Hi everyone, this is my maiden post.
I have three-part wine storage system.
First, about 250 bottles at any one time in whole and half cases with the WS in Stevenage, with a spread of drinking windows from now up to around 2035. That’s about £150 a year (cheapest storage on the market). I also have a few with BBR (bit more expensive).
Second, a 150-bottle EuroCave cabinet at home, bought off eBay for £800. That’s a lot for me, but it would have been £2k new. Word to the wise: if you do buy a second-hand EC, it’s vital to transport it standing up. I hired a transit myself and went on a mission from Sussex round the M25 to Dartford.
My EuroCave is for better wines with longer drinking windows (say £12 and 3 years plus) that I pull in from my WS storage. After all, these can have 10-15 years of drinking ahead of them, so I want to maintain their condition. I store lesser whites and delicate reds in there too, believing that bigger reds with a bit of tannin are more robust in the short term.
I also use it for longer-term wines that I buy from other merchants, either in lesser quantities and/or from those who don’t offer storage. (On that note, I’d highly recommend southern French red fans to check out Leon Stolarski’s great range of Languedoc wines at all price points sub £40, many with a few years on the clock already. I hope mentioning WS competitors is not against the community rules!)
Finally, I have racking space under the stairs for about 40-odd bottles, which is for everyday, higher-turnover wines that won’t be sitting around for long. I’d like to have everything in the EuroCave, but read on as to why not.
My EuroCave does the job I need, but as other have said, the capacities they advertise for any cabinet are usually contingent upon:
a) Using only two or three shelves and stacking high, which can be a pain when you want to get to something a couple of layers down at the back – it can feel like a mini potholing expedition.
b) All your bottles being of the same shape, typically Bordeaux style. I have a fair few like that, but they are joined by a whole Noah’s Ark of shapes including Beaujolais (Thevenet makes lovely Morgon but I curse his bottles!), Burgundy, Provence, Alsace, Rhone and Northern Italy. That compounds the problems of stacking and I sometimes fear the whole lot coming a cropper when I open the door. I can sometimes hear the EuroCave’s tectonic plates shifting in the night, too.
I recon 120 bottles is my comfortable and practical maximum in a cabinet advertised at holding 150. And I’m pretty much at that max now. If and when the cabinet packs up, I might be tempted to bite the bullet and go for a 180-bottle version. It’s a lot of dough, even second hand (for a younger one), but I take the view that I invest a lot of money (for me) in my enjoyment of wine, so apportioning a segment of that budget is akin to a petrol head keeping a vintage car in a garage.
Like some of the others posting on this thread, my dream is to have a proper cellar. By that, I mean not a unit-conditioned wine room, but an old, subterranean space where mother nature maintains that consistent c.12c, 70% humidity that wine really wants. And an authentic sprinkle of dust on the labels would add some romance!