How cool is THAT?! The bottles are a perfect fit!
Keep Track of Your Collection Online
CellarTracker.com is by far the best for the organization freaks… and it’s free. It’s a really easy system, and very popular. You can see what other people say and offer their opinions about wine. It’s twofold: You can put all your info and your tasting notes up there, and you can look at other people’s points of view. Bonus — it’s a great conversation starter for that fall wine tasting party! Your guests will love it!
Prefer to Splurge on that Stellar Cellar
Wine enthusiasts like to share their collections with friends, along with a visually dramatic wine cellar. While a well-designed space will put a dent in that fund you’ve put aside for a couple cases of 1964 Chateau Latour, most wine connoisseurs say the investment is worth it. For true oenophiles, building a beautiful wine cellar isn’t just about aesthetics. Other features such as placement, security, temperature and humidity control plus different bottles’ shapes and sizes must be considered as well. From a stunning 4,000-bottle dual zone, temperature-controlled wine cellar with traditional or old world details, to a 50-square-foot, refrigerated wine room that features a sleek, insulated glass enclosure, customized acrylic and thermal metal framing, the choices are endless.
Remember: Not Everything Needs to be Cellared
There are many wines you want to drink fresh, especially younger, hipper wines. Many producers make wines in that style, and easy to find in every category, even Napa Cabs. If you keep your home at a good temperature and keep wine away from sunlight, your storage options are endless. Raise your glass of vino and enjoy!