Everything you always wanted to know about private wine cellars

Wine cellar

Imagine a good friend dropping in for dinner unannounced, or your in-laws showing up to have a little chat about an important matter.

What to do? If you had a wine cellar, assuming of course you live in a house (but if you live in an apartment have a suggestion), you can just walk down, select a bottle or two, and decide as to what to cook in a short time.

In a pinch, food can be delivered from a number of pizzerias, Chinese food shops, even some restaurants.

Naturally made, wine being a living thing, tastes much better when it has “rested” an appropriately long time after a long voyage or short trip from the store (six months from a transatlantic voyage and two weeks from a store).

Also, many young red wines benefit from aging in a temperature and humidity controlled cellar.

For those reasons, a private wine cellar is highly recommended and it can be acquired at a reasonable cost.

First determine the location (ideally facing north), size of the cellar, and a budget.

The amount you can spend on a cellar varies from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. You can opt for a custom-designed cellar or buy one ready made that can be assembled.

Installation instructions come with the material and are easy to follow.

There are several specialized companies with a number of designs, ready to be shipped.

If you are hand and own the tools, you can build one yourself.

The ideal location of a cellar maintains a constant temperature. Wine quality suffers greatly at wildly fluctuating temperatures. Daily swings of 15 F ( 6 C) or more are serious threats. At warm constant temperatures wines mature and decline faster than at cool temperatures. The ideal temperature is 53 F ( 11C).

Make sure to build your cellar in an odour- and vibration free, and humid ( at least 40 and ideally 60 per cent) location.

If you buy wine as investment, a cellar comes in handy. Buying investment grade wines require capital and a profound knowledge of wine quality, regions and vintage assessment. Bordeaux, some Napa Valley (California) wines, vintage ports, and old Madeiras may be worthwhile investments if you know a lot of wealthy wine enthusiasts. In the U S A, the United Kingdom, and in most European countries you can but and sell in open markets, while in Canada with the exception of Alberta this is illegal, as it is the case in a few American states,

If you live in an apartment, you can buy a temperature controlled wine cabinet specially designed for such dwellings.

Various designs and sizes are available for delivery at short notice.

Always choose a high quality unit and larger than for your immediate needs.

It is important to select a reputable merchant who guarantees the equipment and is able to service it adequately.

A 100 – 150 bottle capacity should suffice in most cases.

Below, please find a list to start:
(Two bottles of each)

White wines

Generic Burgundy
German (Mosel and Rheingau)
British Columbia
New Zealand
South Africa

Red Wines

generic Bordeaux
Generic Burgundy
Tuscan reds
Venetian red
Piedmontese red
South African
Washington State
British Columbia

Sweet wines

Generic Port wines
Generic sherries (may be dry, semi-dry, or sweet)
Ontario ice wines
Late harvest German Mosel

Sparkling wines

French (may include one bottle of champagne)

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