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Reality Wine Cellars


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After considering the ungodly amounts of money that some people spend on wine, I realized that nearly all of the winemakers I know have very humble personal collection spaces--generally just some Home Depot shelving in a cool corner of the winery or an outbuilding.

In keeping with that tradition, our personal collection is a hodgepodge arrangement of boxes, wooden boxes, and antique riddling racks (used in Champagne production) in the root cellar under our house. You can see one of our temperature and humidity monitors in the photo below.

gallery_17061_225_330955.jpg

What is your "wine cellar"? A gnome closet under the stairs? A half-basement? Or have you recently rennovated a room in your house to hold your precious allotments?

What's your prize wine? The one you hesitate to open until the perfect moment? Or do you have a sentimental favorite that is probably plonk, but you find yourself reluctant to toss?

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Mary Baker

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Racks and boxes. Will get around to ordering that Transtherm for the really good stuff.

Have first growths from 2000, a mini-vertical of Margaux but the prize bottles would be the 1998 Greenock Creek Roennfeldt Road Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon just based on the effort to get them.

Plonk? I think I have a bottle of "Great Wall of China" white something or another that the grad supervisor thought would be good. It sits near the bottle of Manischewicz that another non-wine-drinking family brought over as a gift (that one's getting on 20+ years now).

Love that humidity monitor. :cool:

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I live in an apartment where the landlord controls the heat (too hot!), so I keep my wines in the back corner of the garage where the wall is against dirt. It's the best I can do at this time.... best bottle was a 1996 Dom Perignon which a friend and I drank a couple of weeks ago to celebrate her birthday and my new wine certificate :smile: I look forward to a real wine cellar and investing in really good wines in the coming years!

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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Although I haven't a gnome, I do have a dedicated cellar.

Our home in NC has a "walk-out basement" which has been finished off into living area. On one of the back walls (one that is below grade) I built a 700 bottle cellar that has both bin storage (each holding 12 750's) and rack storage for 750's. I also have lipped shelves that run parallel to the walls for magnum storage (and that makes a nice display, as well). The whole thing is painted white so the only colors in the cellar are the bottles.

Oh, and the Breezeaire, which makes sure that, even in summer, everything stays cool.

Best, Jim

www.CowanCellars.com

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Although I haven't a gnome, I do have a dedicated cellar.

Our home in NC has a "walk-out basement" which has been finished off into living area. On one of the back walls (one that is below grade) I built a 700 bottle cellar that has both bin storage (each holding 12 750's) and rack storage for 750's. I also have lipped shelves that run parallel to the walls for magnum storage (and that makes a nice display, as well). The whole thing is painted white so the only colors in the cellar are the bottles.

Oh, and the Breezeaire, which makes sure that, even in summer, everything stays cool.

Best, Jim

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........................... :rolleyes:

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  • 7 months later...

I'd like to revive this thread for a little more discussion, and perhaps some advice.

I'm kind of stumped about the best reasonable way to store wine at my house. I don't collect wine, and I don't envision myself buying wines that I plan to age for decades. I don't want to go overboard on this. However, I'd also like to feel comfortable having a nice bottle or two around for special occasions without worrying that we need to drink them quickly because we have nowhere good to store it.

I see people talking about storing wine in basements (we don't have one), root cellars (we don't have one) and garages (we have one, but in the winter the temperature occasionally goes below freezing, and in the summer it gets above 80 at least a few days of the year, so that seems like a bad choice). We have an unfinished crawlspace, but it's inconvenient, kind of nasty and has most of the same temperature problems as the garage (especially in the winter).

So that pretty much leaves us with storing it in the house as the only option, and that's what we do. Thus far, I've been keeping my small stash of bottles in racks on the floor of the pantry, partially because it's where I had room and also because it seems to stay relatively cool (it has a tile floor, it doesn't have any walls that get sunlight and it is pretty far from the oven, etc.). However, it's far from ideal. In the winter, we keep the house around 68-70 most of the time, and in the summer it can get above 80 (no A/C).

I can't be the only person in this boat. What would you do? Are any of the reasonably priced SMALL wine refrigerators worth considering? Will they do more harm than good? Any other ideas?

Thanks!

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I have assembled a 100 bottle wine rack in the corner of my living room using the VacuVin click-clack wine rack. This works just fine for me, since houses in the Seattle area rarely have basements, and the living room is more temperature controlled than the garage.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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I can't be the only person in this boat. What would you do? Are any of the reasonably priced SMALL wine refrigerators worth considering? Will they do more harm than good? Any other ideas?

Thanks!

Yes! And now is the best time of year to look for one -- I got my 48-bottle fridge at a Home Depot the weekend after Thanksgiving three years ago for about $150 (normally $300). Sure, it is not a Vino-Temp, but keeps my wine at a consistent 55 degrees with moderate-enough condensation for me to live with.

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I can't be the only person in this boat. What would you do? Are any of the reasonably priced SMALL wine refrigerators worth considering? Will they do more harm than good? Any other ideas?

Thanks!

Yes! And now is the best time of year to look for one -- I got my 48-bottle fridge at a Home Depot the weekend after Thanksgiving three years ago for about $150 (normally $300). Sure, it is not a Vino-Temp, but keeps my wine at a consistent 55 degrees with moderate-enough condensation for me to live with.

Home Depot does seem to be the place to go. About a month ago I got one on clearance for $197; the box said 50 bottles though it had rack space for 52 and currently has 62 bottles and half-bottles crammed into it. The only gripe with this particular model is that the shelves are so close together that I've damaged a few labels extracting bottles, but once you learn the trick it happens far less frequently.

-Andy

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I have one of the rooms in the downstairs of our house (we have a split foyer house) that stays fairly cool in the summer. It has racks and boxes, and a VinoTemp 500 that was my wife's B'day present to me a couple of years ago. The best stuff goes into the vinotemp (which is lucky if it will hold 350 bottles, not 500) and the rest is in racks in the coolest part of the room, near the air conditioning vent(which gets sealed and blocked off during the winter so it doesn't pump heat into the room.)

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Without seeming elitist, I would opt for a dual temp unit with 50-60 bottle capacity. Spend a little more than you want and think of it as a long term investment. In the long haul you'll be thankful you don't have to "trade up" later down the road.

"I drink to make other people interesting".

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I'd like to revive this thread for a little more discussion, and perhaps some advice.

I'm kind of stumped about the best reasonable way to store wine at my house. I don't collect wine, and I don't envision myself buying wines that I plan to age for decades. I don't want to go overboard on this. However, I'd also like to feel comfortable having a nice bottle or two around for special occasions without worrying that we need to drink them quickly because we have nowhere good to store it.

I see people talking about storing wine in basements (we don't have one), root cellars (we don't have one) and garages (we have one, but in the winter the temperature occasionally goes below freezing, and in the summer it gets above 80 at least a few days of the year, so that seems like a bad choice). We have an unfinished crawlspace, but it's inconvenient, kind of nasty and has most of the same temperature problems as the garage (especially in the winter).

So that pretty much leaves us with storing it in the house as the only option, and that's what we do. Thus far, I've been keeping my small stash of bottles in racks on the floor of the pantry, partially because it's where I had room and also because it seems to stay relatively cool (it has a tile floor, it doesn't have any walls that get sunlight and it is pretty far from the oven, etc.). However, it's far from ideal. In the winter, we keep the house around 68-70 most of the time, and in the summer it can get above 80 (no A/C).

I can't be the only person in this boat. What would you do? Are any of the reasonably priced SMALL wine refrigerators worth considering? Will they do more harm than good? Any other ideas?

Thanks!

Vibration in any of the commercial units is a drawback, but your garage is not bad as an alternative. 32F won't hurt the wine, as long as it reaches the lower temp. slowly. Summer temps in Seattle are cooler than any other parts of your country, and a few days of 80F is not that bad. I would stay with what you have, and spend the savings on more wine :biggrin:

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I suppose my solution is only available to a fortunate few, which is to buy a house that used to be a wine merchant (sometime in the mid 19th century). Several bins (the lower level ones) have been racked out to hold around 4-500 bottles, the upper bins hold cases. Unfortunately the cask bins have been filled and bricked up and it would be too much hassle to open them up, especially as we have enough space already. Temperature tends to be around 55F year round with slight rises and falls for high summer and mid-winter, and just off-dry. I'm thinking of moving out next year so no reasonable offer refused!

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