Wine Storage Basics: What is a Wine Cubby

You either have a top-tier wine collection or are just starting out and want it to age well. But did you know that keeping wine in your kitchen cabinet or on the counter could affect its taste and depreciate its value?

Wine lovers will face this issue if they don't have a proper system in place to store their prized bottles. This can lead to wine spoilage and degrade the taste of what was once a perfect sip.

Perhaps you've already noticed your reds tasting a bit off, or the whites are not quite as crisp as they should be and need a solution?

If so, you're in the right place. Today, we'll discuss an innovative yet simple wine storage solution that can save your precious investment from turning sour. We're talking about a well-maintained wine cubby that keeps your wine collection safe, no matter the temperature outside. 

Interested in knowing what is a wine cubby and how you maintain it? Read on for the scoop on wine storage with a cubby!

What is a Wine Cubby?

A wine cubby is a storage cabinet designed to keep your bottles of wine in optimal condition. Simply put, it's a little wine cellar that preserves the taste and quality of your wines.

A wine cubby is usually a large box or a small closet with multiple compartments. Each compartment, or cubbyhole, holds one wine bottle. You can find wine cubbies in various sizes, small ones hold about 20-30 bottles, while larger models can store hundreds.

A wine cubby's material matters in how well it keeps your collection safe. Most cubbies are made of wood, metal, or both. Wooden ones, often made from fine woods like mahogany or redwood, are popular for their aesthetic appeal but cost a little more. On the flip side, metal ones are prized for their durability, modern look, and affordable price range.

Another point to note here is that wine cubbies are designed to store wine bottles horizontally, unlike kitchen cabinets. This placing position keeps the cork moist and prevents it from drying and letting in air. Since air can oxidize the wine, it eventually changes its taste and shortens its lifespan.

Types of Wine Cubbies

When you set out to get a wine cubby for your precious collection, you'll come across two types: commercially available and custom-made cubbies. But which one is better? Here's a look at both types to help you decide:

1.     Commercially Available Wine Cubbies

Commercially available wine cubbies are the ones you can readily buy from stores or online. These cubbies often have a set number of compartments designed to hold one wine bottle horizontally. This bottle-holding usually ranges from a compact 20-bottle unit to a sizable 200-bottle piece.

Design-wise, there are plenty of ready-to-install wine cubbies based on your interior decor. For instance, a sleek metal wine cubby brings a modern touch to your space, while a traditional wooden one adds a rustic charm to your interiors.

Commercially available wine cubbies may include additional features like temperature control or humidity regulation. However, these features are typically found in higher-end models.

Pros of Commercially Available Wine Cubbies:

  • Easy to purchase and quick to set up
  • Wide variety of designs and styles
  • More affordable than custom-made options
  • Some high-end models come with built-in climate control

Cons of Commercially Available Wine Cubbies:

  • Limited customization
  • It may not perfectly fit your available space
  • Standardized designs may not suit everyone's taste


wine storage basics: what's a wine cubby?

2.     Custom-Made Wine Cubbies

If you desire something unique, custom-made wine cubbies are the way to go. These cabinets let you design your wine storage to your specifications to fit perfectly in your available space and match your decor.

Custom-made wine cubbies are built by professional wine storage companies, and they give you the liberty to choose the number of compartments, the materials used, and even the shape of the cubby. For instance, you can build a round cubby into your kitchen island, a rectangular one integrated into your dining room wall, or even a whole wine room designed in your basement.

And the best thing is you can incorporate advanced features like temperature and humidity control, UV-protected glass doors, or anti-vibration technology in a customized cubby.

But you should understand that this level of customization comes with a higher price tag. Custom-made wine cubbies are an investment for your interior aesthetics, but for serious collectors, they're often worth every penny.

Pros of Custom-Made Wine Cubbies:

  • Completely customizable
  • Can integrate advanced wine preservation features
  • It matches your interior decor perfectly
  • Maximizes use of available space

Cons of Custom-Made Wine Cubbies:

  • More expensive than ready-made options
  • Longer wait times for design and construction
  • Require professional installation

If you are looking for a custom made wine bar setup, let one of our expert designers help you draw up the design so you can see it come to life with 3D color renderings!

Why Choose a Wine Cubby for Wine Storage?

If you aren't experienced in wine storage, you might ask what's the reason for getting separate cubby made for these bottles. But ask wine pros, and they'll tell you the huge difference a dedicated and well-maintained cabinet can make.

Here are some of these impressive reasons:

1.     Space Efficiency and Convenience

As wine collections grow, one must find ways to store bottles without overcrowding a living area or kitchen. Enter the wine cubby, a design marvel that addresses this issue and keeps your collection safe from alterations like high heat and extra light.

A wine cubby's inherent design features individual compartments for each bottle to maximize the use of space. Whether it's a compact 20-bottle cubby for your apartment or a sizeable 200-bottle unit for your wine cellar, wine cubbies ensure every square inch serves a purpose.

But space efficiency is about accessibility too. With a wine cubby, each bottle has a dedicated spot that makes it easy to locate your desired bottle. This is particularly useful for large collections when finding a specific bottle can become akin to a treasure hunt.

2.     Aesthetics and Presentation

Wine isn't just a beverage; it's a hobby and, often, a significant investment. Therefore, displaying your collection in a beautiful and accessible manner enhances your home decor and enjoyment of the wine.

Having a carefully chosen wine cubby means your wine collection can become integral to your home's aesthetic appeal that relays character and sophistication.

Also, if you enjoy showcasing your collection, some wine cubbies come with glass doors or open designs. These allow for easy viewing and facilitate conversations with guests around your collection. On the other hand, if you prefer a more understated look, solid-door wine cubbies offer a sleek and subtle storage solution.

3.     Versatility of Wine Cubbies

Starting with size, wine cubbies range from small countertop models to large stand-alone units, offering a wide spectrum of choices based on your available space. The smaller ones are perfect for apartment living or those with modest collections, fitting comfortably on a countertop or nestled within a kitchen cabinet. Likewise, larger wine cubbies can serve as a statement piece in your living room or form the centerpiece of a dedicated wine cellar.

A sleek, metallic wine cubby can complement a modern, minimalist home decor, while a rustic wooden unit can bring warmth to a traditional setting. Some wine cubbies even incorporate glass doors, blending functionality with visual appeal and making your wine collection an integral part of your home's aesthetic.

Best of all, wine cubbies can be standalone units or built into existing furniture or architecture, adding to their versatility. Such flexibility means that no matter the space or style of your home, you can get a wine cubby designed and installed by pros.

4.     Scalability of Wine Cubbies

One worry remains for wine lovers: a wine collection is always growing. Whether it's a newfound love for a particular vineyard or a special occasion bottle, more storage is inevitable.

Luckily, many wine cubbies are designed with scalability in mind and feature modular designs. It means you can add more sections or units as your collection grows. Starting with a smaller unit, you can gradually increase your storage capacity, ensuring you always have the right amount of space for your collection.

You can also stack cubbies side-by-side, creating a larger storage unit. Others offer vertical expansion, allowing you to add more compartments on top as needed. This feature is useful if you have limited floor space, as it utilizes vertical space and doesn't crowd a room.

And with a customized unit, you can integrate additional features like temperature and humidity controls right from the start so that future expansions are mess-free.

5.     Increase The Shelf Life Of Wine

Three main factors can degrade wine quality over time: light, temperature, and humidity. Excessive light, especially sunlight, can degrade and prematurely age wine. Fluctuating or extreme temperatures can also disrupt the delicate balance of flavors in wine. Low humidity levels can cause the cork to dry out and allow air into the bottle, which leads to oxidation and ruins your wine's taste.

That's when a wine cubby comes into its own. Its structure protects your wine from direct sunlight and harsh indoor lighting, shielding your precious bottles from light damage. With a wine cubby, your wines are stored horizontally, which ensures the cork remains moist and minimizes the risk of oxidation.

Built-in climate control systems maintain optimal temperature and humidity in high-end or custom wine cubbies. This protection from adverse conditions significantly increases the shelf life of your wines and preserves their quality.

6.     Promotes Proper Wine Aging

The wine stays in contact with the cork, which keeps it moist and ensures a tight seal when it's horizontally placed in a cubby. This seal prevents air from entering the bottle, thus stalling the oxidation process that could otherwise spoil the wine. However, a tiny amount of air exchange is allowed, which is beneficial for the wine's slow, controlled development of flavors.

Temperature also changes wine aging, too. Too hot, and the wine will age rapidly, often leading to flat flavors and aromas. Too cold, and the aging process can halt, preventing the wine from reaching its full potential. The ideal temperature for wine aging is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and many wine cubbies feature built-in temperature control to maintain this optimal condition.

Humidity is the third element of the aging puzzle. A dry environment can cause the cork to shrink and let in air. Conversely, excessive humidity can lead to mold. Therefore, wine cubbies with integrated humidity control can maintain a balance, usually around 70% humidity, which is ideal for wine aging.

Important Aspects of a Good Wine Cubby

Installing a cubby isn't the be-all in wine storage because multiple factors can change how well it works. So when you get a wine cubby in your place, follow these aspects to make the most out of it:

●      Proper Temperature Control

Temperature is pivotal in wine storage, with a sweet spot between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit. For aging wine, the consensus often settles around 55 degrees. A good wine cubby maintains a stable temperature within this range. Some high-end or custom-built wine cubbies even feature integrated temperature control systems to make sure your wine stays in optimal condition.

●      Correct Humidity Levels

Humidity impacts the cork's condition, which, in turn, affects the wine's quality. Low humidity causes corks to dry out, allowing air to sneak in and oxidize the wine. However, extremely high humidity can lead to mold growth. A good wine cubby should maintain a relative humidity of about 60-70%.

●      Adequate Protection From Light

A good wine cubby should offer sufficient protection from light to preserve your wine's quality. The design of a wine cubby, especially its materials, and finishes, can provide this protective feature. For instance, solid wood cubbies or cubbies with solid doors block out light effectively. Some wine cubbies even feature UV-resistant glass doors for those who prefer a visual display of their collection.

●      The Right Position (Bottle Orientation)

As we explained, the wine remains in contact with the cork when it lies horizontally and eventually stays away from the air. All wine cubbies have horizontal compartments so your wine will always be in the correct position, and the cork's integrity of the cork will be intact.

Final Thoughts On Smart Wine Storage

A wine cubby is far more than a storage solution; it's a catalyst for enhancing the wine experience. From its space-saving design to its ability to extend the shelf life of your wines and promote proper aging, a wine cubby does it all.

Sure, the value of a wine cubby is indisputable, but getting the right one requires careful thought. So when you decide to invest in a wine cubby, work with professional furniture makers. They can offer expert guidance and create a custom wine cubby that covers all aspects of usability and aesthetics. 

So, raise a glass to superior wine storage!
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