Basement Storage - Good / Bad?


Brand new to the forum and just getting into the Love of Wine. I’m diabetic so I drink and prefer Dry Red. My question is I have been steadily building up the amount of wine I have. I was keeping them on racks in my dining room. I do have a small wine cooler but my Dear Wife is against me putting a 100 bottle in there. I have a small unfinished area the basement. It may be under the front steps that my parents utilized to store homemade wine and jars of tomato sauce (Yes we’re Italian).
My question is if I can store wine in there. I’m not sure what the temperature falls to in the Winter so I’m a little concerned. I’m hearing conflicting answers on what cold does or doesn’t do to wine.

Appreciate anyone’s help.

Love this forum

thank you

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Search Passive Storage, there are several lengthy threads on this topic. I am in the same boat as you so I have combed through almost all of the threads.


Hi Francesco
The easiest way to know for sure is to put a temperature logging sensor in the proposed location and observe the daily / seasonal variation, with highs and lows.

Cold very much less of a threat to wine than heat, so as long as it’s above freezing temperature, that alone shouldn’t be a worry.

Oh, and a very warm welcome to you!


If the stored tomato jars never froze, the wine will be fine, possible slower aging if gets well below 50-60 tho


Thank you to everyone for your responses.

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When I wanted to know how well suited my basement was for storing wines I bought a device that would not only measure temperature, also store the min and max temperature it had registered. In that way I could ensure that there wasnt to large fluctuations during the day.

It cost around 30€ here in Demnark where I live, but I am sure you can find something equivalent where you are at. I think it is worth the small investment to get a decent overview for the future by measuring it throughout a year (you can still put your wine there now, it is probably fine).


Thank you. It sounds like the best bet.

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The best move would be to store in a wine fridge.

Not sure if your basement is big enough for one.

I have a crawl space that I store wine in under some steps, but the temp is pretty consistent since I have a large deck on the other side of it.


Hi Ian

My basement is all finished. This is an area under the front steps. My father built it that way and it’s actually pretty tall 9 feet. He used it for storing homemade wine and things. I can’t really put a wine fridge in there. I will eventually get one for the finished area of the basement

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have you put a thermometer in there?

How’s the humidity? If it’s too dry, I would say don’t do it.

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Not Humid at all. It’s a cool area. I was more concerned with the temperature getting too cold.

As long as it doesn’t get to freezing, there shouldn’t be any significant short term issues with wine.
An important question is, what kind of wines are you planning to store there? If you’ll consume most of your wines within say 5 years, the storage conditions (as long as they don’t reach either extreme) aren’t as critical, as say aging some First Growth Bordeaux for 30 years.

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The lack of humidity would have me concerned.

The corks need that.


I’ll be sure to get a gauge for the room. I’m a big Cigar enthusiast so I understand having the right balance.

What level of humidity are we talking about?


It’s hard with a basement, but 60-70% is recommended.

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Thank you Ian

Temperatures are much more important for a wine cellar than humidity. A basement passive cellar is going to be sub optimal for “perfect” storage no matter what but it can be perfectly fine for short to medium term storage for of non trophy wines that won’t end up at auction.

Getting annual temp (and humidity) readings are the key thing here as noted. Anything under freezing is bad as is anything over 70. That type of swing would be far from ideal but the wine would not get frozen nor baked. In the winter I expect you are fine so I would start putting some wine in there and watching whatever hi/low temp device you have until you get a solid year of data to be able to really answer this question.

There are ways to increase the humidity if the space is closed in and not too large. A evaporative humidier works (if have power there) and the towel/bucket technique as outlined in the Richard Gold book. I have seen many, many great wines come from 20yrs of storage at 40% humidity cellars in Colorado. I target higher humidity to be safe but that’s my empirical experience.


Thank you John

I find it interesting that so many US guys repeatedly say how mediocre the classic basement cellar is for storing wine and how it can only be used for short to medium term. Vast majority of wine in Europe is being stored in such underground cellars and basements, and pretty much all wines that end up in European auctions come from these types of cellars. There are rarely any obviously bad wines even after 30 years so I’m wondering where this sentiment is coming from.


Huge difference in how the homes are built, and how little the temperature swings from season to season.

Living in NJ as I do, the temperature swings from 105 to below zero. Doesn’t happen like that in many parts of the world.

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