Once you've purchased wine glasses that meet your needs, you will need to find a place to store them properly. Your goal should be to keep your stemware dust-free while minimizing breakage. There are many ways to store your wine glasses, depending on the amount of space you have available.
Stemware Storage Options
Many people keep their wine glasses on wine glass racks, which can hang from the ceiling, suspend from walls or cabinet shelves, or stand freely on the floor or a table. Wine glass racks can keep your stemware out of harm's way, but may accumulate to dust if they are mounted in open air. Wine glass racks, which may be made of wood or metal, can hold as few as four or as many as 60 glasses.
If your storage space is limited, consider keeping your glasses in stemware storage chests. These come in several types and can hold six to 12 glasses. You can usually find stemware storage chests at stores that sell kitchen and bath items. You can make your own storage chests from wine boxes with cardboard dividers, wrapping each glass in bubble wrap and placing foam padding above and below it inside the box.
Some wine cabinets include wine glass racks or shelves. You can display a collection of wine glasses in your wine cabinet and keep extra glasses elsewhere. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, make sure the cabinet is fastened to the wall and that the doors have latches so your stemware doesn't fly onto the floor.
Stemware Storage Recommendations
To help you decide which wine glass storage option is best for you, IntoWine.com spoke with a panel of wine aficionados and stemware and storage experts. Here's what they had to say:
Laura Mohseni, General Manager – Winery Division at Riverbench Winery in Santa Maria, California, says, "We always store glasses with their openings up – the rims are so fragile that if you store glasses rim-down, they weaken and are more prone to breaking." She adds, "To prevent dust, glassware that isn't used daily is stored in cabinets with glass doors. This helps with earthquakes, too. Though we've been lucky and haven't had a problem, the glass doors will keep most of the glasses from falling, as the cabinets are bolted to the floor or walls. Glasses in bulk are kept in their boxes until we have enough room for them in the cabinets. At home, cabinets are essential, too, and I buy those grippy mats to keep in my cabinets for them."
Erin Joseph, a Chicago-based senior public relations account executive, has a suggestion for people with storage space issues. "We found storage boxes for our recent wedding," she says, "at Bed Bath and Beyond (only online). I absolutely love them! We live in a downtown Chicago high-rise with limited kitchen cabinets, so these are perfect to load up and stack nicely up in our closet. They keep the glasses safe inside with the dividers and the removable labels are perfect for easy identification when they're stacked up."
Kent Lewis of Caribbean Stemware, the Riedel stemware representative for the Caribbean, says, "The perfect way to store wineglasses would be in the packaging they came in. That's somewhat unrealistic and looks pretty bad behind glass cabinetry. That said, there is a tradeoff between durability and center of gravity. If a wine glass is fairly durable then it can be hung by the stem or, except for champagne glasses, placed bowl down on a shelf and it should be reasonably stable, even in an earthquake. If the glasses are wafer-thin, hand-blown works of art, then setting them on the rim can be risky, especially getting them in and out of their storage area. In that case, pack them tightly in their storage are, side-of-bowl to side-of-bowl if possible, to keep them from touching at the rim and so they can lightly bounce off one another at their roundest point (wide area of bowl) rather than allowing a sharp edge (rim) to chip upon another."
Lewis adds, "[The w]orst thing possible [is to] let a heavy base come in contact with a soft rim by trying to save room by packing yin/yang style."
Helene Segura, M. A. Ed., CPO®, Certified Professional Organizer® and owner of LivingOrder® San Antonio, suggests storing your stemware according to how often you use it. She says, "If rarely used: higher shelf or back of bar cabinet. If used often: easy-to-access shelf near dishwasher. Store glasses in rows so it's easy to get [them] out and put back in without hitting other glasses. If stored "hodge-podge," it becomes an obstacle course. Store bottom up to prevent bugs and dust from entering drinking bowl." Like Laura Mohseni, Segura recommends that you take precautions if you live near an active fault. "In earthquake areas," she says, "store behind cabinet doors on slide out rack."
The Bottom Line
Clearly, there are many different ways to store your wine glasses, ranging from do-it-yourself options to high-end wine cabinets. Whichever option you select, taking the effort to properly store your stemware will ensure that you'll be able to enjoy it for many years to come.