Wine Storage Basics

29 Jun

Wine, like a prized shoe collection, deserves to be stored in a manner that protects and preserves your investment, and if you’re a Kardashian, in a way that shows off your goods.

Chicas y chicos, Señorita Vino has a confession to make: Two weeks ago, my humble wine collection shared a storage space with two vacuum cleaners, a box of old LPs, a vintage Olivetti typewriter inherited from my great uncle, and a can of Spicy Peach air freshener.

Before: Qué chaos!

Today’s post is evidence that you don’t have to shell out big dinero to store your wine. In fact, I spent all of $267.77.

Regardless of how much (or how little) you spend, there are three things to remember when choosing a wine storage method. Number one, it has to be dark. Number two, it has to be cool. And finally, each wine bottle should be stored on its side.

Why darkness? The UV rays in sunlight can speed up the aging process of your wine. This is why a lot of wines come in dark glass bottles.  As for temperature, too much heat can cook your wine, which can destroy the delicate aromas and flavors. Last but not least, store your bottles on their sides to prevent the cork from drying out. A dry cork allows air to seep into the bottle, resulting in spoiled wine.

So here we go with five helpful tips for storing wine.

Tip #1: Choose a place that’s cool and dark.

A useless closet becomes a wine cellar.

Ideally, wines should be stored somewhere between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The bad news: The kitchen is generally not a wine-friendly storage area. Stoves and ovens generate mucho heat, and most kitchens are flooded with natural sunlight. The good news: those weird corners you don’t know what to do with can make great wine storage spaces. In my case,  a strangely configured closet  beneath a staircase became our wine cellar. This closet is also technically below ground, so there’s some humidity, which sucks for storing clothes but helps keep wine corks from drying out.

Tip # 2: Use a sturdy storage system that holds wine bottles sideways.

Key operative word: Sturdy. You can buy inexpensive wine racks, but don’t be a tacaño (El Translation: tightwad) when it comes to storing wine. Think about it: You could save a few bucks buying something cheap, but one false move and [cue the sound of shattering glass] you’ve got hundreds of dollars in broken wine bottles and a stained carpet. I found our wine racks  on sale at Cost Plus World Market. The 24-bottle rack was $44.99, and the 44-bottle rack was $62.99. I bought two of each. And it wasn’t until I got home that I realized they were made in Peru, Indiana! Okay, so it’s not the real Perú, but what are the chances?

Made in the exotic hamlet of Peru, Indiana.

Tip #3: Make someone else do the heavy  lifting. 

My manicure thanks you, Señor Jim!

Tip #4: Label your storage system in a way  that make sense to you.

Some people arrange their bottles by country, others by grape variety. If you’re our neighbors, you use an elaborate spreadsheet system (G and E, I salute you). Me, I split the wines into red and white,  then I divided them according to price, and then by grape variety or general geographic origin. I’ll try this system for a month or so. If it’s not user-friendly, I can always change it. Once I decide on a labeling system, I’ll find a classier way of displaying each category. Not that there’s anything wrong with Post-its.

I like my Cabs where I can find them!

Tip #5: Let there be light.

So you have this nifty wine storage system in a cool, dark place, but it’s so dark you can’t see anything. Enter the multi-function, collapsible Swiss Gear camping lantern from Target! A steal at $29.99. No  electrical outlet? No problem! The lantern runs on batteries. And yes, I bought it with my own dinero. (De nada, Target.)

Make sure there’s a light source to avoid unfortunate (and costly) accidents.

Bonus Tip: Judge not, lest ye be judged.

When you finally get around to organizing your wine collection, don’t be surprised at what you might find. I unearthed a bottle of Tw0-Buck Chuck. Before you go canceling your subscription to Señorita Vino’s blog, remember the whole reason you signed up: This is a snob-free wine zone, people! If you want to drink a two-dollar bottle of wine, go for it! No one here is going to judge you, least of all Señorita Vino. And to continue with the shoe theme, anyone who’s going to judge you for stowing a pair of beat-up Converse sneakers next to your Christian Louboutin stilettos needs to get a life.

A forgotten bottle of Two-Buck Chuck is unearthed from the depths of the wine closet.

After a modest investment and four hours of work, the end result is a basic wine storage system that may not be glam enough for Kim Kardashian, but it works for me.

After: No more chaos!

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14 Responses to “Wine Storage Basics”

  1. Cristina-Una colombiana en California June 29, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Great job!
    We are using kitchen cabinets to store the bottles and now I know it’s not the best way to do that. Thanks, Senorita Vino!

    • Pamela June 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

      De nada, Cristina!

  2. jameshansen June 29, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Senorita Vino, you have done it again! What a brillant approach a low cost and sensible wine storage solution. You are just too much!

    Senor Jim

  3. Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ June 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I should no better but I never keep my bottles sideways. It’s an awful habit I need to get out of. I just don’t have a lot of space, so upward real estate is the way to go! ; ) Great suggestions. You make me appreciate wine much more!

    • Pamela June 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      Glad to hear it! And I understand the space issue. I guess that means you’ll have to drink your wines faster 😀

  4. Mommylogue (@Mommylogue) June 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    We have two places for storing our wine. The first is an inexpensive cooler in the kitchen. They line up nicely on their sides and keep, well, cool. This is where I keep the wine which we will be drinking soon. The second, my favorite, is in the back of the garage in a cupboard. It is dark, cool and underground. POIFEKT!!

  5. Ruby DW (@RubyDW) June 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    That is awesome! We learned about storing our bottles side ways but we finish them too fast to have to store lol Great tips and glad to know that I won’t be judged for my 2 dollar wine 🙂

  6. unknownmami Mami June 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Well done. Two buck Chuck is always welcome in my home.

  7. beachbrum June 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Thanks for the blog post. It’s easy to get careless with wine storage. I know I’m guilty.

  8. Monica June 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Wow! This is good information. Know I can talk knowledgeably about how to properly store wine next time we go out to dinner with friends. Thanks!

  9. Presley's Pantry June 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Great system…. The labeling is my favorite.. I like the shelves…. cool. As for the two buck chuck, couldn’t you use it for a sangria? 🙂 xoxo Hope to see you soon.

  10. Comiendo en LA June 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    What a great tips! I went to Argentina and Chile to “learn” about wines, and I don’t know anything lol

  11. AutismWonderland (@LaliQuin) June 30, 2012 at 6:22 am #

    Great tips! I am keeping my wine in the wrong place…will need to make some adjustments in the near future.

  12. Pamela March 22, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Reblogged this on Señorita Vino and commented:

    Darlings! Spring is in the air, and as the temperature slowly rises, my thoughts turn to spring cleaning and proper wine storage. Here’s an oldie but a goodie — how to store wine without breaking the bank.

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