Designing a storage unit for wine in small spaces
Small space design is a blooming cottage industry. That’s good news if you collect wines and live in an apartment. Designing wine storage presents unique needs. It is not like getting a jug of milk and putting it into the refrigerator. If you intend to keep wine longer than a day or so, the best storage is not the family refrigerator.
Many people like to display their wines. Wine displays may be pretty to look at, but for long-term storage, many simply do not meet the requirements. Here follows tips that will help you store and display wines so that they are both pleasing to look at and excellent to taste when you open them.
Proper Storage Tips
Here are a few important things to keep in mind when you are designing wine storage. All bottled wine should be stored:
- Properly on its side, with the cork or top facing the front, at a slight incline downward toward the front
- In the darkest place possible
- At low, controlled temperatures (the ideal temperature is 50-60 degrees F and the temperature should hold steady and not fluctuate
- In a place that has very low vibrations (that leaves out most areas of the home with high foot traffic)
- In a place with very low humidity
Although they are very nice to look at, most wine storage units such as wine racks, baker’s racks and decanters are not the best place to store wines. This is because they expose the wine to sunlight, artificial light vibrations, fluctuating temperatures and too much heat. However, if you are going to be drinking the wine in a day or so, these options may work fine. Storing wine in the family refrigerator or in a decanter is okay too if you plan to consume it within the week. The main thing to remember when designing wine storage is that wine quickly loses much of its flavor or pizzazz in less-than-ideal conditions.
Long-term storage of wines requires a better solution. Heat, light, fluctuating temperatures and vibrations are all enemies to proper wine storage. They cause the wine to begin the oxidation process and the wine may go bad very quickly. Oxidation ruins the taste and makes the wine useless for consumption.
Freezing wine is not an option, so be wary of storing wine bottles in an outbuilding unless you control the temperatures within the building. Freezing temperatures can cause corks to pop out or bottles to break. Fluctuating temperatures are not good for wines either, so beware a location where the temperature may change from 60 to 90 degrees F between day and night.
Designing Wine Storage
One solution for designing wine storage for apartments is to buy a mini refrigerator that is especially set up for wine storage. These take up very little space and they are never opened until you plan to take out a bottle of wine, so there is minimal light and heat exposure. This solves your problem of maintaining low, controlled temperatures. Fortunately, there are many pre-existing solutions for today’s wine enthusiasts. Everything from wine racks to miniature wine cellars can be purchased to fit most spaces.
Countertop wine racks can be very appealing and they will do the job, especially if you place it in a spot with low vibrations, low light and low heat. Most wine today is sold in darker bottles for the purpose of preventing oxidation from light exposure. This does help some; however, it is still advisable to keep all wine out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources (such as beside a stove or other large appliance with a motor).
Ideally, fine wines should be stored in a wine cellar or a seldom-used wine refrigerator. Many apartment buildings do have a cellar. You may be able to strike up an agreement with the landlord to build or install a wine storage unit. This is a great option to designing wine storage in your rental unit or apartment, where space may be limited and the environment may be less than ideal.
Another solution for apartment dwellers is to create wine storage in an unused closet. You may simply buy wine racks to place in the closet or hire someone to custom-build a wine rack to your exact specifications. Several companies custom build wine storage systems and cellars.