A home wine cellar is a great way to utilize many basements. The Wine Spectator recommends a temperature between 45° F and 65° F with 55° F almost perfect. Most basements will be a consistent temperature in this overall range, which is very important; extreme fluctuations in temperature can harm wines but a stable temperature will treat them gently.
Keeping wine out of the sun's harmful UV rays is also important – the basement has nice shaded corners in which to store those bottles. Humidity should be kept between 50% and 70%.
Of course, you can purchase an expensive wine cooler, but if you are using your basement to locate your cellar, that is not absolutely necessary. (If you are an ardent wine collector, you may want to refer to a more detailed article on wine storage.) As long as your wine is not stored near sources of heat (like ovens, space heaters, furnaces, etc.), the wine should be just fine.
Most retail outlets that sell storage materials will have DIY rack kits that are easily assembled and easily enlarged – important when that special sale comes along that could add quite a few bottles to your cellar. Just choose a wall or corner of your basement and set the rack there. If you like, you can enclose the new wine cellar in a closet, or behind a screen.
Wines with corks will benefit from storage in a horizontal position; the wine keeps the corks from drying out. However, many wines are now bottled with screw caps or plastic corks which do not need this type of positioning. For them, any type of shelving is appropriate.
Lastly, organize your wine purchases into at least three categories and divide your cellar space between them: wines that you will drink soon, wines that need to be held for 2-3 years, and wines that can handle long-term aging. Wine tags that hang from the necks of bottles are helpful to identify wines without pulling each out to take a look.
Celebrate the completion of your home wine cellar with...a glass of your favorite wine! Enjoy!
If you've set up a cellar in your Lakeview Landing home basement, let us know where you positioned it and how it's doing. Use the comments box below. We look forward to hearing from you.