Best way to store wine?
December 28, 2005 7:24 PM   Subscribe

What's a good solution for storing wines for up to ten years?

We've wine lovers who've just bought our own place, and (at our encouragement) people have started giving us wine that's fit for aging. It's not a showpiece collection of $5000 Bordeaux, but wine that we know will age for ten years or more. We want it to be drinkable when we get there.

We have a basement but we're in New England, and I'm sure the temperature fluctuations are too great to just leave the wine on racks. We could put a refrigerator-style unit just about anywhere but the kitchen and I'd rather not spend a bundle on a showpiece unit -- we're looking for function not fashion. Any recommended brands or models?
posted by nev to Food & Drink (4 answers total)
My parents live in Pittsburgh and their basement is fairly consistent, temperature-wise. Sure, there's some variance between summer and winter but not as much as you might think.

As for wine racks. you can make one out of PVC pipe, stacked honeycomb-style. If you cut the pipe to a length of two wine bottles, you can fill out a standard-sized closet and, natch, you'll be able to fit two wine bottles in each slot. If you go for that approach, though, a trick my dad uses is to put a small white sticker (the generic Office Depot kind) on the bottle in the back. That way, you know there's nothing behind that one, even if you take out the bottle in front of it and pull the back-bottle to the front.
posted by Handcoding at 9:03 PM on December 28, 2005

I got a pair of used upright freezers for $200 each. I got a WineStat to keep their inside temperature at 55F. I built in some shelving myself. Since they only have to maintain a fairly modest temperature, the freezers don't run much even when it's 100F in my garage in summer, and I unplug them in the winter. I've had my WineStats for 3 years with no problems; a friend has had 4-5 of them for longer than that.
posted by neuron at 9:38 PM on December 28, 2005

The general consensus seems to be that you don't want to keep your wines in the cellar if it ever goes much above 70 degrees. The truly anal will want to keep wines at a constant temp. of 55, but if you want the wines to reach their prime in your lifetime, 60 or so might be more reasonable. If you go for a wine fridge, buy one larger than you think you need, because what you think you need will turn out to be too small. For an exhaustive discussion of these matters, search the forums at

Winestat doesn't deal with humidity issues or vibration issues. I tend to think both worries are exaggerated, but some swear that these factors make a significant difference.

I have a vinotemp 54 bottle model that I picked up at costco for $350 on sale (online it is a ridiculous $529). It works great for me, but you should keep in mind that models like it will have significant temp. variation between the top and the bottom of the unit. (Mine varies by almost 10 degrees.)
posted by chrisgrau at 5:48 AM on December 29, 2005

The general consensus seems to be that you don't want to keep your wines in the cellar if it ever goes much above 70 degrees

Heat is the enemy of wines; excessive heat (certainly something in the 90s, say) can "cook" a wine, a which point the taste isn't directly affected, but it will no longer age.

As for cold, it doesn't seem to be that much of an issue: any constant temperature within 40-65°F (5-18°C) will do
posted by WestCoaster at 11:27 AM on December 29, 2005

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