Unless everyone can own a Napa Valley vineyard, storing wine at home can seem as daunting as determining the authenticity of a labeled Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. But it’s not very difficult to create wine servers or storage spaces on a small scale. By meeting the ideal specifications, wine can be stored and enjoyed in the comfort of home. All it takes is knowledge of the requirements and a definitive list of preferences.
Whether the wine is stored in a cellar, cellar, or on a custom server, the same main considerations hold to preserve wine quality: humidity, temperature, and storage position.
Humidity – Ideally, wines should be stored in a slightly humid environment to ensure that the corks on wine bottles do not dry out. If they do, the wine comes into contact with air, oxidizes and loses its quality and flavor. An atmosphere that is too humid, on the other hand, can damage wine bottle labels or attract the growth of microorganisms within the storage space. That’s why wine servers are made from solid wood: it’s porous enough to retain moisture, yet easy to keep clean, cool, and dry.
Temperature: Ideally, most wines should be stored in a slightly cool, but not refrigerated environment, and away from direct light, which can heat the wine and affect its quality. It is not ideal to store wine inside normal dining room furniture, such as cabinets or exposed shelves. The cabinets are always opened to get other items from time to time, and the open shelves are exposed to daylight and sudden changes in temperature, depending on the weather. Wine should be kept in a dedicated space such as a room or a dedicated solid wood cabinet.
Storage position: Champagne can be stored upright, but experts recommend storing other wines at a slightly oblique angle rather than upright or upside down. This orientation of the bottle allows the wine to touch the bottom of the cork. The cork must be moist so that it does not dry out. At the same time, this position will not displace the air bubble, or the vacuum, from the top of the liquid, because it helps the wine to mature and age better. This is not as feasible, or as safe, with the flat surfaces or shelves found in typical dining room furniture or home storage spaces. It is best to have a custom wine server to safely store wine in an angled orientation.
Some minor considerations may also be taken into account, such as vibration or the stability of the wine bottles. It would be advisable to store the bottles in tight or secure places to limit alteration of the contents or the risk of the bottles breaking. The security of the wine’s location should also be considered, especially if the wine owner has rare and very expensive varieties of wine in his collection.
With these considerations in mind, the next step is to determine how to purchase and set up a home wine server.
Wine servers as solid and lasting investments
In town, there are a few local wineries that offer to keep customers’ wines in ideal condition, for a fee. But it’s actually less stressful to just recreate the ideal conditions at home.
Typically, people buy wines only when they are going to consume them immediately, such as for a special occasion or holiday. If this is the case, it’s perfectly fine to simply store the wine in the box or packaging it was purchased in and keep it in communal spaces. Short-term exposure to the elements does not have such detrimental effects on wine.
Good wines, however, are investments and their value and quality increase over time. If the wine owner wishes to keep a collection of these wines, adequate space must be allocated for the bottles.
A cellar, a cabinet under the stairs or a closet would already be good examples of spaces to store wine. If they are available, the remaining step would be to build solid wood shelves to properly place the wine.
Wine racks made of other materials, or light wood, are already widely available in appliance stores. Most of these options are practical, but they are generally ideal only for short-term storage or for wines that will be consumed immediately anyway.
If space is a constraint, or if wine is frequently brought out for entertaining or celebrations, a more practical option would be to install a wine server in the dining room, foyer, or kitchen. It can be customized depending on the size of the wine collection.
It is up to the wine owner to decide whether to hire professionals or personally install a wine storage area. But the quality of the servers or bottle racks largely depends on the type of wood that will be used for construction. It must be made to last a long time, withstand wear and tear, and be beautiful enough to match the rest of the owner’s dining room furniture and accessories.
Wood Options for Wine Storage
Solid wood is really the best material to build wine racks or wine racks like most dining room furniture. They are durable, easy to repair, and their aesthetics never go out of style. Wood naturally changes color over time, due to natural weathering. It also easily accommodates hand “staining” or blackout for a more rustic or vintage look.
Solid wood is also more ideal than other materials because it is more resistant to changes in temperature. However, it is also prone to natural damage such as weathering, organisms, or scratches, cuts, or gouges on its surface. Hardwood would generally be resistant to these agents if pre-treated.
Any type of hardwood is ideal for creating a wine server, as long as it is of good quality. It is also important to treat the wood with a waterproof finish to make it resistant to stains and damage. Choosing which wood to use for servers or shelves depends on the wine owner’s preferences for color, texture, look and finish, just like choosing any other dining room furniture.
The resistance and hardness of the wood will depend on the function and size of the collection it will house. For wine racks, using strong, sturdy wood will suffice, but for wine servers, more durable types of wood are needed if they can hold not only wine bottles but also wine accessories all at once. It could also accommodate a heavy cooler if the server will be placed above ground and prone to hot temperatures.
Here are some examples of popular wood material options for wine servers. These hardwoods are the types that are already available at lumber stores or specialty stores. They are also types that will be offered by professional cabinetmakers. For discerning wine owners, rare and special wood may be an option, but the priority is really the strength and durability of solid wood.
Cherry – This reddish-brown hardwood is popular because of its uniform texture and its propensity to look beautiful after it is “polished” or polished. Compared to other types of wood, cherry changes color greatly with time and natural sunlight, eventually taking on shades of a deep reddish-brown coloration.
Oak: Oak is an extremely strong and solid type of hardwood. Its variety of Red Oak is the most common choice for dining room furniture and other wooden furniture. It is more durable than other types of solid wood and is more resistant, though not immune, to staining over time.
Hickory: Hickory is the hardest and most solid type of hardwood readily available on the market. Unlike other types, it naturally comes in various shades (such as medium blonde to brown), with light and dark patches appearing on a single surface. It changes color substantially.
Walnut – Walnut is uncommon compared to other types of wood. It also has a rougher texture compared to other solid woods. It is much darker in color compared to other types of wood and changes color slightly with age.
Hard Maple – Hard maple is a rough wood and has a lighter texture compared to other types, so it doesn’t require “staining” or artificial coloring like other types. Your natural shade may even become lighter over time as you age. But it is very durable and resistant to cuts, cracks and scratches.
Soft Maple: The natural coloration of soft maple is irregular. Although it is whitish in color, it usually has a noticeable grain pattern on its surface. It is ideal for storage interiors, or stained with a dark color.
A serious wine collector can enjoy the benefits of a well-constructed wine rack to safely display and store their entire collection. People who enjoy good times with their friends and family can be better entertained with strategically placed wine servers that can hold not only wine bottles, but also wine accessories like glasses, decanters, cork openers, and more.
Regardless of the situation that applies, the ideal options can always be determined by doing a little research and exploring all the options available to a wine owner. A well-constructed wine rack or wine server can make a beautiful piece of dining room or hallway furniture. It can last to become an integral part of memorable events, and it can be passed down from generation to generation, like an heirloom.