Whether you have a vast, well-preserved alcohol collection or just a small cabinet full of Family Wedding Wines (guilty), it’s always a good idea to start thinking about the liquor in your house (especially during the work week). Alcohol needs to be stored in a safe place that has the right temperature, storage configuration, and level of accessibility; while your wine room or bar can be a great place for people to gather, sometimes it’s best to set it apart from the rest of your home — especially if you have kids or a particularly valuable set of stemware. Here are a few ideas for creating the perfect wine/liquor room:
A temperature-controlled room
You want a room that not only looks good, but also meets the basic requirements of alcohol storage. Alcohol should be kept in an area where temperatures don’t get super high and don’t reach extreme lows either. The decision to refrigerate your liquor could depend on when you plan on drinking it; if you have a collection of expensive liquors or something you want to get some longevity out of, keep them in a temperature-controlled area that limits the chance of exposure to extreme heat or cold. Heat can age your wines faster and result in a flat, “cooked” taste, while keeping wine too long in the cold can dry out the cork – which allows air in – or freeze the wine enough to pop the cork out entirely. It’s best to sit in a happy medium!
Add a sitting area
Speaking of sitting…I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy things more if I can sit down. A wine room or bar area is a great place to socialize or discuss the things that drinking-age people like to talk about (politics, the environment…everything that makes you want to drink, basically). The bar doubles as a seating area and a prep station; the storage area itself can be set adjacent to the bar area or even out of sight. A bar area makes a great addition to a home theater, living area, or even…(see below)
Add to an existing kitchen area
…the kitchen! The prep space that your kitchen provides can be nicely accented by liquor-friendly appliances such as wine fridges. They come in a variety of sizes, from full height models to undercounter versions, making them the perfect fit for any kitchen, kitchenette, or island. A free-standing or undercounter wine fridge gives you proximity to your stemware and fixings, as well as the sink and dishwasher for easy and organized clean-up.
Give it its own room
The best way to keep light, dirt, temperature swings, and unwanted fingers off of your bottles is to give them their own room. If you have the space to spare you can set up a variety of racks and cabinet systems; some liquors benefit from being stored at a horizontal angle and having an entire room to work with gives you the option to provide the best type of storage for each type of liquor you have. If you have a small collection then an entire room would probably be overkill, but if you’re a serious collector or connoisseur or you attend a lot of weddings, a literal wine room may be your best bet.
Or use space you already have
Unless you need a space for cleaning supplies — or housing Harry Potter — the space under the stairs can often go unused. Available space like this can be a great alternative to having a completely separate wine room, especially if you’re tight for space.
Add a touch of glamour
Though a wine room undoubtedly serves as a practical utility, there’s no reason you can’t add a touch of pizzazz. The soft lighting from a fixture such as a chandelier is gentle on your wine but makes a statement in the overall design of your space. Just as wine has little accents that improve the flavour and satisfy the palates, the wine room benefits from design choices that add a unique and interesting twist to a typical storage-style area.