Solar Power & Wine Storage

I’ve been drinking a lot of wine lately, because… “quarantine.”

Okay, not really.

My husband, David, and I regularly enjoy wine in the evenings, and having more time on my hands hasn’t turned me into a heavy drinker. What has changed, due to the stay-at-home order, is that I’ve been paying more attention to the temperature in my bedroom closet where I store my wine. With 100° weather in the Sacramento area, my whole house has been strugging to stay cooled down, in addition to my bedroom closet. This worried me because I have some expensive bottles of wine in my rack in the closet, and I certainly don’t want them to go bad!

How long does it take for wine “to go bad” due to fluctuating temperatures while in storage? There isn’t a gold standard answer, but over time, when wine is stored at temperatures higher or lower than 46°- 65°F, the chemical structure of the wine can change.

Other things can affect the quality of wine including the integrity of the wine cork, how often wine has been moved around, the position of the bottle during storage (has it been stored on its side in a rack? Or standing upright under fluorescent lighting?), etc… That said, I’ve learned that wine isn’t as fragile as one might think, so I wouldn’t be too worried about damaging your wine, if you protect it from extreme temperatures and drink it shortly after purchasing.

In my book Merlot + Brussels Sprouts I told the short story of how I wanted a wine fridge so I could store my wine in a cool, controlled environment. David argued with the necessity of the fridge, saying that it would raise our electricity cost by a far margin. For years, we went back and forth on the topic, discussing the cost of a wine fridge, the necessity of a fridge, and where we would put it in our then – 750 sq. ft. condo. I still really wanted one, but apparently didn’t have a good enough argument as to its value because it never happened.

Jump to the present day (June, 2020) and we are in a house powered by solar thanks to David’s handy work and passion to install the whole system himself. I shared my concern with David about our expensive wine getting warm in our bedroom closet. David’s solution to the problem was, “Maybe we should start looking into getting a wine fridge.”  Casually, I responded with a “Okay” as if he told me he was going to the grocery store, when secretly in my head I was screaming… AT LAST!

What prompted David to suggest the wine fridge this time? SOLAR POWER. With free energy, owning a wine fridge didn’t cost us anything more than paying for the fridge itself. I’m definitely an advocate for the clean, renewable, and inexpensive energy that having solar power provides. And, we don’t have to worry about our wine getting too warm in the bedroom closet anymore!