It starts off innocently enough. You join a wine club (or two), go wine tasting occasionally and buy a few bottles, and next thing you know, you have quite a few bottles on hand, and they need a place to live.
What a fine problem.
It’s inevitable that when you find a wine you love, you’ll buy a case for later consumption. Eventually, you’ll have enough wine to fill a small room, and when the weather warms you’ll begin to worry about storing that collection properly.
Q: How large a wine cellar should I have?
A: Over time, your tastes may change and a smaller wine cellar will allow faster wine turnover for your changing tastes. With a smaller cellar, you’ll drink wine at its peak and not have the headache of managing a large wine inventory. On the other hand, if you want to create a substantial collection, you’ll need a larger space and a robust wine inventory system.
Q: If my tastes change, how can I avoid buying cases of a wine that in 10 to 20 years, I’ll no longer want to drink?
A: It’s easy to fill up a new cellar with wines that you’re crazy about right now. Unfortunately, that will lead to a collection that will lean heavily in just one or two directions…and your tastes will change over time. The easiest solution is to limit your purchases of a particular wine or varietal. Then read reviews about wines and the foods that partner well with them and try some new wines that work with your favorite types of foods. Mixing your cellar up a bit is always a good idea.
Q: Should I turn a closet or room into a cellar, or buy a standalone wine refrigerator?
A: Wine likes a cool, dark, relatively moist environment. That’s why so many people start out with a small wine refrigerator and grow from there. Cool basements generally work, especially if they’re not completely weather-proofed (all that cool, moist dirt works in your favor). Just add racks and you’ll be set. Closets inside your home will need racks, insulation, an air conditioner, and a humidifier in some locales. There’s also the option of storing your wines at a business that specializes in holding collector’s collections in optimum conditions for an annual fee. Though that means you’ll need to drive over to pull out wines occasionally, it takes all the work off your hands.