December 3, 2015
Build a Wine Cellar on a Budget
Some of us are lucky enough to own enough bottles to start considering building a cellar or purchasing a large capacity wine refrigerator. Sure, investing in a 400-bottle refrigerator is an easy option, but you can also put together your own cellar at home, even on a limited budget - read below for plenty of tips!
Remember some fundamental wine storage rules
When it comes to a wine cellar, location is the most important consideration. You’re going to want a place that has no direct sunlight, consistent cool temperature, and controlled humidity. You want wine in a cool, dark place - some basements work fine. In theory, the ideal wine storage temperature is between 50 and 59°F, which is what you should make sure to keep in your cellar. Equally important is the level of humidity, which should ideally be 57%. Above 70% and it can cause mold to grow, below 50% can result in the cork drying out. If the room is too humid - especially if you installed your cellar in the basement - you might want to buy a small dehumidifier that allows you to control the humidity levels in the room. One last tiny detail: keep in mind that wine and vibrations don’t get along;
Repurpose old furniture for storage
As long as you follow the rules below (storing wine in a cool, dark and humidity-controlled space, bottles laying on the side, little movement), you have many options for storing these bottles. This might come as a surprise, but you can use cheap, stacked cinder blocks. You can use clay pipes or clay tiles. You can use old furniture, like a chest of drawers. If you’re working on a budget, these are great cheap and sturdy alternatives. Just make sure they are clean and aren’t cracked or mildewed.
Catalog your collection online
There are many ways to keep track of your collection. You can go the traditional way and manually enter your inventory in a cellar book. But keeping your cella organized is made even easier in our digital age, notably with smart apps [link to Wine Apps blog post]: try the free and easy-to-use CellarTracker. Not only can you put up all info and tasting notes, you can also see what other people say and offer their opinions about wine. A great way to save time, and money!
Last tip: don’t over-store
Not everthing needs to be cellared. Remember there are many wines you want to drink fresh. If you keep your home at a good temperature and keep the wine away from direct sunlight, you can store bottles on a small rack.