12 November 2008


Thanksgiving is, unbelievably, just two weeks away. For many of us, that means wining and dining friends and family. The dining topic I'll leave to other sources. I personally enjoy selecting wines, and thought I'd address the subject of storing them.

There are great, good, OK and really, really terrible ways to store wine.


If your collection is large and valuable, protect it with a climate-controlled “wine cellar.” Strictly speaking, a wine cellar doesn’t have to live in your basement. They’ll work just fine in a main floor area near where your wine will be served. Ideally, you'll have a system to index your collection for easy bottle location. If this space doubles as a tasting room for you and your guests, you'll want to include comfortable chairs, a table and perhaps a mini-fridge for palette-cleansing accompaniments near -- but not inside -- the chilly wine vault.


If you entertain frequently, but don't consider yourself a serious wine collector, consider incorporating a wine bar or butler’s pantry near your kitchen and dining room. This is easiest to accomplish when you're building a new home, but it can also be factored into a remodel, or just added to your existing space. It will ideally include wine racks and a dual temperature zone wine captain, along with storage space for wine glasses, corkscrews, wine charms, decanters and related wine paraphernalia.


When you're building or remodeling, factor in space for a base cabinet or countertop-installed wine rack. Place it near to where it will be consumed, but avoid any heating vents or intense, direct sunlight. I give this approach an "ok," because it doesn't factor in the added storage for all the goodies in a wine bar or butler's pantry, or the climate control of a wine captain.

If you're maxed out in your entertaining zone, wine expert Charles Visalli of Time for Wine in Tampa, Fl. suggests the following alternative:

"Simple storage of wine requires two things: 1) An area that is temperature neutral...i.e., it does not fluctuate more than a few degrees and 2) It's kept away from sunlight. Therefore, I recommend that wines can easily be stored in a hall closet or spare bedroom closet/home office closet."

Alternatively, you can incorporate a wine rack into your wall-mounted cabinets – especially in a butlers’ pantry or wine bar area – but be sure it’s not too high to reach, not close to a heating vent and out of direct sunlight.


Please don’t store your wine above your refrigerator. That puts it where heat rises and step stools are required. Storing your wine close to your range, cooktop or dishwasher is also generally a bad idea.

Please drink – and store – responsibly!


A handsome wine bar with wine captain, granite countertops and CWP Cabinetry's custom cherry cabinets.

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