Locking the wine storage unit

“There are no basements in Texas” – How to store wine properly in the Lone Star State

Read how the experts at Vintage Wine Storage can take the guesswork and stress from housing your wine collection.


As a wine lover, if you’re a native Texan, a visitor, or thinking of relocating to the state, you may have heard the expression, “There are no basements in Texas”.

It’s not just an expression — private dwellings with safe, secure basements are less common in this region. In addition, naturally hot and humid weather puts increased strain on private above-ground dwellings’ air conditioning systems and power requirements for people.

However, your wine prefers to be stored at even lower temperatures…read on to learn more.

Professional services, such as the staff at Vintage Wine Storage adhere to best practices for storing wine — where collections are maintained in peak condition as part of our standard services.

We’ve heard from many wine collectors in Texas who have found themselves in a difficult position, wondering: where can I safely store my wine?

In this article, we’ll take it one step further: not only how to safely store wine — but how to store different types of wine.



In short, excess temperature — hot or cold — is the enemy of all wines. Worse, exposure of only a few minutes can be enough to change the flavor of spirits. Researchers at Purdue studied this extensively and arrived at some tough conclusions, namely, that any temperature above 60°F can accelerate the maturation process:

“The greatest storage hazards for wine are associated with elevated temperatures and temperature fluctuations. Any temperature above 16°C (60°F) accelerates the maturation process, may change the wine’s varietal character or its sense of origin (“terroir”), and can shorten the life expectancy of a wine (especially of whites). Temperatures above 24°C (75°F) greatly and untypically age most wines, leading to undesirable aroma, flavor, and color changes.” – Christian Butzke, Enology Professor, Department of Food Science Purdue University


Red wine

Storing red wine is very easy…provided you have access to a cave or catacombs where the temperature is always kept at around 55°F, with between 70 and 90% relative humidity, in complete darkness…and with no earthquakes.

For the rest of us without caves, it’s about making room in our houses and buying ever-larger wine fridges in order to replicate the best possible conditions for our collections. Ideally, with redundancy for the one power outage or natural disaster that can significantly alter or ruin the taste of wine.


White wine

Bottled in lighter bottles that can be more susceptible to their surrounding environment, what’s true for red wines can be doubly true for white wines.

In addition, white wines are particularly sensitive to heat, with 86°F (30°C) being a marker for when sulfur dioxide can decline significantly in white wines.

Sulfur dioxide is an essential ingredient in winemaking, and acts as both an anti-oxidant and preservative — without these, any wine will turn rancid much more quickly.


Specialty and Sparkling wines

Generally packaged in smaller portions and / or in uniquely-shaped bottles, specialty wines can be even more sensitive to their storage conditions.

Notably, sparkling wines are quite sensitive to heat, as the higher pressures inside the bottle in turn place more pressure upon the cork when a bottle is warmed up.


Stand, lay, or flip?

Most commonly, wine is best stored with the bottle on its side. This keeps the cork moist and minimizes interaction between the wine and the outside environment. However, not all wine arrives like this. Wine is sometimes transported upright straight from a winery, is boxed temporarily, or is stored as per the customer’s request. Vintage Wine Storage considers these factors when accommodating a new addition to one of our customer vaults.



Considering what wine collectors can be up against in needing to house their wines for the long term, including: limited below-ground space, specific temperature and humidity requirements, needing backup power generation, and the flexibility to accept additional cases of wine at any time, managing a wine collection can begin to feel like taking on a second job!


Aren’t we meant to enjoy wine at its best and leave it at that?!

For specific storage needs and every request in between, the professionals at Vintage Wine Storage can help take the guesswork and homework out of wine collecting, allowing you to focus on what really matters: the wine!


Additional sources

SO2 AND WINE: A REVIEW by OIV, International Organisation of Vine and Wine (2021, .pdf)

Wine Storage Guidelines, by Prof. Christian Butzke, Purdue University Department of Food Science (2010, .pdf)

Bottle Aging and Storage of Wines: A Review; published in Molecules (2021, URL)