Wine Storage Solutions

By Nancy Moffett~

Even if you’re a casual wine drinker, it’s important to know the basics of wine storage. Many a bottle has been spoiled sitting on top of a refrigerator where the motor running causes harmful temperature fluctuations. And, if you don’t have the space, desire or budget for a full-blown wine cellar, check out these tips from local cabinet makers on incorporating wine storage into out-of-the-way areas in your home that provide the proper conditions for your favorite bottles of vino.

What’s Best for the Wine?

According to Joe Greff, owner of Blue Mountain Vineyards, the most important principle of storing wine is to keep it at a consistent temperature in order to preserve its quality. “Keeping wine in your basement is ideal,” he explains, “because the temperature is generally 50 to 56 degrees and doesn’t vary.” But, make sure the wine isn’t close to the furnace. Consistent temperature with 50 to 70 percent humidity and little light all assure that your wine won’t be compromised due to the cork shrinking and expanding (allowing air to leak in), or too much heat or cold.

For those who don’t have a basement, a dark closet also works well. “Keep it out of sunlight and low on the ground, because heat rises,” Greff notes. If you buy a sweet wine and intend to drink it soon, the best place to store it is in the refrigerator, he says.

What about positioning? Not all wines need to be stored on their sides, Greff explains. Only bottles with natural corks need to be horizontal in order to keep the corks moist. “These days many wines come with synthetic corks or screw-tops,” he says, “and, as a result, can be stored upright. Keeping bottles at a consistent temperature is more important than positioning.”

Finding Good Storage Spaces

Kathy Wilhelm, owner and director of sales for Stofanak Custom Cabinetry, says you don’t need a lot of room to incorporate wine storage into your home. Her company has built racks under stairways in basement remodels, added them to entertainment centers and butler’s pantries and included racking in stand-alone custom cabinetry such as dining room pieces. “Adding a wine rack is a good way to use otherwise unusable space such as under a stairway, where it works well filling in an awkward angle,” she explains. “We have also included wine storage in kitchen islands, bars and breakfast room cabinets as well as kitchen cabinets, making sure it blends with the rest of the cabinetry.”

Neil Laslo, vice president of Laslo Custom Kitchens, says many homeowners are opting to “refresh” their kitchens these days–rather than doing a total remodel–by adding new cabinet hardware and replacing dated countertops. This is an ideal time to add a wine cooler, he states. “An 18 to 24-inch wine fridge can be placed under the countertop at the end of a cabinet run, replacing an existing cabinet. We often add paneling to the end side for a more built-in look as well,” he adds. Another option is to incorporate a cooler or wine storage rack into a new or existing island.

Yestertec, maker of kitchen workstation furniture, includes wine storage–both racks and coolers–in some of its designs. David Beer, president, says their armoire hospitality centers can be built to include wine refrigerator drawers for both red and white wine, along with racks, sinks and space for glassware. “Our mini kitchens are becoming more popular with homeowners and offer the opportunity to incorporate proper wine storage into the units,” he says.

As for racking systems, they can be as simple as wooden, assemble-it-yourself shelves from such vendors as Ikea® and Brookstone® or as elaborate as custom-made systems in fine woods from local cabinet companies. A quick trip to the Internet is sure to turn up just the right configuration for your new-found wine storage space.

No matter how you store it or enjoy it, remember the words of vintner Robert Mondavi when you lift your next glass, “Wine has been a part of civilized life for some seven thousand years. It is the only beverage that feeds the body, soul and spirit of man and at the same time stimulates the mind…”!


Stofanak Custom Cabinetry

176 Nazareth Pike, Bethlehem, PA

Laslo Custom Kitchens

3609 Nicholas Street
Easton, PA 18045

Blue Mountain Wine and Vineyards


YesterTec Design Company

PO Box 190
Center Valley, PA 18034

Nancy Moffett remembers when she drank Boone’s Farm strawberry wine and liked it! Wine tasting in New York, Napa Valley and at Lehigh Valley wineries helped expand her palate and appreciation for good wine.

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