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Proper wine storage depends on achieving and maintaining the optimal conditions for wine: cool and consistent temperature, high and consistent humidity, physical stability, darkness, and an absence of strong odors.
Some wine experts believe that there are absolute best numbers that must be held at all times, but some variation is possible without damaging your wine. Most important is consistency: the less change and the slower the change the better your wine will be.
Once you understand the proper conditions wine needs to be stored in, you know that you can't put your wine absolutely anywhere in your house. To best protect your wine and help it mature, you need a place in your home where you can maintain and monitor the conditions, ensuring that they remain at optimal levels. For some people this means adapting a space to create a wine cellar while others will need to use a wine cooling unit.
Unless you have a specially designed wine cooler, you'll need some sort of rack system to hold your wines in your wine storage area because wine is best stored lying on its side. Fortunately, just about every type of rack system is (more or less) equally good in terms of how well it protects your wines. So long as you ensure that your wine racks are stable, the choice of racks will be determined by quality, convenience, price, and aesthetics.
If you have to worry very much about the storage conditions of your wine, it probably means that you have a lot of wines to store. This, in turn, raises a new issue: ensuring that there is some balance in all the wines you have. It's not good to have all white wines, all red wines, or all wines that need to sit for a few years before reaching their peak potential. Once you start planning on storage conditions for your wine, you should start thinking about ensuring that your wine collection is well-balanced.
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