Wine Storage Options


Let’s say you’ve managed to accumulate more wine than you can safely cram into the hall closet.  Since fine wine prefers to be stored at about 57 degrees and 65 percent humidity, where can you move your existing wine, as well as any new wine you buy? 

Well, you can opt for storing it at a local storage company that specializes in wine. Orange County has plenty of temperature-controlled facilities where you can rent a space that fits your needs— anything from a small locker for a few cases, to a full “walk-in” that holds hundreds.

An alternative is buying a home wine cellar.  These come in myriad shapes and sizes, and there’s bound to be one that fits your needs. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to both methods, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Wine Storage Facility

  • Pros
    • Month-to-month rental, or some savings if annual fee is paid
    • You can upgrade/downgrade to a different size locker at any time
    • It’s temperature-controlled, with no utility costs to you
    • No space required at home
    • They accept wine shipments on your behalf, so you don’t have to be home or receive wines at work
    • There can be access to a meeting room at the facility, where you and others can enjoy your wines and bring food
  • Cons
    • Limited access to your wine, usually only during business hours
    • Rental fees, monthly or yearly. And it can go up.
    • Lockers or walk-in units are usually bare, so racking is needed—either rented or purchased
    • Rental insurance may be needed for your wine

Home Wine Cellar

  • Pros
    • Full access to your wine at any time
    • Fixed costs after purchase; no rental fees and no increase in rent
    • Unit usually comes with racking
    • You can show off your wine, and it can enhance the décor if it’s located in a family room or great room
    • Insurance needs are likely covered by your home owner’s policy
  • Cons
    • Large upfront expense
    • You must plan your storage needs in advance (whatever you think your need will be, double it)
    • Increased utility costs
    • Floor space required in house, garage, or other room
    • You will still be responsible for receiving your wine shipments at home or work

The final analysis is obviously up to you—does one method outweigh the other?  One way to proceed is to figure a cost-per-bottle for storage. Either way, your wine needs a happy, temperature-controlled place to rest.

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  • Rusty Gaffney


    I have both a home wine storage unit and a wine locker at Wine Cellar Club in Irvine. The main reason I like having a wine locker is that wine can be delivered six days a week into storage eliminating the problem with home and work deliveries. Access is not a problem because the facility is open six days a week. Once you become a wine enthusiast/collector you need both. One advantage of the wine locker you did not point out is it allows you take delivery of a wine order without your spouse finding out. A key advantage in maintaining marital harmony.

    The biggest threat with home storage units is loss of power or malfunction of the unit – both have happened to me in the past. A major mistake many buyers of home storage units make is to buy too small a unit. Figure about how many bottles you think you will store, and double it. Trust me, you will need the extra storage before you realize it.

    • Eric Anderson

      Rusty – I’m stunned…no…appalled that you feel the need to hide things from your spouse. I’m sure she shares everything with YOU. Thankfully, I have a spouse who encourages my hobby. Why, she’s almost an enabler! :-)

  • Jay Selman

    Eric, another spin on the home cellar is the “build your own”. This adds to the expense but also to the satisfaction. In terms of insurance, my advice is don’t assume you are covered. This is very important if you have expensive bottles. Some insurance providers require a special rider, others might not cover at all. There are providers that specialize in being able to provide wine insurance.

    Rusty’s comment should be taken as a fair warning. Backup power is a prudent buy for any home owner (wine owner or not). Cooling unit failing is more problematic, but not impossible to address.