Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider
Whether you are a wine connoisseur or just enjoy drinking wine, you need to consider your options in wine storage. Wine needs the right environment to stay fresh and if the right environment is not provided, it may not taste as good as it can. Different wines require different environments, but some things are required.
The best environment to store wine is between 12 and 16 degrees centigrade. The temperature should remain constant, especially if you're storing wine for a long period of time. Heat can damage wine and a colder temperature will keep it in peak condition.
Humidity is another factor. The humidity should be a 50 percent humidity level. Humidity below 50 percent can make a wine too dry and a humidity level of more than 50 percent can make a wine too damp. If humidity levels are too dry, the cork can shrink and lead to oxidation of the wine.
Wine should always be stored out of the sunlight. Wine bottles are designed to filter out sunlight, but direct sunlight can penetrate the glass and break down the molecules that make a wine a fine wine. This is especially important if you're storing champagne, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, but other wines can be affected by sunlight, too.
If you buy a single bottle of wine and use it the same night, these are not major considerations. If you want to store wine, they are major considerations and you should choose your options in wine storage carefully.
If you want to store large amounts of wine, a wine cellar is a good option. A wine cellar is just what it sounds like: a cellar for storing wine. It can be underneath the house, but if it's on the ground floor, you need to take more steps to keep your wine at the right temperature, humidity and out of the sunlight. Temperature and humidity are the major factors that affect a wine's taste, but a cellar should also be out of the sunlight. If there is a window in the room, it should be blocked up and you may want to refrigerate the room and use a humidifier to keep the humidity level at 50 percent.
A wine cellar should have wine storage racks. They can be made of timber or metal, but get enough racks to keep your wine organised. You should also have an area for wine glasses and you may want to have a wine refrigerator to store wines you want to keep cold.
A wine cellar can be an expensive option, costing between $15,000 and $20,000 for a moderately sized cellar with refrigeration and a humidifier. The cost of a wine cellar can be as much as $40,000 for a larger wine cellar. The costs include the building of the wine cellar and its inclusions. A wine cellar conditioner costs around $6000 and insulation may cost $60 per square metre. Wine racking can cost as little as $4.00 per rack or up to $30 per rack.
A wine cellar can be expensive, but if you own an expensive home, it may add value to your home if another wine connoisseur wants to buy your home. They will know the costs involved and will appreciate having a wine cellar they can transfer their wine into.
Wine cabinets and racks are specifically designed for wine, but you still need temperature and humidity control and a wine cabinet must not receive sunlight. A wine rack may cost*:
An inexpensive wine rack may hold only 12 bottles of wine and be made of pine and might cost $55 to $60. A designer wine rack can cost as much as $250 for a 12 bottle rack.
Wine cabinets are also an option. A wine cabinet can cost anywhere between $230 and $470 and these are discount rates. They can cost as much as $1000 for a two door two drawer cabinet with wine racks in the middle.
Wine cabinets and racks should only be purchased for smaller amounts of wine because they are not temperature or humidity controlled. If you don't want the expense of a wine cellar, a wine refrigerator may be a better option for larger amounts of wine.
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Wine racks and wine cabinets must be stored out of sunlight and in a cool place. They will be subject to changes in humidity and air temperatures, so storing large amounts of wine in them may not be a good idea. Wine refrigerators will store the wine at the correct temperature and humidity level. A normal refrigerator won't do because wine needs to be stored at 12 to 16 degrees Celsius and a wine refrigerator should also have humidity control.
Two types of wine refrigerators are available. Compressor wine refrigerators have higher levels of vibration than thermoelectric wine fridges. Compressor wine fridges are less expensive than thermoelectric fridges, but the vibration level may not affect the taste of the wine.
Wine refrigerators can be quite expensive*:
They are still less expensive than a wine cellar and use less electricity, too. Depending on the amount of wine you want to store, a 92 bottle fridge can be more than enough for storing fine wines.
Of course, a wine cellar, a wine rack or cabinet or a wine refrigerator is not the only cost involved in wine storage. Wine can be expensive, but if you're a wine connoisseur, the cost of wine will be a minor consideration. Many dealers in wine refrigerators also sell wine glasses and other accessories and they may cost*:
Then there is the cost* of wine to think about. If you're going to the trouble of installing a wine cellar, buying a wine refrigerator or buying wine racks or cabinets, cheap wine is probably not for you. A good bottle of Shiraz can cost $50 and can go up to $100 or more. Chardonnay can be similarly priced and you'll find all types of wine may cost up to $50 or more for a decent bottle of wine.
Wine lovers overlook the cost of wine and once you have a wine cellar or a wine refrigerator, those costs are covered. You will have to replenish your wine occasionally, especially if you have frequent guests or enjoy a glass or two of wine every night. Whether you choose a wine cellar, wine racks or cabinets or a wine refrigerator is up to you, but remember the ongoing costs of having a wine cellar, which must be refrigerated and have a humidifier. A wine refrigerator is a less expensive option, but don't choose a wine cabinet or wine racks unless you store small amounts of wine. You may be disappointed when a bottle of wine doesn't taste as good as one you opened earlier does.
*Costs and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary locally and are subject to market forces.
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