By Molly Hammond, Storage.com
You might think collecting wine and storing it requires a professional cellar—like the ones you see in the homes of wine enthusiasts and vintners. But if you ask Jake Austard, a wine collector and WSET certified specialist with Vintage Cellars, or Patrick Gilroy, co-owner of Wine Storage Bellevue, that’s not always the case. Actually, there are plenty of wine storage options available to wine collectors. You just have to know what to look for.
One such option? Self storage. With the right storage facility, storage unit, and storage accessories, you can turn any storage space into a personal (and affordable) wine cellar—without the cellar aspect, of course.
What Kind of Storage Facility Do I Need?
Finding a good storage facility is all about understanding your wine storage needs.
- Do you need frequent access to your wine? A facility that’s close to your home will be a priority so you don’t have to drive out of your way to grab a bottle.
- Do you want extra security to protect your valuable collection? Look for a facility that has security features like video surveillance, on-site management, gated access, or individually-alarmed units.
- Are you storing wines in a refrigerator? Storage locations that have electrical outlets in their units are a must (This is a relatively new feature in the storage industry, by the way).
There are two features that aren’t optional with your wine storage search, however, and those are climate-controlled storage and windowless units. You cannot store a wine collection in a storage facility that allows too much light into a unit or that won’t let you to control the unit’s temperature, as both issues can damage your wine.
How Does a Unit with Climate Control Protect Wine?
“The biggest mistake in wine storage is to have the wine in a place that does not have a consistent, cool temperature,” Austard warns, advising that a consistent temperature between 55-57°F is best for storing a wine collection.
As Gilroy explains, temperature changes can accelerate aging and give the wine an oxidized, metallic taste. If you’ve invested a lot of money or effort in building your collection, you definitely don’t want that to happen.
That’s why climate-controlled storage is important for wine. It allows storage renters to set the temperature in their units and know that particular temperature will be maintained.
Humidity is also a factor in wine storage, though not as important as consistent temperature. Gilroy suggests 65% humidity for wine storage, but says you don’t need to sweat if the humidity in your unit is above or below this. However, the unit shouldn’t be completely arid either, which can be prevented with a small humidifier or even a shallow pan of water in your unit.
In short, you don’t have to create the perfect cocktail of conditions for your wine—just an environment that will let the wine keep or age without interference.
What Storage Accessories Will Help Organize My Collection?
There’s no shortage of accessories for wine aficionados, so if you’re really looking to transform a storage unit into a wine oasis, you can. It’s easy to install shelves, cabinets, or wine refrigerators in a storage space.
“A quality wine cabinet is just fine,” Austard says, adding that the cabinet needs to be big enough for the bottles you have, as well as for future additions. “Collecting wine can become a passion (or an obsession), so thinking bigger is usually better.”
Also, be sure that whatever shelving or cabinets you choose for your collection fits in your unit and allows you to organize everything out of the way so you can easily move through your unit and find what you need.
Remember that wine collecting is all about experiencing wine in new ways. Gilroy says you can save a bottle for a special occasion or simply enjoy tasting how the wine changes over time, and proper wine storage will allow you to do so. In fact, Austard says he recently opened a 40-year-old bottle of Cabernet that was “everything [he] wanted it to be.”