Five Essential Features of Wine Lover’s Home

One of the best things about undergoing a change of venue (we are moving), is it forces you to re-evaluate the set-up or functionality of your living space. As the packing for our move to Oregon commenced, little Henry George and I found ourselves standing in front of and staring at a collection of 250 bottles of wine. This is by no means huge. But it’s significant enough to get you thinking about the process of moving it and where it will eventually go.

We are a wine family. We serve wine frequently. Sometimes we serve lots of wine in one sitting. It got me thinking seriously about the really essential features of a wine lover’s home. By my calculation, there are five essential features a true wine lover must possess in their home:

Serious Wine Hardware
This primarily means glasses. And if you are serious, it means lots of them. Consider this. You have a dinner party for 10. Lots of wine will be served and folks need to have more than one wine in front of them at any given time. Keeping it conservative, at least three glasses will be needed for each place. But wait, what about the preliminary sparkling wine consumption in advance of sitting as well as the switch to still wine before sitting for the meal? This means at least 40 wine glasses and 10 sparkling wine glasses. But some will break. You need extra. By my estimate, a serious wine lover’s home needs to house at least 50 wine glasses and 10 glasses for sparkling wine. This doesn’t even count dessert wine glasses. And let’s not forget about the rest of the hardware: corkscrews, ice bucket, bottle stoppers (you’re gonna lose some corks). This is the bare minimum.

A Dedicate Home For Wine
It should all really be in one place and that place should be relatively cool, relatively free of bright light and prevent fluctuations in temperature. There are lots of ways to achieve this set up from investing in a wine cabinet to building a wine room to finding a good, dark and accessible closet. Equally important is finding that dedicated home for wine that is accessible. You don’t want to have to stoop or shimmy or crouch to look through your wines. And never, ever create just enough storage for the wines you currently possess. If you are an honest and serious wine lover, you know you will accumulate more than you already have.

A Wine Library
No serious wine lover creates a home that does not set aside space for your wine library. Even if it’s only the reference books written by the likes of Jancis Robinson, Hugh Johnson, Karen MacNeil and others, you need a dedicated space for those tomes. But more than likely you are going to collect far more books than just the essentials. Find a good, accessible space where all your wine books can live. Make sure they aren’t hidden away in a corner somewhere, but rather living in a space where you will see them often. Give yourself a reason to regularly pull them off the shelf, even when you don’t need them for reference.

Collection of Wine Bags and Carriers
These can be stuffed away anywhere, but you need a nice collection. The serious wine lover is friends with other serious wine lovers. It’s the only way you can really soothe your truest wine geek impulses. And it really is proper to carry and present that wine to your friend upon arrival in a nice bag. They don’t need to be ostentatious with bows and ribbons and silly prints. They need only be functional and attractive. But the bottom line is you need these and a place to store them.

Shaded Outdoor Area
If you are not sitting outside on a comfortable fall evening or summer afternoon sipping wine, then you need to reevaluate your life. Make sure you have a nice, shaded, comfortable area with tables and cushions where you can enjoy your wine by yourself, with your family and with friends as the breezes waft past you. The shaded part is key. Nothing kills a wine faster than a hot sun beating down on it.

These are the essentials. There is clearly more you can add to your environment to assuage your love of wine and home, but if you nail these down, you will have made your wine life just a little bit better. Also, nailing these essentials down provides you with an easy answer when your four-year-old looks at 250 bottles of wine and says, “do you have to drink it all before we move?”


6 Responses

  1. Peter Ricci - January 9, 2019

    Check to see if your moving company will transport your alcohol, mine would not had to move it personally.

  2. bth - January 9, 2019

    So where is all this going to go in your new home–I assume that fulfillment of these requirements was the way you decided which house to rent or buy. Very best wishes for a happy wine drinking life there…

  3. Jim Wallace - January 9, 2019

    How true. My wife and I have moved to Northern AZ from Sonoma, Napa, Marin after a career in the wine business there. The majority of our evenings are spent in our garden sitting under an Elm I planted. We have 144 glasses, more or less, on hand for that purpose. One never knows when someone might pop in for a visit or how many. Fortunately we have a good wine store in town. My personal cellar died before learning how to keep it on hot days. Also, when I find a wine I really like and it’s priced within my budget I buy cases, not bottles. We raise a lot of our own food and enjoy cooking. Food, wine, friends. BTW – The ex-personal cellar still had one bottle of 1971 Gevrey-Chambertin.

  4. Joel - January 9, 2019

    Tom – as a wine geek that’s moved way too many times, I connected well with your list. I agree that glasses are a big consideration – but I’ve really begun limiting the use of sparkling flutes and serve most bubbles in white glasses…better taste/nose and fewer glasses to wash. I would not downplay the opening hardware – too many friends’ homes that I visit have mediocre openers…ditch the “winged arm” keys and such, but every home should have an “Ah-so” (pronged) device as well as a longer corkscrew for those tough or older bottles. My most frequently used items are my decanter and funnel/screen – I double-decant almost all reds, and some chards as well. Splash-pour into the decanter, allow to settle a bit, and funnel back into the bottle. Opens up most vino well…
    AND don’t forget about both the “Packing Party” (where one should drink those bottles not worth the move, as well as enjoy a last glass with local friends) as well as the obvious “Move-In Party” (where one shares vino with new friends).

  5. Bob Henry - January 9, 2019

    As commentor Peter observes, moving companies don’t wish to (or legally can’t) move wine.

    (There are a few executive relocation companies that take wine. They are expensive. Here’s one: )

    As a consumer, you can’t take it to UPS or FedEx and ship it to yourself, as you lack the appropriate ABC license.

    However . . . perhaps one of your North Coast winery clients can take the boxed wines and ship them to you using their their DTC facilities?

  6. Jimmy Kawalek - January 9, 2019

    I am hopeful that our Transbottle TB 6 carrier will find a good home in your new house/home and will serve you well for years to come! Hopefully you will be traveling between OR and CA regularly and will be safely transporting wines to and fro. Thanks for your support of our carriers and overall friendship. Vaya con Dios!

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