Ways to incorporate wine storage into your kitchen design

Love your wine but don’t know how to store it in style? If it’s in a cupboard out of sight or simply sitting on your worktops then it’s time to consider having a specially-built area in the kitchen to both display it and make sure your wine is stored at the correct temperature.

If you have plenty of counter space then you might want to display your wine in a small wine rack. It’s also easy to access when you want to open a bottle for dinner. The crucial thing here though is to ensure the stored wine is nowhere near direct sunlight. That’s because too much light can ruin the flavour of your wine and speed up ageing. In fact, expensive wines should always be hidden from the light.

The top of the fridge is a common place for wine to be stored, but it’s not ideal. Every time the fridge door is opened the wine will be jostled slightly which over time, will affect the taste. In fact, in the trade, wine which has suffered too much vibration and jostling is said to be ‘bottle shocked.” The condition is also referred to as “bottle sickness” and a wine in this condition is really not something you, or your wine-loving guests, want to taste.

A pantry is a good idea for storing wine but even artificial light - which you will inevitably switch on when entering the room – can cause problems. So, even here, wine should be stored carefully. That means storing it in drawers or, if on shelves, then on the very bottom shelf since that receives the least amount of light. It’s also much cooler than a shelf higher up.

@dianemcmartin: “Heat causes a number of problems for wine. Wine that’s been exposed to temperatures above about 75 to 80 degrees F for an extended period of time won’t taste its best. How long this takes depends on the wine. Some wines, like, say, a Pinot Noir from France’s Burgundy region, are fragile little flowers who will suffer from this type of exposure more easily.”

“The other dangerous thing about extreme heat damage is that, if the wine is closed with a cork, the heat can cause the cork to push out of the bottle, breaking the airtight seal, and sometimes causing wine to leak out along with it.”

Wine bottles can be stored upright in a cabinet but if they are high quality then the wine should be laid on the side. That’s because expensive wine tends to have a natural cork stopper. Ideally the wine inside should always be in touch with the cork to prevent it from drying out. If a cork dries out it can result in air getting into the bottle which will eventually ruin the taste of the wine.

Refrigerating wine

If a bottle of wine has been opened, then where you should store it depends on the type of wine. To retain taste, white wine and champagne should always be put in the refrigerator. Both should be chilled for around two hours prior to serving.

Red wine should only sit in a fridge for chilling purposes and even then, for a mere 15 minutes at most.

Kitchen wine storage ideas

There are lots of areas of a kitchen that can be adapted to allow you to store wine. You could have a customised wine cooler, for instance, or simply clear an area on the top of a worktop and set up a smart wine rack.

Wine cooler

If you have the space in your kitchen then incorporating a wine cooler, with a glass door, is a great idea. It’s practical and looks glamorous too (especially if it has ambient lighting). A wine cooler doesn’t necessarily have to take up a lot of space in a kitchen. It can, for instance, be tall and narrow – just three bottles wide – or sit under the counter. It can also be built into a kitchen island as a single column or have it as large as you like. Here are some of our favourite ideas:

Part of the design

If you are fortunate enough to have a kitchen designed from scratch, then this is an excellent way to incorporate a wine cooler that suits your purposes perfectly. Having it as part of the design, rather than an afterthought, will allow your kitchen to retain its contemporary streamlined look.