Wine Collections

Part 1 of 6

Consider a wine collector who stored his collection in a closet he had converted for wine storage. He installed a thermostat in the closet to monitor the temperature, which was controlled through the home’s air-conditioning system.

While he was away over a long very hot weekend, the thermostat broke and failed to trigger the cooling system. The temperature of the house and the closet skyrocketed to 100 degrees. When he returned home, he found $70,000 in damaged wine.

Although broken thermostats and electrical power outages may not be avoidable, there are still risk management measures that can be put in place to help prevent or reduce the loss.

For example, gas- or battery-powered backup generators could have kicked in when the electrical system broke down. Also, had the wine collector installed a temperature sensor and connected it to his central station alarm system, the central station would have been alerted that the cellar’s temperature had moved out of the optimum range.

Then, too, using a converted closet for storage and cooling that closet with the same air-conditioning system that cools the home is not necessarily an optimal environment for wine. The best location for a home cellar is generally below grade and adjacent to an exterior wall. Such locations tend to be cooler. What’s more, the northwest corner is considered optimum since it receives the least sunlight. (More on creating your cellar is discussed later.)

Wine reacts to its environment. Therefore, how well it is treated will determine how fast or slow the wine will age and how well it will reach its value and taste potential.

Keeping your wine collection safe is a priority for any wine collector, whether your collection consists of a few choice bottles or fills a cellar. Attention to these areas will enable you to realize the optimal maturation of all wines in your collection and ensure that you preserve and enhance its value.

Next: Storage Options Away From Home (part 2 of 6)