Two Bees Wine

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dreams of a wine cellar

Last weekend, some out of town guests prompted a day of wine tasting. We shaped an itinerary around a picnic (smoked salmon fillets from the morning’s farmer’s market, shaved turkey sandwiches, olives, hummus, orzo salad, edamame). These friends had never seen Dry Creek or Russian River, so we surrendered to the glory of the amber leaves and hushed roads of autumn. We managed to hit 5 wineries on a par 3 course. Unbeknownst to us, a case of wine accumulated in back of the Jeep by day’s end.

This followed a recent 11-bottle binge, post Harvest Fair acquisitions. Where to store the stash?

Long ago, in an L.A. apartment far away, I felt sophisticated with my coiled metal wine rack on display next to the microwave. A move to Sonoma County quickly rendered the rack garage sale fare; 6 slots seemed amateur.

Next, a closet fit 4 cardboard wine crates sideways, a more important way to assess storage capacity than one’s shoe collection. Their 48 roosts flipped frequently.

But guilt following 100-degree summer days, along with a suspiciously raisin-like wine or 2, ultimately pushed the futon in the spare bedroom aside to make way for the real deal: a wine refrigerator.

Ah, the sleek splendor of polished stainless steel, a glass door to tease, a new hum from the bedroom… This was Wine Country living.

The manual touted a storage capacity of 60 bottles. Yet no amount of fuss achieved this sum, and I felt as flummoxed as when wrestling with a dismantled 3-D puzzle. A more careful read of the brochure revealed the secret to maximizing space: load only those bottle silhouettes that mimic a traditional sloping Burgundian design (e.g., pinots and chardonnays) – no long necks (gewurtztraminers, rieslings), no tall shoulders (merlots, cabs, sauvignon blancs), no chubby bottoms (champagne). These trouble-makers ruin the watertight design.

And so, tucked under a bureau, overflow cardboard carriers keep the excess, the inevitable misfit varietals, and we try our best to rotate stock.

Anthony logs occupancies and vacancies in the refrigerator as they might track guests at the resort where he works. He keeps a clipboarded grid with all names and arrival dates (of the grapes). Some bottles move in for an extended stay, while others may only be in for the weekend. This summer will be sold out; that’s when bottling happens. With 12 ½ cases of wine – about 150 bottles – alternate accommodations will be necessary. A refrigerator expansion? Perhaps a new sister property? Or, if the spare bedroom is to remain a spare bedroom, an off-site rental unit for the wine? It doesn’t seem too early to plan.

4 Comments:

  • Too funny! I think the rule of thumb is estimate how many bottles you expect to keep and then double it. :)

    Plus you have to make room for sliding shelves. Frankly, I don't know what I would do without sliding shelves.

    Right now, we have a drink designated wine fridge for adily in and out and keep it a little warmer so it can be served quickly and a dedicated Eurocave for the good stuff.

    I suspect this is just the beginning...

    Cheers!

    By Blogger winemonkey, at 9:35 PM  

  • The dilemna of wine storage. I am a seriously addicted collector, so...what do I do with all the darn wine I've accumulated? Even the locker I rented in Napa is filling up.

    By Anonymous Brian, at 4:39 PM  

  • Hi,

    I think you have Harvest Moon confused with another winery as we've never done a viognier nor have we ever poured our dry Gewurzt from the barrel.

    Thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:45 PM  

  • Re: Harvest Moon (from prior post): I definitely have the winery correct...though based on your comment it sounds like I botched the varietal. Perhaps it was the gewurtztraminer? Unfortunately, I no longer have my notes from that day. The limited sample, poured in the tasted room, was drawn that morning. I suspect it wasn't intended for the full day of event tasting...but that it happened to be given out to the lucky few of us extreme earlybirds.

    By Blogger GirlBee, at 2:02 PM  

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