Why I Cellar

Discussion in 'Cellar Stuff' started by flyingron, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Staff Member AWS Wine Judge

    This is derived from some notes I made for a chapter presentation:

    Why do you I cellar? I got started in wine when I ran the Marathon du Medoc in 2004. After that, I started getting big into Bordeaux wines. The halfway point of the race was at Chateau Pibran. Total Wine stocked that Cru Bourgeois wine and it was pretty good in the 2000 vintage. I decided to try ordering 2003 futures. Of course, before I got my wine, Total had it in stock as well. When I took into account the shipping on my wine and the discount Total would give on a case it ended up being a wash at about $22/bottle.

    The Wine Spectator wrote it up as a value wine. Total immediately jacked the price up to $39. It was pretty highly rated and for a long time Total continued to stock it, raising the price to $50 as it became a back vintage. Now would I pay $50 for it? No. But at $22, I can drink with impunity.

    I also spent time trying to find some back vintage stuff for Margy's 50th birthday and my daughters 21th. You can find old wines, but you're paying someone for the carrying charges (although amusingly, we found a wine store stocking back-vintage Beaujolais Nouveau, apparently unclear on the Nouveau concept).

    Sometimes, it's not just to age. I can go down and get a wine for dinner out of my stock. Having pork chops? You know riesling would be good with that, let me go get a bottle.

    So the reasons:
    1. To have a variety wine around readily.
    2. To age wine in a cost-effective manner.

    Evolution of my cellar.

    My first wine storage was an old "tinkertoy" wine rack that we had sitting in a box for years having received it as a gift. I put that together and held the 30 bottles or so of Bordeaux, etc.. Inventory initially was done in excel, but I quickly just devolved to writing the source and cost with a silver Sharpie pen on the bottle.

    Our next purchase was a 170 bottle, Le Cache wine refrigerator in Cherry to match our dining room (where it sat for years). The thing has a Breezaire cooling unit and served us well for a while. This also served as our interim cellar in the townhouse. Upon moving to NC, the cellar went to Grant Crandall.

    When finishing off the basement in our Herndon house for Margy's Endless Pool, I eyed a space that Margy had slated for a closet. It was about 48x56". I wrapped the studs with plastic and insulated it (cutting open the core of an interior door to line it with rigid insulation). I drywalled it and installed simple plywood bins on the walls. I put a through a Breezaire unit through the wall into the furnace room. It held about 560 bottles. I'd by then moved to inventorying things on CellarTracker.com.

    My current cellar is a large room racked out to over 3000 bottles. The entire room is sprayfoam insulated. I initially had a split system using a commercial (Tecumseh) compressor and an adapted Amana minisplit evaporator. After countless leaks in the evaporator (and replacement once), I had to abandon it. They stopped making the inside unit and the unit had the old "not so ozone friendly" R-22 which made it hard to deal with. I got a new Wine Guardian split system which has been chugging along well.

    So, what are YOU doing for wine cellaring?
  2. Dave Caruso

    Dave Caruso New Member AWS Wine Judge

    I started wine storage in our basement in the VA house. It was a nice cool 60 - 65 degrees all the time. So, it kept the wines at an acceptable temperature. Once we moved to NC, we purchased a Vinotemp cooler, with a WineMate standalone cooling unit. Holds about 200 bottles if you stack bottles to the left and right of the cooling unit. It has been working for us for about 6 years now. No issues.
    So now, we are moving up to a Le Cache Euro 3800 unit, in classic cherry. It uses a CellarPro cooling unit. Holds about 460 bottles. Waiting for it to come in around Nov 6. I have attached a picture of the unit.

    Attached Files:

  3. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Staff Member AWS Wine Judge

    Very, nice Dave.

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