Wine Storage 101: How to Pick the Right Cabinet, Cellar or Cooler for Your Collection

Wine is a mainstay in households all over the world, but when it comes to wine storage, one size does not fit all. For some, a few whites and reds on a storage rack in the kitchen will do the trick; for others, a whole room is in order.

When deciding how to best store your collection, space isn’t the only factor to consider. You also need to take into account the storage conditions and the purpose your collection serves.

Image: Case of Red Wine Bottles

The right solution for you could be a wine cooler, a wine cabinet or a custom wine cellar. Which method is right for you? Let’s break down these different types of wine storage to help you figure out the best method to store your own collection.

Start by asking yourself these three questions.

1. 99 bottles of wine on the… what, exactly?

Consider how large you expect your wine collection to grow. If you won’t amass a collection of more than a dozen or so bottles, a simple wine rack might be your best option.

But don’t let simplicity beget design — use the opportunity to find a rack that suits your style and will show off that fancy Zin you’re saving for a rainy day.

2. Will you drink most bottles now or save them for later?

If you find yourself building up a collection of wine faster than you can drink it, consider a dedicated storage unit such as a wine cooler or a wine cellar. Though a wine cellar seems like a bigger version of a wine cooler, the two have different purposes.

Wine coolers or wine refrigerators are intended primarily for maintaining the proper serving storage temperatures, but are not intended for long-term storages. These units have dual temperature zones that will put both your reds and your whites at the ideal temperatures.

Image: Standing Wine Cellar with Clear Door

Wine cellars and cabinets are designed to protect your collection long-term. They take into account light, humidity, temperature and vibration, all of which can be detrimental to wine.

Wine cellars are generally custom-built walk-in rooms in homes. Wine cabinets or credenzas are pieces of furniture that can be moved or are built into an existing space. But wine cellars and cabinets serve the same purpose: They maintain the proper conditions properly storing and aging your wine.

3. How do you want to display your collection?

Once you decide whether to go with a cooler or a cellar, your next bit of work is to decide how you’d like to present your wine.

Your main focus may be to maintain the proper serving temperatures for your wine. If you’re looking to place a storage unit in your kitchen, nestled neatly in harmony with your other appliances, consider a built-in wine cooler that will sit flush with your existing cabinetry.

Or, if you’d like to prominently display your collection in the dining room, consider a wine cabinet or wine credenza with a beautiful wood finish that will blend seamlessly with the other furniture in the room.

Image of Le Cache Credenza in Living Room

If you care most about wine storage conditions, but don’t want to pay for a furniture-quality cabinet, other options include wine vaults or BILD wine cabinets, which are designed to provide ideal storage conditions with more affordable prices.

If you have a spare room or space you can convert to display your collection and the budget to do so, consider building out a custom wine cellar. Once you select the right space to display your collection, your next step would be to create the ideal storage conditions to properly preserve your wine. Pay attention to not just temperature, but also humidity, light, circulation and stability.

Or throw all that to the wayside and go for a custom wine rack. The world is your oyster! (Paired with a Sauvignon Blanc, of course.)

Picking the best way to store your wine will always require some research, but ask yourself these three questions and you should be on your way to a setup that best suits your needs.

Already have experience buying a cooler or a cabinet? What other questions should you ask when choosing a storage product? Share your ideas in the comments below.

About the author: Jake Guidry is a freelance writer and DJ based in Chicago. He spends his free time learning about — and indulging in — the vast world of food and drink.

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