When it comes to entertaining, wine is one of the most traditional drinks there is. Since ancient times, sharing a glass of wine has been a sign of friendship and camaraderie. So when you have a few friends over, it’s never a bad idea to have a bottle on hand. But how and how often you entertain, as well as the size of your personal collection a make a big difference in the size and type of wine storage you’ll need.
Over the last few years, kitchens have really become the new entertaining hub of the home. With more open floorplans and plenty of seating, this type of layout makes for a much more casual atmosphere. So it’s no surprise that compact wine refrigerators are one of the most popular luxury additions to these spaces. Like a more traditional wine cellar, these keep red and white wines at the ideal storing and serving temperature, which means they not only work well for pulling out a bottle at dinner, but also for longer term storage of a collection of between one to two dozen bottles, depending on the size of the refrigerator.
On the other hand, if you tend to just share a bottle or two with a few close friends in a more traditional gathering space – like a living room or family room – you probably want to opt for something a little more svelte. I really love little accent tables like this one, which can hold somewhere between two and four bottles of wine, but also have built in grooves for storing stemware and occasionally detachable tops that double as serving trays as well. They’re elegant little pieces that can be left in place even when you aren’t entertaining, but make it easy to pull out a bottle without breaking up a more intimate gathering.
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If you don’t have much space to spare, or simply don’t entertain very often, instead of dedicating a full piece of furniture to the task of holding your wine, you might want to opt instead for something more compact and decorative. Wine caddies usually hold somewhere between one and three bottles of wine and simply sit on a tabletop. In terms of style, these run the gamut from elegant to positively kitschy, but are smaller, more portable, and less permanent than any of the other options on this list.
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If you keep a decent amount of wine on hand – say in the neighborhood of a dozen bottles – but don’t really consider yourself a collector, you probably want a slightly larger wine rack to keep all your wine stored in one place without taking up too much space. These range from beautiful decorative pieces with wine-bottle-shaped shelves to simple consoles or cabinets that are only about as deep as the length of a wine bottle. These are generally fairly compact (some smaller ones are even petite enough to be placed on top of a table), but nicely present a small collection of wine and keep the bottles close on hand for a party.
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Now, if you’re a real wine connoisseur with a very large wine collection (I’m talking, 100+ bottles), you probably want both somewhere to store them and a nice way to display them. Wine cabinets or bookcase style wine cellars are exactly what you need: these can store a lot of bottles all at once, and usually have several different types of storage that allow you to showcase your best vintages while letting your more average bottles of wine create a lovely and unique display, without sacrificing storage capacity. The biggest drawback to this type of setup is that it doesn’t contain any kind of climate control, which means it isn’t a great option for very valuable vintages, unless it’s placed in a climate controlled room.
If you do have very valuable wines (and particularly if you have a lot of them, say approaching the 200+ mark), unless you’ve converted your basement or cellar into an actual temperature controlled wine cellar, your best bet is to opt for a much larger version of those kitchen mini wine fridge models. Again, these refrigerators have several separate temperature controlled zones that allow you to keep your wine at the perfect safe temperature, but they also have UV-proof glass doors and stabilized shelves to further help protect the wine from damage. That said, they’re about as big as a full sized refrigerator, and your wine can only be seen through the glass via a few LED lights, making this a better option for serious collectors and long term wine storage (though of course it’s nice to have a wide selection of perfectly chilled wines to serve your friends at any given moment!).
What sort of entertainer are you, and what kind of wine collection do you have? Do you only crack open the occasional bottle, or do you have a prized collection? Let me know in the comments!