In my younger and wilder days, I kept my burgeoning wine collection in my bedroom closet. At the time, it was the only real option I had: my five or six cases weren’t enough to merit a more permanent solution, but I’d learned that leaving wine out in my shared living room risked not just spoilage but also pillage. What I learned is that while a climate-controlled storage facility might be ideal, you can store wine in just about any situation with a little diligence and ingenuity.
Wine Fridge Or Rack
Temperature is the single biggest threat to your wine, and it can be the hardest to control in a small apartment or shared space. A dedicated wine fridge might be a luxury that you either can’t afford or don’t have space for, but it’s the single best solution if you can make it work. Failing that, I recommend a place in your apartment that’s as cool as you can manage, and also that gets some airflow.
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In that circumstance, a wine rack can be a better option than wine boxes, which tend to trap hot air. Because hot air rises, the lower to the ground you can stash your wine, the better.
Direct sunlight is also dangerous, not just because it’ll heat the wine, but because it’ll damage it. Thus, a dark location is also critical, especially if you don’t have thick shades or curtains on your windows. If you can’t manage that, at least try to keep the wine bottles themselves covered with an opaque (but lightweight) material.
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I’d also strongly encourage you to not store your wine in the kitchen. Appliances put off more heat than you’d expect, and while you might not expect it, kitchen cabinets can get real hot in the summer time.
Another thing to consider is how extreme the temperature swings will be. While raw heat is bad for wine, so too are extreme temperature swings in either direction, so don’t just throw all your bottles in the freezer. A constant temperature is clearly best, but as long as the wine isn’t changing more the 10 or so degrees in an hour, there’s some wiggle room.
Invest In Proper Storage
Lastly, it’s worth asking yourself if now might not be the time to invest in a more serious solution. If your wine collection means enough to you that you don’t want to risk it, then spending a bit of money up front on a fridge, or on renting storage space, might be a worthwhile investment. That’s what I ended up doing, and not only did it keep my wine safe from the elements, it also came with a lock, just in case of thirsty roommates.