Only in old movies is it cool to leave your guests behind and traipse down a dimly lit spiral staircase into the wine cellar to dust off an especially treasured bottle. Wine is so much a part of hospitality and cuisine in America today that treating it as buried treasure isn’t fun anymore. What might be new is how handily you can give a setting to your wine collection that assures it is well cared for and yet still part of the flow of your home and hospitality.
Adaptable in its Very Nature
The very nature of wine storage lends to the flexibility at your command when you set out to design the wine storage space that best fits your life and your home. That nature includes angular spaces. Because wine bottles are narrow at one end and not so narrow at the other – and because tilting them slightly is far from harmful – wine storage can go places where few, if any, other items can fit. And how much space do you need? Well, 50 square feet could store more than 400 bottles, so unless you plan to entertain an embassy, most homes can find a place that works.
A widespread answer is to build a wine rack under the stairway. We can offer even more original ideas than this, but first, let’s examine why this answer serves so often.
Rarely in the Kitchen
Temperature-controlled, vibration-dampened, under-counter wine storage units do a very serviceable job if you feel your wine must be close at hand in the kitchen. And because the kitchen more and more is a venue for entertaining, this might well be the right choice.
Still, without technological help, the kitchen is one of the worst choices because it is bright and busy and subject to wide variations of temperature. Let’s have a look at what kind of environment your wine does well spending time in, and then project that onto all the other possibilities your home presents.
What a Wine Calls Home
Wine does well in the shade, even better in the dark. Sunlight is wine’s worst enemy, and this is why wine bottles are tinted to protect. Staying in a constant temperature is very agreeable to wine, and so insulation and temperature control should be on your list of priorities. For this reason and others, we try to keep wine away from exterior walls. Vibration is another factor against which we seek to protect your wine collection. Disturbing the sediments in fine red wine, and even prompting chemical imbalances in other wines, we keep wine away from foot traffic and other movement as much as possible.
You know, of course, that if the wine has a cork, then it needs to be stored on its side. Keeping the cork in contact with the wine helps prevent it drying out and causing air to seep in, spoiling the wine by oxidation. Humidity is possibly the best reason to consider creating a controlled environment for your wine storage, even if the space is small. Yes, constant temperature is important, yet the band of humidity that favors good wine storage is also sensitive, between 50 percent and 80 percent.
Making Wine the Design
One of our favorite design trends involves taking care of all these qualifications and still making your wine collection a thing of beauty, a design element that support festivity and hospitality, even before you uncork it. Let’s get together and talk about how this might work in your home. A collaboration is our favorite beginning.