Wine Cellars – Do You Really Need One?

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Whether you ferment your own wine or are simply a connoisseur, having a wine cellar will help maintain the quality of your collection. Wine cellars keep your wines in a single dedicated space to keep them from crowding your home. A cellar also helps protect your wine from temperature, light, humidity and movement.

If not controlled, any of these factors can shorten the shelf life of wine or cause its taste to go off. This is especially important with home-bottled wines as they can be more fragile than store-bought vintages. Any wine can turn to vinegar if not maintained properly, but home-crafted wines are especially prone to it if not stored in ideal conditions.

The ideal wine cellar will have an atmosphere similar to a cave. Indeed, in ancient times, caves were generally used to store wine. They’re ideal because of their darkness, cool temperature and slight humidity. If your home already has a basement, you may be able to easily convert the space into a wine cellar by making simple modifications to the temperature and humidity of the room.

Of course, not all homes come with spaces that can easily be converted into a wine cellar. In these situations, you may wish to consider building a space for your wines. It doesn’t need to be underground; a climate-controlled and well-insulated room or closet can work equally well. Depending on how crafty you are, building a home wine cellar can be a fun DIY project, or you may wish to contract the work out to a specialist.

When You May Want a Wine Cellar

— You buy more wine than you can reasonably drink within a few weeks
— You make and store large quantities of your own wines
— You invest in rare or expensive vintages
— You prefer to drink wines that age well
— You have the space and materials to build a cellar or cooler

When You Don’t Need a Wine Cellar

— You tend to drink your wine at the same rate as you buy it
— You drink primarily wines that can be refrigerated
— You make wine in small batches or give bottles to friends and family
— You don’t have the space or resources to build a wine cellar

Depending on your individual preferences and needs, building storage space for your wines may be a smart long-term investment, but it shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Before you invest time and effort into building a wine cellar, carefully and honestly assess your habits to make sure that the choice is logical for you. For most hobbyists, a wine cellar is a luxury that can be easily bypassed with no ill-effects, but it will always give your wines the optimal shelf life and flavor.

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