You don't have to be a millionaire to collect wine, but you'll need the right cooler to store your prized bottles. Luckily, you don't need to spend a fortune.
When storing high-quality wine, serious enthusiasts must consider the temperature, light and potential for movement in the space. Options vary from simple cabinets to mahogany-paneled rooms that allow owners to control its humidity through a Web site. Unless you own an extensive collection of wines, a cooler that fits below a counter is often your best bet.
Most under-the-counter storage appliances, which are typically also available as freestanding units, will hold 48 bottles of wine. Many offer two or three cooling sections, allowing you to keep red wines at 55 degrees, whites at 50 degrees and Champagnes at 45 degrees.
storage units have five maple-trimmed shelves that slide out for easy access, and a fixed lower display rack with its own temperature-control panel. The appliances offer three temperature zones and resist vibrations, which shake a wine's sediments and disturb the aging process. They cost $1,200 to $3,000, and come in a variety of styles and sizes, including ones with two drawers and narrower versions that hold 24 bottles.
series from KitchenAid, a division of
, stores up to 46 bottles on maple wine racks for $1,200 to $1,850. The units, available in stainless steel or with wood trim, feature thermal glass doors that protect the wine from the sun's ultraviolet rays. The company also offers 22-bottle models.
suits enthusiasts with slightly larger collections. The stainless-steel appliance holds 57 bottles and features seven racks that slide out.
If you own hundreds or even thousands of bottles, most kitchen units won't do. Still, there are several options that won't break the bank.
, a division of
Dean and Deluca
, sells pre-made storage "
" you can install in your basement, garage or spare room. The room's walls are made of mahogany and oak, and feature redwood racks and enough space to stack cases. A Breezaire cooling unit maintains the proper temperature. The kits cost $3,925 to $5,895, depending on the room's size, and can fit as many as 2,600 bottles.
If you must have the best, companies like
in Aliso Viejo, Calif., and
, which has showrooms across the U.S., will build anything a wine connoisseur could want.
Grotto and Apex can create rooms of any size and accommodate awkward spaces, in case you want to store your wine under a staircase. Grotto provides potential clients free design plans and quotes. Apex will craft a proposal that considers bottle capacity, the cooling system and the five types of wood they offer. All you have to do is stock the cellar and enjoy.
Bob Feeman is a former editor of Robb Report and Smart HomeOwner magazines, and now writes full time about a variety of subjects. He's based in Maine.