Assign the Wine


Assign the Wine



Enjoy a glass of vino regularly at home? Then chances are you probably have at least a small collection of wine bottles somewhere in your abode – most likely the kitchen. But storing them on the counter or in a cabinet or refrigerator is a no-no, say wine experts and interior designers alike.

Instead, to better preserve these bottled libations and display them in a more organized and attractive fashion, it’s smart to consider a dedicated wine storage solution—like a wine jail, rack, fridge or cellar.

“If you care about your wine, it’s important to have proper storage. Otherwise, wines can spoil if not stored in the right conditions,” Ariel Richardson, a San Diego-based interior designer and founder of ASR Design Studio, says. “Also, if your collection is growing, you want the ability to sort and find your wines easily.”

Spoilage can be a serious problem, as different wine categories require storage in a limited range of temperatures, humidity levels and conditions. For instance, Richardson says white wines should be kept at between 48 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit, sparkling wine between 50 to 55 degrees, and chardonnay at 58 to 65 degrees – all of which require chilling, ideally within a standalone or built-in wine cooler/fridge. Light red and heavy red wines, meanwhile, taste best when served at room temperature, which necessitates storage, respectively, at 60 to 65 degrees and 63 to 68 degrees.

“Regulating the temperature of wine is very important. Even minor temperature fluctuations as well as vibrations can affect flavor profiles and the ability to age and can flatten the taste,” says Sarah Wahl, director of marketing for Zephyr, a San Francisco-headquartered appliance manufacturer.

She adds that wine shouldn’t be stored in your main refrigerator, on the counter or in direct sunlight or fluorescent light.

“A brightly lit environment will damage wine over time, resulting in cloudiness and unappealing odors,” notes Wahl.

For these and other reasons, it’s best to at least store wine that you plan to keep for more than six months within floor-standing or wall-hung wine racks/shelving or a dedicated wine cabinet kept in a light-controlled cooler room.

“Try keeping your wine somewhere cool and dark in your home – a closet nearest the northeast portion of our home works great – assuming you keep your home cooler than 75 degrees or so,” suggests Jessyca Frederick, CEO of in La Quinta, Calif. “If you have a basement that stays a consistent temperature or somewhere else that’s cool, you can probably work with shelving or cabinets, as opposed to a refrigerated setup.”

If you have a number of wines that require cooler temps, a refrigerated solution is even better (Frederick notes that you can keep both whites and reds in a wine fridge for a few months, so long as you take let red wine warm up naturally to 65 degrees before you drink it).

“A small wine cooler appliance is sufficient if you have fewer than 18 bottles; otherwise choose a larger unit,” says Frederick, who recommends avoiding one with dual zone temperatures to reduce cost and increase storage capacity.

A wine fridge is often best placed in your kitchen, basement or home office; get a front-venting unit if it’s less than two inches from a wall or placed atop carpeting, and opt for UV-blocking glass if your unit has glass doors.

For best results, consider having a temperature- and humidity-controlled wine cellar built in your basement – if you have a large wine collection, enough space to spare, and an ample budget (they cost $40,000 installed, on average, per HomeAdvisor).

“I would hire a professional for this. There are many technical decisions to make regarding where you want the cellar built, whether you need to add insulation, and if the room is large enough for the refrigeration unit to do its job,” says Frederick.

Regardless of your storage solution, always store wine with a cork on its side to prevent the cork from drying out.

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