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Best Cellars

Outstanding in both form and function, state-of-the-art wine storage options fit a range of consumers

Imagine purchasing the Bordeaux or Barolo of your dreams and waiting patiently for just the right occasion to savor it, only to discover that the cork has dried out and the wine is undrinkable—all because it was improperly stored.

Like any investment, wine must be safeguarded and monitored, regardless of whether you’re storing a special vintage that won’t be opened for several years or a bottle that will be consumed within the next few months. In order to derive the most enjoyment from your wines, they must be protected from the elements. The days of laying bottles in an open wine rack, leaving them vulnerable to heat and light, are quickly disappearing as custom-designed, temperature-controlled wine storage units have become more affordable and efficient.

 

“Consumers are more educated now and they’re seeing the benefits of Sub-Zero wine storage units,” says Jeremy McCulla, showroom manager at Clarke, New England’s Official Sub-Zero & Wolf Showroom and Test Kitchen, which has three locations, Boston and Milford, Massachusetts, as well as South Norwalk, Connecticut. “Back in the day, people would use wine coolers, but those only chilled the wine. They didn’t do anything to protect the wine from elements that are harmful to it.”

The fearsome foursome of harmful elements to wine is temperature, humidity, vibration and ultraviolet light. All four can strip wine of its complexity and character. Sub-Zero wine units allow consumers to set separate temperatures for red, white and dessert wines, to control humidity, to limit any jostling of the wine and to protect it from light with UV-resistant, dark-tinted glass.

 

Customization For Connoisseurs

At Clarke, consumers can choose from a wide selection of wine storage models including gleaming stainless steel and panel-ready options that allow homeowners to blend their wine storage with other cabinetry. They are available in three widths, ranging from 18″ to 30″, with 46- to 147-bottle capacity.

“Our fully integrated line has just been released and it includes enhanced lighting and some really nice accessory options including a special bulk wine drawer, pre-printed wine inventory tiles, door locks and more,” says Marco Barallon, corporate showroom manager for Clarke. “The 30″ Integrated Wine Storage models even offer an option for a cherry wood humidor, which fits perfectly in place of one of the wine storage racks.”

But wine storage isn’t solely about practicality anymore; it can now serve as an additional element in the design of a kitchen, living room, wet bar or even a wine cellar. Units can be custom-designed with wood paneling that matches kitchen cabinets, the furniture in a dining room or the various accoutrements in a den.

When Jennifer Quinlan of Duxbury, Massachusetts, wanted to remodel an area of her kitchen to serve as a wet bar, she called on designer Julie Lyons of Roomscapes Luxury Design Center. The Quinlans entertain frequently and, Jennifer says, a wine refrigerator was “a logical piece to add into the area.” The particular Sub-Zero unit she chose preserves and protects up to 86 bottles of wine, while down below, there are two commodious refrigerator drawers for sodas, beer, lemons and other bar-appropriate items.

“It is fully integrated within the bar area,” explains designer Lyons. “The finish on both the wine refrigerator with refrigerator drawers and on an identical tall cabinet is a soft glazed gray, further enhancing the furniture appearance of the Sub-Zero and the bar itself.”

 

 

 

 

Versatile and Attractive

Photograph by Shelly Harrison

A pair of 18- or 24-inch storage units can be integrated into a hutch, with a countertop or sink inserted in between. Homeowners can also cover the unit or leave the glass portion visible. “You can literally change the look of the unit based on the design of the space. And you can use any species of wood, from cherry to oak,” Barallon says.

Many consumers are now choosing to use multiple wine storage units in the basement, thus saving the expense of designing a wine cellar that is properly temperature-controlled.

“Instead of building a wine room, they are creating one with Sub-Zero wine storage. It’s almost endless what people can do with these units,” Barallon says.

—Rob Duca