A great wine collection deserves perfect storage, and there are options for every type of home—from cabinets to bespoke installations to full-scale cellars
Everyone knows that how you store wine is as important as how you serve it, but what do you do if your home doesn’t have the cellar that your collection merits? Whether you are a serious wine connoisseur or a burgeoning enthusiast, you need to consider how temperature, humidity, UV light, and vibration will affect your wine, and monitor bottles closely to keep them in pristine condition.
The good news is there’s a smart solution for every kind of wine lover and every type of space, from the palatial cellar of a country estate to the compact corner in a city condo. Here’s how to do it:
1. Know the correct storage conditions
According to experts, the correct temperature for storing wine is 50-57°F (10-14°C), with 70-75 percent humidity, beyond which paper labels and corks can spoil. In the wine cellar (or room), fluctuation is the enemy.
“In the past, a cool larder or under-stairs cupboard might have been acceptable, but modern technology now gives us temperature-controlled cabinets, pods, and rooms—much more efficient to protect precious bottles,” says David Elswood, International Head of Wine at Christie’s. “In fact, we’re all trying to recreate the natural conditions that an old-style, underground cellar provided.”
Jan Konetzki, director of wine at The Club at London’s Ten Trinity Square, and Château Latour and Artemis Domaines ambassador, adds: “Aging fine wines in your own cellar is a rewarding process. It provides layers of pleasure, from the moment of purchasing to the moment one decides to pull the cork.”
2. Determine how much space you need
If a traditional cellar isn’t feasible, there is a range of products that will help to store wine safely and, if desired, make a visual feature out of it, too—from fridge-style wine cabinets and rooms to compact, modular cellars ingeniously set into the floor. Once the decision has been made to create dedicated wine storage, the solution really comes down to space and taste.
3. Work with an expert
Paul van Maaren of UK-based Wine by Design echoes the importance of getting it right the first time. “I project-manage every job and I only do 10 to 15 a year,” he says. “If you don’t do it correctly, the storage might work for two years and then it will fail. More often than not my clients are storing between £100,000 and £2,000,000 [$131,705–$2,634,730] worth of wine, so it has to be done right.”
4. Customize to your requirements
Another point to consider is that not all collections strictly comprise standard wine bottles. If you plan to store magnums or half bottles, for example, it’s best to have modular shelving that can be removed and adjusted according to your needs. You’d also be wise to have the capability to heat as well as cool; if you store wine in an outbuilding that drops toward freezing in the winter, the temperature you’ve set will be maintained regardless.
5. Know it’s OK to start small
For those who aren’t ready for a full wine room but do want something incredibly well-made, brands like Lanserring and Scarlet Splendour offer attractive cabinets and shelving options. They may not be climate controlled but they’re beautiful and provide a dedicated space safely out of direct sunlight. Smallbone of Devizes offers the best of both worlds, with a customizable Wine Wall storage system that regulates temperature and humidity, with a back panel of laser-cut leather and a controllable lighting system
From Christie’s International Real Estate | Luxury Defined | Jan. 2, 2018