Understanding the optimal storage conditions for wine, including temperature, humidity, and light exposure, is crucial for maintaining the quality of wine in your club’s cellar or storage area.
I remember my first walk through the wine cellar at the club where I began my career. The term “cellar” might be generous; it was an unused office repurposed by the clubhouse manager, filled with precariously stacked wine boxes. Years later, at The Bohemian Club’s wine warehouse, I realized something: the size and state of a club’s wine cellar can reveal much about its food and beverage program.
A small wine room doesn’t necessarily signify an inferior program. Sometimes, limited space means the program requires more efficient management. What counts is how you utilize the room.
Ideally, the cellar should be in a cool, dry location, shielded from natural light. If space permits, consider the entrance carefully. Glass doors offer a modern feel, though they don’t block light, while carved wooden doors exude classic charm. Tailor the room’s design to meet member expectations. It could serve as a venue for pre-board meetings, offering hors d’oeuvres, cheese boards, and light snacks. In a spacious cellar, first impressions matter. A well-organized cellar might even persuade the board to invest more in the program.
When considering conditions, design, and appeal, practical options abound. Concrete or tiled floors help regulate temperature and humidity. Ensure proper insulation and protection against flooding or water damage. High ceilings? A railed ladder can add charm and functionality for accessing high-placed wines. Walls are valuable; I’ve yet to see a half-empty cellar.
Your cellar can also be a space for expression. Reserve an area for a tasting credenza or a decanting table as part of your plan. This ensures flexibility for hosting members or decanting special bottles. Member storage lockers add a personal touch. The more engaging your wine program is, the more sales it generates.
Numerous companies are offering creative designs that maximize storage for any size. When selecting wine racks, remember not all wines need horizontal storage. Age-worthy wines should lie down, but younger wines can remain in their cases. Consider the variety of bottle sizes and shapes; standard racks might not fit all. Explore options like diamond bins, corner racks, and racks for larger formats like magnums and double magnums. For maximum storage, design with the greatest number of racks in mind. Modular systems are adaptable and allow for future expansion. Ensure all racks are securely fastened.
Remember, wine is a living entity that responds to its environment. Storage and handling significantly impact its flavor, aroma, and quality. Key factors include temperature, light, and humidity. If possible, add a ducted cooling system to regulate the ambient temperature. The ideal conditions are around 55°F and 70% humidity, but experts agree on a range of tolerances, provided the environment remains stable. Install temperature and humidity controls to ensure corks stay hydrated and bottles last longer.
Finally, for a professional cellar that enhances your wine program and impresses members and guests, consider adding some flair. Wrought iron rails, framed wine maps, vintage decanters, or a display of antique wine keys can add a distinctive touch.