IT STARTED INNOCENTLY ENOUGH. A BOTTLE of syrah here, a case of barolo there. But before you knew it you were scouring cellartracker.com for rare bottles and joining winery clubs to get first sips of the latest releases.

If your wine collection has ballooned to 100 bottles or more, you have an investment on your hands, and it’s time to start thinking seriously about where to store that investment. The easiest way to keep wine from going bad is to turn it over to a storage facility like Wine Storage Bellevue, where bottles are stowed in steel lockers accessible to their leaseholders every day of the year. A good wine storage provider will keep your quaffable bounty in a location that’s dark enough to prevent UV light damage and will store bottles horizontally, the best way to ensure wine ages gracefully. Humidity hovers at 60 percent and the temperature stays between 55 and 59 degrees, no matter what’s going on outside.

But if you want to keep your wine within arm’s reach, it may be time for a custom closet or stairwell conversion. Tim Wheeler, a local stone mason who helps clients design wine storage situations in their homes, says a small-scale conversion can be built for as little as $2,000 and take only a couple weeks to finish. More involved home wine storage projects, a large basement cellar, say, can cost around $25,000—the bigger the collection, the more important that the cooling system be state of the art, since the wine will likely stay there a while. As a mason he is probably biased, but Wheeler points out that a cellar that incorporates stone walls and concrete floors with an electric temperature-control system will help cut down on energy usage and associated costs; the stone helps keep the cool air in.

Wheeler works with clients to pick out wooden racks online, though he says some projects call for custom jobs designed by a carpenter. Again, the key to any wine shelving system is that it allows the bottles to lay on their sides, unless of course it was a collection of fine vinegars you were hoping to create.

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