Whether you’re an oenophile with a collection fit for a Tuscan vineyard or your entire vino vocab begins and ends with the word oaky, the right wine storage setup is a smart investment. Yes, it’s true that good safekeeping means big money: HomeAdvisor expert Dan DiClerico says a basic 25-square-foot, 500-bottle room typically starts at around $20,000, while a fully tricked out, 150-square-foot space could set you back $100,000.
If you're not looking to go full room, there's the alternate route of investing in the right appliances, which come at a range of price points. Thankfully, there are tons of creative wine storage tips and great tech solutions for smaller spaces and budgets too, including those that literally won't cost a dime when your bottle service budget is zero. Read on and raise a glass to better cellars and home bar design ahead.
These are the three keys to keeping your wine in prime condition.
Too much direct sun accelerates aging, so “be conscious of your exposures,” says designer Michelle Morgan Harrison. In other words, make sure it doesn't get too much or too little light (it's a little like plant care, in that grapes can be fussy). If you want to keep your collection on display, choose a UV-filtering glass enclosure and swap out incandescent for low-voltage LED bulbs that emit less heat, advises designer Brigette Romanek.
Keep humidity levels around 60 percent (dry enough to prevent mold but moist enough to keep corks from drying out) and the temperature at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or so, says Romanek. Install a compressor refrigeration system for a full room—build it into the ceiling for the a sleek disguise—or go for an integrated wine cooler in a kitchen island, cabinet, or other surface.
Storing bottles horizontally keeps oxygen from slipping in through the cork (this can impact the quality and preservation and can also cause corks to swell). For those seeking form and function, think about a wall-spanning wood rack made from walnut, cherry, or mahogany—all of which can withstand higher humidity levels and keep mold at bay.