What’s in your Cellar?

What’s in your Cellar?

Recently, I noticed on the Direct Cellars Facebook member page some back-and-forth about how some members are trying to deal with the wine bottles and boxes that seem to be stacking up at the bottom of closets, and on the floor along the walls. This is an omen.

When the wine bug bites, one inevitable thing happens. The bottles start to pile up. Maybe you’re a DC member receiving a case or two a month, and not serving all of it at your wine socials. And if you’re severely bitten, you’re supplementing DC shipments with wines you bring home from the supermarket. One day, you’re buying two or three bottles at a time, and before you know it you’re hauling home case after case from some wine specialty store. Welcome to the wine world.

Then, you start having problems: namely, where to put all those boxes and bottles. Piling them around the corners of a spare room works for only so long. And the bottom of the closet will fill up before you know it, displacing all those shoes you never wear, and never will.

Allow me to offer several solutions to the problem, ranging from the primitive to the posh. You could buy one of those do-it-yourself wine rack kits from a bed and bath store, or get a small refrigerator that goes under the kitchen counter. Then, when things get really nuts and you’re into a hundred or so bottles, you’ll look for a freestanding wine refrigerator that keeps your burgeoning collection at 55 degrees and 70% humidity and costs about a thousand dollars.

The next step is to carve out some kind of space in the house for the wine racks or storage cabinet. Early in the obsession it might be a kitchen cabinet. Several of my wine geek friends live up north and are lucky (?) enough to have a nice cool basement. The racks are secured to the walls, boxes on the floor, and while the room is no showplace, at least the storage conditions will keep the collection in good condition for extended periods.

When we had a chance to build a new house from the ground up, I asked some friends who had cellars for some advice. Everyone told me exactly the same thing: “Make it as big as you can.” Why? Because anybody who decides to build a wine storage facility at home, whether a closet or a cellar, soon learns one inescapable fact. Build it, and you’ll double your collection in a year. Happens to everyone. Happened to me.

So getting into the wine life has its rewards…and its consequences. You’ll make new friends (especially if you have more bottles than they do), travel to interesting places, and have adventures worth talking (and writing) about. But those empty slots in the cellar continually cry out to be filled, and you may spend money you shouldn’t or sell one of the children to buy that “must have” case of Bordeaux, or those price-reduced bottles that pop up on the online wine auction sites.

It’s worth it.

Jerry Greenfield is The Wine Whisperer, an experienced public speaker and wine educator.

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