Do you love relaxing with a great glass of wine after a long day? What about entertaining friends over a great meal and a glass of red?
In Australia, most wine consumers buy wine to be consumed on the same day. But what if you could buy your favourite wine in bulk and store it at home in a way that retains its quality?
Wine cellars and wine fridges certainly seem like luxury items to have in the home, but they also increase the value and the enjoyment of your home.
Building a wine cellar
If you are a true collector of wine, building a wine cellar in your home may be an option. If you have an older home in the Inner West, building a wine cellar won’t always be easy, but it is certainly doable with the right building team on hand.
Basements and under-the-house storage spaces are often used for wine cellars but if you don’t have a basement or don’t want to spend the money on excavation works, there are other options ‒ a pantry, under the stairs, hallway cupboard or even a spare guest room. The main factors are that the room is cool and dry, free of vibrations and smells and where minimal to no natural light seeps through. As well, it’s important you can control the room’s temperature and humidity.
There is a lot of prep work that goes into building a wine cellar at home; from sealing the floors and walls to making sure no light seeps through the windows, this is going to be a big project.
After preparing the room, it’s all about the cooling unit. This is what controls the temperature and humidity of the room, so it is essential you get professional information on the right cooling system to install for the room you are setting up.
Installing a wine fridge
If you are keen to have a selection of wine at home, installing a wine fridge is certainly a more affordable option, with smaller fridges starting from only a few hundred dollars. And if you want to get this right, don’t think you can get away with a bar fridge. A true wine fridge maintains an optimum temperature of 12–18°C (warmer than most bar fridges) and the right humidity of about 70% as well as being a low-vibration appliance. In addition, wine fridges are much smaller, and can be installed in your kitchen or any other room where it fits best.
It is important to consider where you will install the fridge though ‒ under-bench or in-built fridges come with vents on the front that keep the fridge from overheating, whereas ones not specified for under-bench installation tend to need more airflow around them.
There are three key factors when considering where to install a wine fridge: they need to be out of direct sunlight, not installed next to a heat-producing appliance (such as an oven or a dishwasher) and you need to be able to open the door fully. You may need to move your furniture to achieve the latter.
Wine fridges are certainly an option and you can install one yourself at home.
Building your wine collection
Now you have your wine cellar or wine fridge installed, it’s time to start considering building your wine collection.
Wine collected as a collection can be expensive ‒ rare wines can sell hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly if there is a story that goes with them. The first thing to work out is if you are building a wine collection to drink or a wine collection for investment purposes.
Tip: Check with your accountant or financial adviser if you plan on building a wine collection as an investment. For example, if you want your wine collection to form part of your self-managed superannuation fund, you need to store your collection away from your home.
Setting your budget is important; walking into a good bottle shop can certainly set you back a sizeable sum. For wines to collect or to drink later, you are going to look at spending at least $30 a bottle and up to $50 a bottle as a minimum. The good thing is you don’t need to buy everything in one go.
It is a good idea to have a mixture of wines ‒ some for shorter-term drinking, some for ageing for the medium term and some for ageing for the long term. If you aren’t too sure what to buy, this is where the staff at a great bottle shop come in handy. Those who know their stuff will be able to give you some great information on what to buy and drink now, and what to buy and store for later. Some wine shops hold tasting sessions so you can learn about different wine styles. We also suggest finding a wine appreciation course so you get a better idea of what you’re doing.
So what to start a collection with? Start with your favourite grapes and brands, and then each time you purchase more, ensure that at least 25% of those bottles are new grapes and brands.
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