Wine Storage Facilities

Not all wine storage facilities are alike. Some are better at environmental control. Some are dedicated facilities, often staffed by wine knowledgeable professionals. Of those, some are stand alone, others are incorporated into some wine related establishment. Some are adjuncts to generic storage facilities or warehouses.

Staff is always an important consideration in choosing a facility. Non-dedicated facilities often lack the professional expertise typically found at the dedicated facilities.

Remember, you are trusting valuable assets to a third party. Two recent high profile cases of fraud in California should serve as a warning. As of this writing, there is at least one wine storage "professional" doing business in the United States who has served time for crimes of moral turpitude. Do your due diligence.

It raises red flags for me when a wine storage facility talks about “approximate” storage temperatures versus precise temperature, “refrigeration” versus temperature and/or environment control, and worst of all temperature ranges versus temperature stability. There is no precise temperature most suitable for wine storage. Rather there is a range of permissible temperatures, of which one must be chosen and maintained. Constant temperature fluctuation will do harm.

“Refrigeration” is for vegetables. “Approximate” temperatures signals to me variation in temperature, as do temperature “ranges”. Significant variations in permissible temperatures, if allowed to occur regularly, can be as damaging to wine as high or low temperatures.   

Backup power is necessary for facilities that have poor passive capabilities in warm weather regions. Many underground, well insulated facilities can withstand lengthy if not indefinite power interruptions without harm. (These include numerous wine producing facilities around the globe.) If in doubt, ask about a facilities equipment and experiences at their location. Is the facility above or under ground? Where is the boiler room, if any, located? Heat rises!

Read contracts before you commit. Some facilities incorporate onerous provisions seeking to totally insulate themselves against lawsuits. Some of these "indemnification clauses" would have you agreeing to pay for their attorneys, costs, and liabilities in the event of any dispute.

Vibration has been proven to adversely affect wine. You would be prudent to avoid facilities where vibration may be an issue, particularly those that may be adjacent to rail lines and metro systems, or in buildings which have integral multi-level parking garages. Shake and bake is for chicken and pork.

That being said, the author takes no position with respect to the business practices and storage regimens of the following facilities, excepting his own,
The Wine Rack by David Gray. The list is provided solely for the convenience of the reader.

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