These are just some of the questions I’ve been asked over the years about storing wine. The answers may be relevant for other site visitors.
What timber is best in humid conditions?
Any hardwood available in your area will usually be the most suitable for humid conditions. If you are choosing a timber for your racks (in Australia) you might want to use karri, jarrah, cedar, etc, although pine is also used successfully (do not use treated pine under any circumstances – it’s treated with arsenic and won’t go well with your wine!).
I want to store my wine under the stairs. Is that a good place and how do I stack the wine?
If it is cool and dark under the stairs it could be an excellent place to store your wine. If you have enough space you could add individual bottle racks. Also check out storage retailers for inexpensive wine racks. You may want to line the interior of the space with polystyrene insulation. This will assist in maintaining a stable temperature.
What is the best way to construct the racks to allow all the labels to be viewed?
Single depth individual bottle racks should work for you. Lay your bottles down with the labels facing up. The labels will be visible and any sediment will sink to the opposite side.
What type of wines should I start collecting in my cellar?
For whites look for high acidity. It is the acid level in a white wine that allows it to age. Some whites to consider are riesling, marsanne and semillon. In red wines look for tannins for aging potential. Try cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. Always check the bottle labels for an indications of the cellaring potential. Try to attend wine tastings at the larger wine outlets.
Do I need to build a specific area to store my wine ?
Wine needs a constant temperature, ideally between 55°F and 58°F (13°C – 15°C), humidity around 70% and a calm, clean odor-free space. Anywhere that meets that criteria will suffice. A basement, a closet, the spare room, etc. You don’t want your ceiling to be so high that you need a ladder to access you wine. A stable temperature is the most important requirement.