So, you couldn’t resist and bought more wine than you have space to properly store? You have three options: drink it all before it goes bad, acquire a wine refrigerator for the house, or find an off-site wine storage facility.
More and more wine aficionados are using off-site storage facilities to store their collections. Some serious collectors are storing hundreds of cases in an off-site facility while others are storing just a few cases.
There are basically two types of facilities: the utilitarian ones that are part of a standard self storage facility and offer very few services beyond a secure space; and the more upscale facilities that offer additional services beyond just the storage.
Whether you choose the utilitarian or the upscale, there are some important features to look for when making your selection. Any wine storage facility should offer basic services like proper climate control and solid security but as a wine storage consumer, you should be aware of the little things.
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One feature to look for is the facilities plan if the power goes out. Do they have a generator to power the refrigeration equipment? What happens if the refrigeration equipment fails? Do they have redundant systems in place? If a facility does not have a clear plan to address these scenarios, you should seriously consider another provider. Another feature to research is business licenses and insurance. If the facility does not have the proper business licenses for storing wine, your collection could be at risk. In terms of insurance, what coverage do they have for the facility? To what degree does it cover your collection? If not, do they have insurance available for purchase? There is a very good chance that your homeowners insurance does not cover your collection once it is out of your house. If your collection has monetary value, having the proper insurance coverage is a must.
Something else to consider is provenance. Does the facility have a record of the historical climate in the wine storage area? This may not seem important but it is. Say your collection is valuable and you decide to sell it. It is one thing to tell a prospective buyer that the wine has been stored in a climate controlled facility but it is another –and to your advantage as a seller- to be able to provide the potential buyer a report showing the historical climate in the facility for the time that the wine was stored. The provenance of the wine collection is very valuable.
One other thing to consider is access to the facility and to your secure area within it. Is it a long walk? Do they have some sort of dolly for you to use to carry your wine back and forth?
You may not have many options in your regional area in terms of storage facilities for your collection but be patient, prudent, and ask questions. Your collection is worth it.
Jost Lunstroth is a guest columnist for IntoWine.com. He is Vice President of Vineyard Wine Cellars, a Texas company that designs and builds climate controlled wine storage systems.