FOR THE 60 percent of us who drink wine, we don’t keep it around long. In fact, 90 percent of all wine is consumed within 24 hours.
In other words, we age our wine on the way home from the store.
But let’s say you want to keep it around longer — perhaps a week, a month, a year or a decade — and you’d like it to be in good condition.
If you want to store a few bottles — or a few hundred — at home, you have a lot of options.
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• The simplest way to store wine is to find a dark space, such as a closet. Store the bottles on their sides, because if corks stay moist, they won’t shrink and let air in, which would ruin the wine. Avoid a cardboard box, which can fall apart. A wine rack that can hold a case or more can be found for $50 or less. Handy with tools? Make your own for about $10.
• The worst place to store wine is on top of your refrigerator. Heat rises from the back, the lights are often on, and temperatures fluctuate wildly. This is a recipe for quickly ruining wine.
• If you want to keep a few cases of wine and can dedicate a bit more of your closet or perhaps a wall in your den, you can get wire or wooden wine racks for $25 to $300.
• Wine refrigerators are fantastic short-term storage options. Gateway Distributing in Kent carries Viking wine refrigerators that can hold nearly three cases at perfect temperatures. U-Line’s Wine Captain is a beautiful wine fridge that allows red and white wines to be stored at different temperatures. Sub-Zero is another popular choice for wine refrigerators. Expect to pay $1,300 to $4,000 for a wine refrigerator.
• The EuroCave Performance 500 holds nearly 450 bottles of wine at perfect temperature and humidity levels and has an alarm that alerts you if that changes. It is beautiful, impressive and $9,000.
• The Vinotemp walk-in wine cellar is a great option if your wine collection has gotten out of hand. Depending on your needs, you can purchase a temperature-controlled unit that will store anywhere from 760 to 2,500 bottles. On a per-bottle basis, this is one of the least-expensive options. For example, the 1,130-bottle cellar is about $5,000. You will need to put it together, but that takes just a half-day with the help of a couple of friends.
• Have a room to spare? Turn it into an amazing temperature-controlled wine cellar. Something that will hold north of 2,500 bottles will run you $10,000 or more, but you will be the envy of everyone.
What do I have? I went with a Vinotemp walk-in cellar that holds about 1,300 bottles, and it is dangerously close to being full.
Andy Perdue is a wine journalist, author and international judge. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.