Bruce Nichols, wine consultant for the Naples Winter Wine Festival, owner of Naples Wine Solutions, and creator of the website A Nichols Worth of Wine, shares secrets to wine storage for wine aficionados of every stripe.
When should a collector consider a home wine cellar versus a wine refrigerator?
While there are a number of good wine refrigerators on the market, once a collector pushes beyond 200-300 bottles, it may make sense to invest in a dedicated wine cellar. But for the average wine aficionado, a single-door 60-72 bottle capacity refrigerator probably works fine.
What are the essential things to think about when storing wine?
Four “golden rules” for storing wine, all of which are natural enemies: temperature, light, vibration, and position (some would add humidity). Temperature control, ideally at 55 degrees, is essential. But it’s better to store the wine at a constant 65 or even 70 degrees than to subject it to constant temperature change. Light accelerates the aging process. It’s best to keep your prized collection in as cool and dark a place as possible. Vibration is another enemy. Ever start to feel nauseous on a bumpy plane ride? So does your wine when you store it on, or next to, your refrigerator, air conditioner, etc. It’s best to position a wine bottle on its side. Keeping the cork moist prevents it from shrinking and allowing wine’s chief nemesis, oxygen, to seep into the bottle.
What type of consideration should be given to your wine preferences when assembling a collection?
Color is entirely preference driven, as is your varietal selection. Unless you’re buying investment-grade wines, buy what you like. For example, it doesn’t make sense to stock up on a lot of white wine if you’re drinking very little of it, especially given the shorter life span of whites over reds.
How much space and what conditions are needed to create a successful wine cellar?
Cool and dark are the main criteria. As to space, the first question I ask clients is, “How many bottles do you want to store?” If they tell me “no more than 200 bottles,” I encourage them to build their cellar for 250-300 bottles. As a rule of thumb, a 2’ x 4’ space (the size of a coat closet) can accommodate 150-200 bottles, depending on shelving.