Tips for Selecting the Right Wine Storage Facility

Wine Storage

Casual wine collectors and serious wine connoisseurs, can benefit from storing their wine collections at a wine storage facility. Whether you’ve run out of room in your home wine cellar or have some valuable bottles that would benefit from aging, the controlled conditions and expertise provided by a wine storage facility may be the perfect fit.

You have a passion for wine collecting, but need to choose carefully when selecting the facility to trust with your precious vintages. Your collection needs to be fully protected from damage and kept in optimal conditions.

Essential components of professional wine storage facilities:

  1. State-of-the-art security: The facility should have a centrally monitored burglar alarm system with signal continuity, video camera surveillance and security protocols in place to monitor staff and visitor access. Scott Torrence, Senior Wine Specialist and Vice President, Americas, at Christie’s Wine & Spirits Department says, “the primary benefit of off-site wine storage is security. Your home may be a secure place to store your collection, but this is about professional security: the consistency of temperature control, the single location, protection from earthquakes and other catastrophes. There’s also the ability to scale up as your collection grows.”* Whereas home cellars face space limitations.
  2. Temperature and humidity control: Wine enthusiasts agree, when properly preserved, wine can last for decades, even centuries, increasing in both value and quality. However, poor storage can spoil even the best wines. It’s crucial “the facility have temperature and humidity controls that are centrally monitored, with signal continuity.”** A back-up generator to ensure the proper humidity and temperature levels even in the event of a power outage, is also essential.
  3. Protection from fire: In April of 2019, two million bottles of wine were destroyed in a warehouse fire in south-west France. While no facility is 100% safeguarded from hazards, any proper wine storage facility should have a centrally monitored sprinkler system, or smoke detection system in place, as well as fire extinguishers throughout.
  4. Properly maintained building: the three factors with the highest potential for damaging wine are humidity, light and temperature. Therefore, it’s imperative to select a wine storage facility within a well maintained building. Annual inspections of electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems can help ensure they remain in good working order. To prevent possible water damage, a water leak detection device should be installed, on all air handling and air conditioning systems.
  5. The building is located away from potential risks and has an emergency plan in place: A wine storage facility built next to other businesses that represent risks, may not be the best place to store your valuable collection. Adjacent to a gas station or restaurant brings with it a higher risk of fire. It may not be possible for the facility to be located outside an area prone to wildfire (think Napa and Sonoma), hurricane or earthquake territory. If there is the potential for these risks, the building management should have a disaster preparedness plan in place. In areas at risk of earthquake, the storage racks that house the wine should be secured to prevent possible damage. The facility should be prepared to evacuate your collection, in the event of wildfire or hurricane.
  6. Keep facility signage to a minimum: Many storage facilities that house wine and other valuables keep signage on the building’s exterior to a minimum, so as not to alert the general public to the valuables stored within.
  7. Properly trained and vetted staff: Thorough criminal background checks should be performed on all personnel prior to hiring, and each staff member should be properly trained in how to care for and handle wine collections.
  8. Proper management of the collection: All bottles held in open storage should have an identification label and/or tracking number and the warehouse should maintain complete and updated inventories of all items.

wine storage facility

Benefits of storing your wine collection at a wine storage facility

Along with the peace of mind that results from knowing your precious bottles are protected by the professional security of a wine storage facility, there are other bonuses to storing your collection.

  • Quality control: One of the benefits of storing your collection is the option of shipping your purchases directly to the facility. The staff checks the condition of each incoming shipment, unpacks it, and will inform the collector of any disparity.
  • Secure cellaring increases buyer confidence: If you plan to sell your wine at auction, “potential buyers can be confident the wine has been stored correctly if it is cellared at a professional facility, according to Manhattan’s Chelsea Wine Storage Manager Tom Lester.”*
  • Members-only perks: For some collectors, the benefits that come from inclusion in an exclusive club are a major draw to storing their wine. Some wine storage facilities offer “members-only” access to benefits such as home delivery, invites to exclusive wine tastings, and members-only dinners and events.
  • Out of sight, out of mind: One of the more practical perks of storing your wine at a facility is simply that you are less tempted to drink it, if it is stored. Storing allows the wine the time it needs to mature.

Wine enthusiasts and novice collectors alike can benefit from storing their collections at a professional wine storage facility. Along with the protection that storing your wine collection provides, your bottles should be properly protected by collection insurance. McSweeney & Ricci’s Private Client Group provides access to custom collections and valuables coverage through premium partners like Chubb Insurance, along with high value home insurance, collector car insurance and more.

Protect what you’re passionate about collecting. For more information on wine collection insurance or for a complimentary review of your insurance coverage, contact McSweeney & Ricci’s Private Client Group by calling (844) 501-1361 or connect with us via email.

Sources:
*”How to Store Your Wine Collection like an Expert-Christie’s International Real Estate 04/12/18
**”8 Thing to Look for When Selecting a Wine Storage Facility” Chubb Insurance, Chubb.com