Ultimate Guide to Wine Cellars

Purpose of Wine Cellars

Like milk, wine can spoil, and changes in temperature or light exposur­e can increase the speed of the spoilage [source: Fraser]. Wine cellars work to protect your precious bottles from the elements, and they also give you a nice place to show off your collection and store those vintage labels. This is important, since proper storage can make all the difference in the flavor and body of your wine, and might even allow it to develop into itself as it matures. At the same time, aging a bottle for too long can ruin its subtle flavors [source:Vilim]. Since there are so many types of wine storage spaces, let's look at the traditional wine cellar and its purpose first.

For the Georgians, who appear to have been cultivating wine since around 5,000 B.C., the secret to vintner success is in the ground. Poured into jars after being harvested and mashed, the grapes and their juice were then buried in the ground until spring, when the fermented liquid was separated from the pulpy mash and re-poured into new jars to be reburied [source: Reader's Digest].

There's no need for such complicated matters when setting up your own wine cellar though: the thing to look at when selecting your storage space is whether or not you have a lot of bottles (and need a lot of space), live in a dry or wet climate (humidity effects wine), and the length of time you want to store your bottle [source: Pandell]. Depending on your needs, you can build a cellar that covers all three.

We all know that wine makes a great gift, and wine cellars provide the perfect place to put future gifts [source: Steiman]. For that special wine collector in your life, there's also a variety of accessories to be collected and relished. Our next section will introduce you to a few of them, including designer racks or shelving units [source: Wine Enthusiast].