If you usually keep more than a couple of bottle of wine, storage can often been an issue. Keeping consistent temperature humidity is a headache and you end up keeping those cases of Chardonnay in your garage where they may or may not be drinkable after a while.
So what's the solution? Which wine storage system is right for you? This quick guide will help you narrow down your choices, and find the right solution for your budget.
1) What kind of wine do tend to buy?
You surely noticed different wine bottles come in different shapes and sizes. If you if you prefer burgundy style wines like Pinot Noir, you have elegant bottles that are about half an inch wider in diameter than the standard Bordeaux style bottles, more associated with Cabernet-Sauvignon and Merlot.
Unfortunately, Bordeaux style bottles are the industry-standard for wine coolers and wine racks. As burgundy style bottles are wider, the capacity of wine cooler will be less than what you might expect. This also goes for champagne bottles or magnum size (1.5 L bottles)
2) Make plan for future purchases
If you're happy with two cases of wine at any time, then a wine storage system with at least 24 bottle capacity is enough. However, collecting wine can become addictive once you know that your bottles can be kept safely. You might soon end up with much more bottles than you planned, and paying for a second wine cooler, not mentioning finding room for it, might not be a nice solution. So think ahead and consider buying a high-capacity wine cooler from the start.
3) Racks material and finishing
Wine racks, standalone or in wine coolers, come in different kind of materials such as pine, redwood, iron, stainless steel, or even plastic.
Redwood is generally the most sought after because it's quite strong, has no odor, resist humidity without the need of sealants or varnish that can be harmful or change the taste of wine.
Pine is very common because it's relatively cheap but tends to wrap in presence of humidity, so it needs to be varnished or sealed. Sealants can release unpleasant odor.
Metal racks tend to use less space than wood racks, and are therefore popular in wine coolers or electric wine cellars. But metal racks can rust in humid conditions, their paint might peel, and for cheaper models, the racks might not be strong enough to supports several bottles without bending.
As for plastic, they are quite popular for low-end racks but again tend to be less strong and more easily broken than other solutions.