How to Store Wine Properly – Wine Cellaring Basics

Here we discuss different wine storage options for wine collectors. Attorney Somm presents the information in a video, covering various topics such as home wine storage options, offsite wine storage, critical attributes for choosing wine storage, and the pros and cons of different alternatives. Examples of home wine cellars, including wine coolers, larger wine cabinets, and built-in wine cellars, are provided, along with the cost structure of offsite wine storage. The article aims to help viewers gain an understanding of the different types of wine storage available and which option may work best for them. The importance of proper wine storage, including the ideal temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius), is emphasized. Additionally, factors such as fluctuations in temperature, exposure to light and UV rays, and the orientation of wine bottles are discussed. The article also compares home storage options to offsite storage, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each. Ultimately, the goal is to provide wine collectors with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about storing their wine collection.

Choosing the Right Storage

How to Store Wine Properly - Wine Cellaring Basics

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Considerations for Wine Storage

When it comes to storing wine properly, there are three key attributes you need to keep in mind. The first attribute is the temperature. The ideal temperature for storing wine is 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). It is important to avoid temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, as this can damage the wine and affect its flavors. It is also crucial to maintain a relatively constant temperature, without drastic fluctuations, to ensure the wine stays in optimal condition.

The second attribute to consider is the level of light exposure. Wine should be stored in a dark area to protect it from light and UV rays. This is because light can damage the wine and lead to unpleasant flavors and aromas. Therefore, it is recommended to store wine in a cellar or a storage unit that keeps out light.

Finally, it is essential to store wine bottles horizontally. Storing bottles on their side allows the wine to stay in contact with the cork, preventing it from drying out. Dry corks can lead to oxidation and spoilage of the wine. However, it’s important to note that champagne can be an exception, as it can be stored vertically for a year or two.

Options for Wine Storage

When it comes to wine storage, you have two primary options: home storage and off-site storage. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Home Storage Options

If you live in an area with moderate temperatures or have a basement with stable conditions, you may be able to store your wine at home without a climate-controlled storage unit. Home storage can be advantageous because it is less expensive than off-site storage, and you have easy accessibility to your wine collection. You can choose from various home storage options, including self-contained units, armoire-type solutions, and wine cellars.

Self-contained units are available in different sizes, ranging from small coolers that can hold a dozen bottles to large armoire-type solutions that can accommodate hundreds or even thousands of bottles. The price range for self-contained units can vary significantly depending on size and complexity. Starting with a unit that holds about four dozen bottles can be a good option, as it is convenient and provides enough capacity for regular wine consumption.

Another home storage option is to build a wine cellar. This is the most expensive investment but offers the advantage of customizing the storage space to your needs. Wine cellars can be built under staircases, in basements, or even in underutilized closets. However, building a wine cellar can be a messy and time-consuming process, so it is often more feasible when done during the construction of a new house.

Off-site Storage Options

If you need more storage capacity or prefer not to invest in a home storage solution, off-site storage can be a suitable alternative. Off-site storage facilities offer climate-controlled rooms with lockers or cages for wine storage. These facilities ensure that the wine is kept at the ideal temperature and humidity levels.

One advantage of off-site storage is the lower upfront costs compared to building a wine cellar. Additionally, off-site storage facilities often provide the option for expansion as your wine collection grows. They also eliminate the risk of mechanical breakdowns and utility charges associated with maintaining a climate-controlled unit at home. However, it’s important to note that off-site storage comes with recurring charges and limited access to your wine collection.

How to Store Wine Properly - Wine Cellaring Basics

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Pros and Cons of Home Storage

Advantages of Home Storage

Home storage has several advantages. Firstly, there are no recurring charges associated with off-site storage facilities. Additionally, having your wine collection at home allows for easy accessibility whenever you want to enjoy a bottle. Home storage also provides a sense of pride and ownership over your collection.

Disadvantages of Home Storage

While home storage offers convenience and accessibility, it does come with some downsides. Firstly, home storage solutions can be expensive, especially if you opt for a custom-built wine cellar. Additionally, home storage requires dedicating valuable space in your home to accommodate your wine collection. It’s also important to ensure that your home’s temperature and humidity levels are suitable for wine storage to avoid damaging the wine.

Pros and Cons of Off-site Storage

Advantages of Off-site Storage

Off-site storage offers several advantages for wine collectors. One significant advantage is the lower upfront costs compared to building a home wine cellar. Off-site storage facilities also allow for easier expansion as your wine collection grows, without the need for additional construction or remodeling. Additionally, off-site storage eliminates the risk of mechanical breakdowns and often provides additional security measures to protect your valuable wine collection.

Disadvantages of Off-site Storage

One major drawback of off-site storage is the recurring charges associated with renting the storage space. These charges can add up over time, especially for large wine collections. Another disadvantage is the limited access to your wine collection. Unlike having your wine stored at home, you may need to plan ahead and make arrangements to retrieve your wine from the off-site storage facility.

How to Store Wine Properly - Wine Cellaring Basics

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Combining Home and Off-site Storage

Many wine collectors choose to have a combination of home and off-site storage options to enjoy the benefits of both. By utilizing both options, you can keep your most frequently accessed bottles at home while storing the rest at an off-site facility. This allows for easy accessibility to your favorite wines while providing additional capacity for expanding your collection.

Ideal Storage Conditions

Apart from choosing the right storage option, it is essential to maintain the ideal storage conditions for wine. The key factors to consider are temperature, humidity, light, and orientation.


As mentioned earlier, the ideal temperature for storing wine is 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). It is crucial to avoid temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, as this can damage the wine. Fluctuations in temperature should also be minimized to ensure the wine remains in optimal condition.


Wine should be stored in an environment with relatively high humidity levels, around 70%. This prevents the corks from drying out and allows them to maintain a tight seal. Dry corks can lead to oxidation and spoilage of the wine, so it is important to avoid low humidity conditions.


Light exposure can be harmful to wine, as it can lead to chemical reactions that affect the flavor and structure of the wine. To protect your wine, store it in a dark area away from direct sunlight or artificial lighting. UV rays, in particular, can be damaging to wine, so it is crucial to ensure your storage area is protected from UV radiation.


Storing wine bottles horizontally is important to keep the cork moist and prevent it from drying out. Dry corks can lead to oxidation and spoilage of the wine. However, as mentioned earlier, champagne can be stored vertically for a year or two without issues, but for longer-term storage, it is best to lay champagne bottles on their side as well.

By following these ideal storage conditions, you can ensure that your wine collection remains in excellent condition and ages gracefully over time.

In conclusion, choosing the right storage for your wine collection is crucial to maintaining its quality and ensuring its longevity. Consider the options of home storage and off-site storage, along with their respective pros and cons. Pay attention to the three key attributes of temperature, light, and orientation when storing wine. By finding the ideal storage conditions and combining different storage options if necessary, you can create an excellent environment for storing and enjoying your favorite wines.

How to Store Wine Properly - Wine Cellaring Basics

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Hi, I’m Carlie Brandywine

Hi, I'm Carlie Brandywine, the author behind Total Beverage. As a passionate lover of coffee, beer, cocktails, spirits, tea, and all things beverage-related, I've created this website to share my expertise and recommendations with fellow enthusiasts. At Total Beverage, you'll find a curated selection of products and gift ideas tailored to the needs and tastes of beverage lovers. Whether you're in search of coffee equipment, wine-related products, bar accessories, or home bar equipment, I've got you covered. Join me on this journey as we explore the world of beverages and find everything you need to prepare, serve, and savor your favorite drinks. Cheers!