How-To: Store Wine at Home

Rick Benson, professional sommelier and owner of Wine Cellar Experts in Scottsdale, offers his expert tips on how to best store wine at home.
Wine is a living organism and can develop wonderfully in the perfect storing conditions. Some wines are crafted to age 5 to 15 years and under the right storing conditions can be phenomenal at their maturity. However, the same wine can be completely damaged in a matter of minutes in the wrong conditions. Want to know the best way to store wine? Here’s Benson’s advice:

  • Dig a very large hole in the earth large enough to walk into and deep enough to shelter from the surface elements. You want the geothermal conditions to consistently be somewhere around 55 to 60 degrees with perfect humidity and natural darkness. OK…don’t really start digging below ground! That would be the perfect environment for preserving bottled or barreled wines. The trick is in replicating those ideal conditions above ground in the perfect wine cellar location.
  • A private wine cellar for your collection is an excellent, secure way to keep your wines until they are at that perfect drinking maturity. Private wine cellars vary greatly in size and appearance, however, the functionality regardless of size, remains the same to protect your investments. Wine cellars are most often cooled with refrigeration equipment to maintain a consistent 55 degrees and relative humidity of 70 percent. Although wines are best left alone in the dark, wine cellars can be designed using LED lighting to showcase your prized collections.
  • Use a professional wine storage facility. There are several business models and facilities that range from self-storage lockers to event facilities with custodial wine agents. Choose carefully, you will want to inspect the storage provider and confirm the security, climate control, back-up power sources and convenience to access your wines.
  • If you have a relatively small collection of wines, a quality wine cooler/refrigerator whether it be stand alone or built-in can be a good option for storing smaller collections. Most appliance manufacturers have options to choose from regarding preferred capacity, physical size and location of the appliance.
  • If you don’t want to construct a private wine cellar in your home, store offsite, or buy into the appliance storage solutions, there is still another option. Just keep a much smaller quantity of wine in the most thermally stable spot in your house, out of sunlight, away from heat- generating sources and any odor or vibration. If you turn over your wines by regularly drinking them, then…cheers! That’s the way to go. Enjoy your wines wherever you choose to store it!
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