We guess most of us store our wine in the kitchen. In a rack or in the fridge, handily placed near the opener and wine glasses. Not a problem for short term storage, but not ideal when storing wine for longer periods. Perhaps some of you can afford one of those 200 plus wine storage fridges - No? Well starting your own cellar needn't be expensive, but following certain rules will help.
Rules to follow : You need a place that has consistent cool temperature. Ideally 58 degrees fahrenheit. Bit like the good furniture - you don't want direct sunlight hitting the bottles. So a cool, dark place. Wine is best stored on it's side, and it's best not to move the bottles. So somewhere you don't have to move to get at the Christmas decorations etc..
If you've got a basement - perfect! Use it! If you've converted your basement and put in central heating, then it might not follow the typical basement rules. Basements are usually cool in summer, yes a bit colder in the winter, but the temperature is maintained far more evenly than above ground rooms. So as long as the heating doesn't kick in, your basement is perfect for storing the wine collection. If wine warms up, it accelerates the aging process - not good if the book says suitable to drink in 10 years, you might find you should have drunk that special bottle five years back. If you keep your home cool all year round, then keeping wine in a dark room, or at the bottom of a dark cupboard would be fine too. The cooler you keep the wine, the better - but remember, freezing is not good either!! Humidity is essential too! If the storage area is too dry, then the corks will dry out - just putting a bucket / bowl of water in the room will solve this.
Storage needn't be expensive. Although a Walk In Wine Cellar is on our wish list, we think you can use what you've got for storage. Use any old shelves. We have Ikea shelves, old & battered, covered in paint - then we have a length of 1 inch x 1 inch wood between each bottle. An old chest of drawers would do. If you have space - try pallets. Rapid Racking (rapidracking.com) do a nice chrome shelving system, not expensive and can be added to.
Keep a record of your wines. One of the most popular sites is Cellar Tracker (cellartracker.com). Great for information on your wines, their online cellar management tool tracks your collection, see its value, and much more. Users of Cellar Tracker are managing 60 million + bottles.
Not all wines are to be kept for 10 yrs to achieve maximum potential. In fact most wine producers make wines to be drunk young. Keep these somewhere handily close - in the fridge or on a rack. As long as the wines aren't in direct sunlight or heating and cooling excessively, they will drink very nicely indeed!
Anyone can have a Wine Cellar, and it needn't cost a lot. Save your money to spend on the wine!