How To: Store Your Wine Collection
Your collection of 19th century Chateau Lafites or vintage Romanée Contis deserves storage as elegant as the investment it protects – here are some tips on how to choose wine storage solutions
As is the case with most appliances these days, there is no shortage of options when it comes to wine coolers. It all depends on your lifestyle; whether you’re a budding oenophile starting out with a modest collection, or a bona fide connoisseur who’s on a first-name basis with the vineyard owners themselves.
Your consumption habits come into play as well: are your wines meant as quotidian meal accompaniments, as the occasional social lubricant, or (especially with premium wines) as a special occasion tipple?
“Know your lifestyle and drinking habits before deciding on a wine fridge,” advises Lisa Ng, founder of Ansana Interior Design & Fine Arts. “This will dictate the fridge’s placement or locale in the house, and in turn, how best to make it visually pleasing (they tend to be rather bulky).“
Whatever the case may be, one thing’s for sure – proper wine storage is paramount. Christophe Bourrie, regional director of premium cognac Louis XIII, knows this well. His grandfather, Roger Lavie, founded Ficofi, one of France’s largest wine merchants. “You can kill your wine with only a slight temperature variation. It doesn’t matter if the temperature increases by five degrees over a year; but if that happens over a period of two hours, you’re going to kill it. Mature wines (older than 20 years) are most susceptible, whereas young wines are less fragile.”
Sub-Zero WS-30 wine storage unit
“In Singapore I would advise an underground cellar, because that’s where you have the least temperature variations. Then you have to make sure that your cellar is humid enough and that the temperature is kept constant regardless,” advises Bourrie, adding that the number of people allowed in the cellar at any one time should be kept to a minimum, to prevent body heat from inadvertently raising the ambient temperature of the room.
For smaller wine collections, Timothy Tjendra, owner/proprietor of restaurant/wine bar The Tastings Room, offers an alternative: “If your collection isn’t that big, as in thousands of bottles, I would recommend buying a wine fridge rather than building a cellar. It’s much more of a chore building a cellar because you have to insulate it, put a compressor inside, and build all the shelves. Having a wine fridge is just more convenient.” Tjendra uses a Liebherr fridge in his restaurant, while his adjoining cellar, which has a capacity of almost 3,000 bottles, employs a EuroCave system.
Arclinea VINA system
Chee Su Eing, managing director of interior design firm D’Perception Ritz, suggests, “If there’s the intention to house the wine fridge, it’s important to get a built-in model rather than a free-standing model as the ventilation provision requirement is quite different. This may ultimately affect the aesthetic of the furniture.”
The best wine fridges offer dual chilling compartments (this is more expected of larger-capacity units), double-glazed doors, adjustable temperature and humidity controls, smooth-sliding shelves with LED illumination and noise reduction features.
Pictures courtesy of respective brands
This story is adapted from "Liquid Assets", published in Singapore Tatler Homes Apr-May 2012 issue.