How to Use a Storage Unit as a Wine or Beer Cellar

Whether you're preparing for a big event such as a wedding, running a catering business or just collecting your favourite beer and wine, all those bottles can take up a lot of space in your home—and not everyone is lucky enough to live somewhere with a wine cellar. A self-storage unit can be an excellent temporary or long-term place to store your beer or wine, but you need to make sure that it has the right storage conditions first. 

Dedicated wine storage

Some storage companies offer units specifically intended as wine cellars. These climate-controlled storage units will keep bottles in the ideal conditions to preserve and age them. However, just because a storage centre doesn't offer a wine cellar doesn't mean you can't make use of it; similarly, if you just want to use part of a storage unit you use for other purposes as well, you should be fine. You just need to make sure it meets certain conditions. 


Both wine and beer suffer when exposed to light; dark bottles block out some of the sun's harmful rays, but even so sunlight can "skunk" beer and cause wine to lose some of its flavour. Ultraviolet rays can also damage labels, which matters if you're trying to resell your bottles or even if you just want them to look good when you serve them. Choose a unit with no natural light or one where you can cover up your stored bottles. 


Wine and beer lovers worry a lot about storage temperatures; for wine, the ideal temperature is around 11-14 degrees Celsius. Beer benefits from roughly the same temperature range. But even more important than the exact temperature is the temperature range. If the temperature in a storage unit varies too greatly—say by more than 10 degrees in a day—it can harm your wine or beer. 


Humidity is more of a concern for wine storage than for beer; if a storage unit is too dry, it will dry out the bottles' corks, letting air in and oxidising the wine. High humidity can damage wine or beer labels. The ideal storage humidity is therefore about 5-80%.

If your storage unit doesn't meet all these requirements, it's still possible to use it as long as you have electricity; a small wine refrigerator (sometimes called an artificial cellar) will keep wine at the right temperature and humidity; these devices will also store red and white at different temperatures, which is convenient if not strictly necessary.