Wine Talk

Snooth User: superab

Under house storage

Posted by superab, Jan 1, 2013.

Interested to know people's thoughts on wine storage. My house gets too warm and has too much temp variation to store wine but under the house is an option. It's walled in so is dark and maintains a fairly constant temp. Someone said I should wrap the bottles in newspaper and store them in polystyrene tubs to reduce temp variation. Would this help? Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Don't have any climate controlled places nearby and don't have money to buy a temp controlled winecabinet 


Reply by GregT, Jan 2, 2013.

Do a search on this site for this question. It's been talked about quite a bit. And check some other sites as well.

Light isn't your main problem. Temperature is. Are you talking about a crawl space under the house? If so, you'd be surprised at how much temp variation you really get under the house.

Don't know where you are but my hunch is that it gets way too warm in the summer to be good storage.  After all, there's usually no insulation if the house is built on block or concrete. They don't provide much insulation. Insulation is usually only to the floor above.

You might want to take some temperature readings through the summer and see what you get. Your idea of what's constant may not coincide with the actual situation.

Good luck.

Reply by EMark, Jan 2, 2013.

Superab, as GregT has noted there have been numerous conversations on this topic in the past.  I took Greg's advice and typed a couple things into the Forum Search box (right of the screen).  Here are a couple that I found:

The Home Wine Rack

Help with WIne Storage

Makeshift Wine Storage

Wine Storage in a Hot Country

You can use the Search box, yourself, and find others. 

For most people wine storage becomes a compromise--we have the wherewithal to buy wines that we feel can benefit from years of aging, but most of us do not have the wherewithal to have a storage facility that will hold all the bottles we want to age under perfect conditions.  Your description of the area under the house is sketchy but if the temperature does not swing too much, it may be an option.  I also think the "wrapping the bottles in thick wads of newspaper" will help.





Reply by superab, Jan 3, 2013.

Thanks guys :)

Reply by superab, Jan 13, 2013.

By means of a followup I sat down an worked out how I had approximately spent on wine and was astonished at how much money I had spent over the last few years (a little here and there quickly adds up)! So I've put all the cellar worthy wine in climate control offsite storage :)

Reply by EMark, Jan 14, 2013.

"I . . .  was astonished at how much money I had spent over the last few years."

We've all been there SuperAB.  Off-site storage is a good option.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 14, 2013.

GregT is right and not entirely right.  If your under-house storage is below grade, the swings will be much less.  The deeper you go, the closer you get to ideal temperature and also to steady temperature.  My "basement" is about four feet under grade.  That's enough that the temperature down there is a lot cooler than the outside temperature in summer.  There are also weak heat sources there in the winter in the form of a furnace that's far enough away and a water heater that is pretty thoroughly insulated.  If you only have a crawl space, it might not help much, if at all.

The foundation provides some insulation but not a ton, so it can get warm there in the summer if it's not much below grade.  It also depends on how warm your climate is generally.  For instance, in the summer my basement probably hits 70, perhaps a bit higher, but I go down and it's pretty cool even on the hottest days.  Why?  Because our night time temps plummet to the 50s, even if it's 90 out, and the air circulates very little down there, causing the temperature to change much more slowly. Basically, it hangs around the average, which is never higher than 70-75.

Given that the air down there won't circulate a lot, the lowest level will be coolest and have the steadiest temp.  Don't get racks, unless you have potential water problems, just store cases on their sides, only one case high. 

Why bother with styrofoam and newspaper?  Sounds really messy.  The idea is to simply insulate the bottles to slow down any swings from average temperature.  Use old packing blankets, which work fine and can cover a lot of bottles. 

Remember, it's all a compromise--you can spend money on storage, but that comes out of the wine budget.  If it costs ten dollars to preserve a $35 bottle better (by a couple percent) over 10-20 years, is it worth it? 

Reply by WinerySage, Jan 25, 2013.
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What's the temp at under the house? If it's stable around 57 degrees F, that's not too bad. That's what we usually recommend storing wines at. Try not too move the wine too much while being stored as well, so just don't shift them around or move them around consistently.

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