A Wine Cellar is a Natural for Today’s Simpler Lifestyle

Home Inspiration

Whether you are off the grid or just committed to a more organic lifestyle, a wine cellar is natural for those who are trying to live a simple life.  There are a number of ways that a wine cellar can benefit you.

Uncomplicated, No-Cost or Low-Cost Addition 

For starters, a wine cellar is one of the most uncomplicated additions you can make to your lifestyle.  You can find numerous do-it-yourself ways to build a wine cellar, but before you do that, take the easy way out.  Try one of these shortcuts.

Unoccupied Basement

If you have an actual cellar or basement in your home, that’s the first place to look. Is there an area that you can secure from extremes of heat and cold?  Can you add shelves for your wine bottles?  This may mean a little work as you add a wall to enclose the space and build appropriate shelving, but it isn’t like starting from scratch.  If you can do this, you’ve got your wine cellar in a matter of days.  

Large Hutch 

Another place you may be able to tuck a wine cellar is in a large piece of furniture. When televisions went from big and boxy to flat screen, it caused the gradual emptying of entertainment hutches. If you don’t have one, you can probably grab one off of a social media marketplace for $25 or $50.  Remember you want something with doors. You can add the shelves yourself.  Then it’s just a matter of placing it in the house where there won’t be direct sunlight and where you can keep it at a constant temperature.  

Spare Closet

While it’s rare to have a spare closet, this is another way you can do a wine cellar without spending big bucks.  Keep in mind that you want to maintain a constant temperature of around 60 to 70 degrees. This may mean extra insulation if the closet has an exterior wall.  It would be best if that exterior wall was blocked from direct sunlight.  

A Secure Outbuilding

If you have an outbuilding that has some form of temperature control, you could also locate it there. The biggest issue might be security if that’s where you keep a wine collection. If there just isn’t anywhere you can find to start your collection, you could consider a temperature-controlled self storage unit near your home.

The Possible Benefits of Collecting Wine

There are some monetary benefits to collecting wine, but they may not be the ones you think about.  Most wines these days have a shelf life of two to three years. So you want to be careful if you are collecting wines with the idea of storing them for decades.

Buy in Bulk

A wine cellar gives you the ability to buy good wines in bulk, reducing the cost. You can stock up on wine just as you would any other supply.  This is especially helpful when trying to buy organic because it can help reduce the cost of organic wine to be more in line with nonorganic wines.

Enjoy Experimenting

A wine cellar makes it easy to broaden your own palate. You can have a date night wine tasting or hold a bigger gathering with friends.

Invest in Better Vintages

Screw tops and composite corks are indicators of the trend toward cheaper wine with shorter shelf life. However, with a little study, you can learn to pick better vintages that will last longer in storage and be better as a result. 

You may be able to invest in some wines that will be worth quite a bit more in four or five years.  The key is to understand both wine and the market. This is not an easy way to make money, but it can be fun to investigate it and see if you have the knack for it.

Start Making Wine

Another idea, if you love the idea of being self-sufficient, is to make wine yourself. You can buy wine grapes and begin bottling your own wines.

How to Best Preserve Wine

If you do maintain a cellar, you will want to pay attention to the conditions that affect the wine. You can think of it like a computer.  If the area is too damp, that’s not good. If it’s too hot or if the temperature goes up and down too much, that’s not good. 

Avoid Heat, Sunlight, and Vibrations

Heat is the worst enemy of wine because it causes the liquid to lose its flavor and consistency. Sunlight is almost as bad as heat because it can set off a process that degrades the wine, destroying its shelf life. Another enemy is vibrations. Constant shaking can ruin wine. That’s why experts say not to store it in the refrigerator. 

Keep Things Dry 

Moisture and humidity should be avoided, especially if your wine has real cork.   Frankly, artificial cork is common, and, like screw tops, it doesn’t absorb moisture. Still you don’t want your wine in a constantly wet environment.

Maintain Temperature 

If you want to keep wine lightly refrigerated, the recommended temperature is 55 degrees. However, many wines don’t need any refrigeration. This is especially true of red wines. In that case, you may want to save yourself the cost of a refrigerated cellar and just maintain the temperature at around 70 degrees through other means.

The Right Position

Most wines have been aged using modern methods that prevent the natural separation that used to occur if wine was stored upright.  So, truthfully, the only reason to store wine on its side is if the winemaker used a real cork instead of an artificial one. That’s less and less likely these days.

Now that you know more about creating a wine cellar of your own, go for it.  This low cost venture will pay big dividends. Most especially, it will bring the joy of collecting and the fun of sampling a wider variety of wines.  Plus, you’ll always have a bottle to share when special friends come to visit.