Monday, June 30, 2008

Off-Site Wine Storage

This cannot continue, friends. Average temperatures should be in the high 80's over the next three months. I don't mind if my daily drinking bottles hang out in the heat, but I'm in a bit of a pickle regarding the bottles I want to cellar. I had some space in a friend's cellar but he went and sold his house, completely disregarding my needs. I have to vacate by the beginning of August.

To top it off, my Eurocave is full. Too full. I cannot properly store bottles such as the 2006 Coudert Fleurie, the 2005 Bonhomme Viré-Clessé, or the 2005 Puzelat Menu Pineau, mid-term drinkers that should be treated with care for the next year or so, not abandoned to the 80-plus degree heat of my living room.

Seems as if off-site storage is the solution. I did a little bit of research and found that they all use approximately the same pricing structure. Storing the wine is not very expensive, maybe $2 per case per month. If you're talking about 10 cases, you're talking about $120 a year. Not too bad. They get you when you put the wine into storage, and get it out of storage. Kind of like the shaving or the printing model of revenue generation: razors are cheap, so are printers. Its the blades and the cartridges that get you. Want to retrieve those 6 bottles of Muscadet for your oyster party in December? That's $3.50 per bottle retrieval fee plus a $5 handling fee plus various other fees, such as the "Muscadet goes with Oysters" fee ($2.50).

Sometimes it seems like investing in another Eurocave is the best option, as I wouldn't pay to retrieve and replace bottles. But there is the space issue (otherwise known as the "wife will kill me" issue), the electric bill issue, the $2,000 now versus about $150 a month issue...

Would you mind sharing your experiences, recommendations, condemnations, ruminations, and whatever else on off-site storage? Please don't be shy! I can't be the only one trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.


Anonymous said...

Neil, Find a place that has wine lockers. You can then take wine out/put wine in yourself.

As for another Eurocave, let's do the math: $150/month is $1800 a spending $2000 now isn't dumb.

peter said...

...but the space/wife issue is a real one.

I've got some room in my basement; Mary keeps her stash there. Interested?

Edward said...


This is surely every (married) winos dilemma.

I toyed with the idea of keeping a separated wine cabinet at work, creating my own off site storage facility. I could then lease space to my married wino colleagues!

In the end, I find I'm in your situation, with my solution hinging on drinking wine sooner and more often. . .

Cliff said...

I think it depends how disciplined you are and how easy it is for you to separate out long-term wines. If you can pull a bunch of long agers, you can probably find more affordable options outside the immediate NY metro area. Having said that, I pay for Chelsea. The service is great now that Marc has taken over, but it is not cheap.

Anonymous said...

I echo Jack. I've never even heard of the retrieval-type fees you mention. My wine is stored in a 100+ year-old man-made munitions bunker at the Presidio, the former military base in the Northwestern corner of San Francisco, where I provide my own lock and can come and go as I please to add or pull out bottles. There are lots of places like that here, so there has got to be something similar in NYC.

P.S. Balsa wood barrels was a joke.

Cliff said...

It depends on the kind of service you're looking for. I don't have a car and can't schlep down to storage easily, so I like the ability to have a storage facility accept deliveries and keep my inventory. If you just want a locker for long-term storage, looking beyond the City probably makes sense.

Brooklynguy said...

wine lockers that i can enter myself - sounds like the way to go. now, must determine whether or not they offer this in NYC.

and storing outside NYC i guess makes a lot of sense for the bottles that i want to be extra patient with. hadn't thought of that - thank you cliff!!

peter - a nice offer, but probably impossible to do.

and Edward - i like your solution and have for better or for worse, already been employing it.

a munitions bunker steve? i didn't take you for the guns and ammo type. do yousometimes find that your wine offers hints of wanton violence and bravado with a subtle potassium nitrate underpinning? i thought balsa barrels was a joke, but i'm a little slow sometimes.

Cliff said...

I don't know if Chelsea has room at the moment, but they definitely have lockers that you can manage yourself. The issue, to me, would be cost. There's a bunker in CT and an old mine in Kingston NY that I've heard good things about.

Anonymous said...

We had this same dilemma being in sunny HOT Florida. Even with the AC on it is 80 degrees!

My husband took a small outside entrance storage room, cut a hole in our family room to access it and we went about collecting a chiller, plastic for vapor barriers, insulation, special insulated door and made our wine racks.

The room is only 3x4, granted we won't be holding any tastings in there, but for us, it holds over 400 bottles plus several cases.

The cost to do this was basically the chiller that we purchased online:

the unit we bought was open box, but works great ... everything together about $1,200.

Now all we have to do is walk over and unlock the "vault!


Brooklynguy said...

thanks for this denise - very interesting.

Cliff said...

Any further reflection on how things have been going with Acker? My wine keeps piling up, as does the expense of paying for storage in Manhattan. Do you have them accept wine and deliver it to you?

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Cliff - Acker is really great so far. They're helpful, responsive, and easy to work with. They pick up from anywhere in Manhattan and deliver there too. I've even been able to get them to pick up directly from Chambers Street. And they will auction off anything if you ask them too, a nice side benefit for those wines you no longer want. Thumbs way up so far.

Anonymous said...

Great news, thanks.