Why Proper Wine Storage Is Important

The world of wine collecting is a strange one. From an outsider’s perspective, spending egregious amounts of money on what many will argue is just grape juice seems inane. Whether it’s drinking bottles of wine that cost $45 at a local retail store, or consuming a magnum of 1979 Krug Collection Champagne currently listed at an auction in Hong Kong for between $1545-$2,445 (as I’ve seen a group do before lunch), many will argue that investing in wine is a waste of resources.

However, wine is a liquid asset to many people and an enjoyable hobby. There is value in the cache of a label and the pure enjoyment of uncorking a favorite bottle. Whatever the occasion, the label, the quality, or the price, it’s important to keep in mind that wine collecting is what you make of it.

If you buy into the idea that wine is in fact an important part of your life to the extent that you consider it an investment or are otherwise concerned with keeping it in its best possible drinking condition, then you are likely to understand the value of properly storing your wine.

Ideal 55’s business is based on the concept that your liquid assets are kept in a properly maintained environment at 55°F and 70% humidity. As wine collectors, we understand the value in having peace of mind when it comes to knowing that our bottles are being kept under ideal conditions.

While many wine enthusiasts understand the value in this, you would be surprise to know how many wine fanatics and people who consider themselves “collectors” don’t completely understand the reasons behind proper wine storage. There are a number of components that factor into the equation.

Here’s a little lesson:

Wine stored between 50°F – 55°F, in constant 70% humidity, and low light tend to age better than those stored in what is considered “improper” conditions. It’s extremely important to keep the temperature consistent and to avoid any fluctuations in humidity and to ensure that the wines are stored in an area with no, or very low vibration.

Now the reasons:

Even after bottling, wine is developing and changing, and harnessing the positive attributes of these changes is enhanced by one’s ability to properly store the wine.

Wines kept at lower temperatures age more slowly and steadily. Avoiding fluctuations (as in the ever-popular kitchen storage area) is vital in keeping the characteristics of the wine enjoyable for a longer period of time. The combination of temperature fluctuations and improper humidity levels affect the moisture level in the cork and its ability to keep the evolving liquid away from premature exposure to oxygen and the outside world. Depressed and dried corks as directly related to improper storage are a big no-no.

Avoiding prolonged exposure to light and vibrations will only help, as both degrade the longevity of a wine and it’s ability to age.

Whether it’s for drinking or investing purposes (or both), the value, both in taste and monetary terms, is influenced by a wine’s provenance. Knowing where and how it was stored are always the first question among serious collectors and auction houses.

At Ideal 55, it’s our mission to make sure that your liquid assets are protected. Not only do we monitor all of the aforementioned factors, but, rest assured, our facilities are incredibly safe and secure.

What’s better than knowing that your precious bottles of wine will be resting safely at Ideal 55 whenever you choose to enjoy them?

Cheers!

Wine 101: Off-Site Storage

by Leah Greenstein of K&L Wine Merchants

Ideal 55, a locally-owned company founded by George Fansmith initially to house his own wine collection, currently has four locations in the greater Los Angeles area (and one coming near LAX), offering top-notch storage and security for your wine whether you want to build a small collection, like me, or are on your way to amassing a large one. (They even have full-sized rooms perfect for restaurants, bars, hotels and people who have more money than Steve Jobs.) Their newest facility, which is just blocks from K&L Hollywood and opened back in March, is state-of-the-art, with biometric security, steel construction and on-site WiFi. And like all Ideal 55 wine locker facilities it offers 24/7 access to your wine, which is kept at a cool 55 degrees with 70% humidity, using multiple, extra-reliable refrigeration units to maintain temperature.

Not only are wines in Ideal’s lockers kept in optimal conditions, they’re unbelievably safe. One of the things that makes Ideal extra secure (besides their larger rooms being wired for retina and palm scanners) are the keys. Each locker is keyed separately, says founder George Fansmith and, “we own the license for the patent on this key. What that means to you, as a user, is this little key cut…world-wide that key cut belongs to Ideal 55 so no one can make a copy of it.” They also have electronic key fobs that require you to swipe upon entering and exiting, biometric fingerprint scanners that ensure even if your key and your fob are stolen that your wine is secure, and no signage on the street advertising where your wine is kept.

On a recent tour of the Hollywood facility George stops at a small locker stuffed, literally, with brown cardboard boxes, some on their sides. “Our basic unit that we build, we call a 12-case locker,” “we design it to be one, two, three cases across, two cases deep and then two cases tall. But we build our lockers tall and we give a lot of finger room…and one of the reasons I bring clients here is because he has 14 cases in a 12-case locker. That’s a great example, at least to new clients, of the use they can make of the space.” Lockers come bare, so you can also set up your own racking, if you’d prefer to take your wine out of boxes.

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