Image

Stocking a Wine Cellar

Collecting wine

You don't need a basement to start a cellar. There are two steps to "building" a wine cellar: The first is to collect a range of wine to meet your short and long term goals or desires. The second is to prepare the physical space to hold your collection.

Step 1 - Creating a Basic Cellar

Up until now, three bottles of wine may have been the most you ever had in the house at one time. Or maybe, you are an impulse collector - but when it comes to dinner - you just don't have the "right" thing. Here is a suggested starting place for collecting a small range of wine to cover a variety of situations from intimate moments to gregarious gatherings. Forty bottles may seem like a lot at first, but it can easily be contained in four cartons, piled two high, on the floor of a closet - not the ideal in storage bins but adequate and easily replaced. Below is a sample cellar that you can personalize according to your own preferences.  You can vary your selection as much as you like within a category or concentrate your choices so you have several bottles of the same wine - it's up to you.

The Basic Cellar - 40 bottles

General Styles Choose from categories

12 bottles everyday white: Vin de Pays Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadet, Canadian Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc, German Riesling Kabinett, Semillon blend, Soave.

12 bottles everyday red: Bordeaux AC, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaujolais Villages, Valpolicella, Canadian Cabernet Franc, European Red.

6 bottles fine white: Burgundy from a named vineyard, (4 ready to drink & 2 to age) Premium Californian oaked Chardonnay, Alsatian Gewürztraminer, Graves AC, German Riesling Spätlese

6 bottles fine red: Bordeaux cru classé, Burgundy from a named (2 ready to drink & 4 to age ) vineyard, Barolo Riserva, Hermitage, Premium California Cabernet.

2 bottles (4 halves) dessert wine Canadian Icewine, Sauternes, Tokay Essencia, Vin Santo, German Trockenbeerenauslese.

1 bottle fino sherry

1 bottle vintage port to age.

Step 2 - The Physical Storage Area

Unless you have a cold storage area built in, your kitchen is probably the worst place to keep your wine. Heat and rapid temperature fluctuations cause premature ageing (in wine). You want to prevent your wines from going over the hill before you have a chance to pull the corks.

A little used hall or bedroom closet, or basement if you have one, is a much better bet. It needs to be cool and dark and large enough that you can store the bottles on their side to keep the corks in contact with the wine. If the bottles are stored upright, the corks dry out allowing leakage and oxidation.

Strong wine cartons make adequate, short term storage containers but there are many models of modular wine racks that provide sturdier and more permanent systems. Your wine storage area of preference should be of constant temperature, cooler rather than warm, dark, free from vibration and strong odours.

Dream Cellars

"Dream cellars" have two basic forms. The first, for the basement-less crowd, is a refrigerated cooler unit. Several different sizes and models are available. The most elaborate come with wood veneer to suit a formal dining room. For homes with basements or separate storage areas, a custom designed cellar is the ultimate goal: Insulated walls and ceiling, temperature control, built-in storage bins, Italian ceramic floors, etc., etc. The sky's the limit.

 
PDF