Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Finding a safe home for your wine!


As more people are buying wine as an investment Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall looks at solutions to wine storage.

A glass of good wine is one of the real pleasures in life and a lot of wine these days is meant to be consumed shortly after purchase, which some might say is quite fortunate. However, if you like to keep good wine a little longer (or buy in bulk) then the location and method of storage is an important consideration.

Wine constantly develops in the bottle so you need to ensure it is kept away from direct sunlight and constant vibrations, with corked bottles stored on their side to ensure the cork remains moist (screw tops and champagnes can be kept upright). You also want to use a method of storage that is both secure and efficient.

If you are only keeping a few bottles for a short time then the Menu Wine Runner will help turn any shelf into a secure location. The pleasant stainless steel and rubber design is contemporary and at £24.95 it is an inexpensive option (www.wineware.co.uk – 01903 786148).

Alternatively, those holding a small stock under the stairs (or on the wall in the kitchen) might want to consider the Rosendahl Wine Tube Wine Rack. Wall-mounting a wine rack saves on shelf and floor space and this smart design allows bottles to be suspended perpendicular to the Winetube itself (£58.99; www.drinkstuff.com – 0845 313 3352).

Many wine retailers advise you to ensure your storage location remains at a fairly standard temperature (ideally around 13C) if you are keeping stocks for more than a couple of months. If your wine is kept too warm it will age faster, too cold and you are likely to see deposits developing. Once long-term storage is a consideration, there are a variety of options available to you depending upon budget and requirements.

The best option to store a few bottles at a constant temperature, but with easy access must surely be the John Lewis JLWF151 Wine Cabinet. The 15cm wide wine cabinet holds seven standard bottles and can easily be designed into the layout of your kitchen (£199; www. johnlewis.com – 08456 049 049).

For those who have a location with a regulated temperature, but are looking for good racking, I would consider Cavicase wine racking from Wine Storage Solutions Ltd. This versatile system features three methods of storage from simple secure stacking of bottles, to pull out shelves and units to accommodate the glorious boxes that hold a fine vintage. Prices start at £82 for a standard element which will hold 72 Bordeaux shaped bottles on three shelves (http://www.winess.co.uk/ – 01608 645083).

Should you need assistance in achieving a constant temperature for your wine, then an electric wine cabinet will probably suit your needs better. However, these still need to be kept in an area that does not fluctuate wildly in temperature (so choose your brand carefully if you are going to store in the garage). When choosing a cabinet, consider the volume of bottles that you are likely to need to hold and the efficiency – glass doors might look more aesthetically pleasing, but they do not insulate as well as solid ones.

There are options to suit all pockets from most quality electrical retailers and specialist wine storage retailers ranging from about £700 to £2,500.

However, if you really hanker after a wine cellar, but never thought you had the room, then Spiral Cellars could be the answer to your prayers. These cellars are installed in the floor, need no planning permission and can be accommodated in a space only 2 sq m.

With prices from £13,400 for a 1,000 bottle cellar these are for the serious wine buff, but are a beauty to behold (www.spiralcellars.com 0845 241 2768).

Jamie Hempsall is a member of the British Institute of Interior Design. He is available via his website www.jamie hempsall.com or on 0800 032 1180