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.
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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.