help: delving into off-site storage

I need those of you who have expertise in dealing with off-site storage to help guide my decision making, and look at this from different viewpoints that I may not have thought of.

I’ve (unfortunately?) reached the point where I probably need to have an off-site location, but there is one rather large problem… there isn’t one anywhere close to me. As I currently see it, I have two options:

1. Location about 3.5 hours away. This is a standard self-storage facility that has gotten into the wine storage business within the last couple of years. The pricing is about $15-20/month higher than option 2, but I would have my wine located within a somewhat reasonable driving distance.

2. Location about 7 hours away (Domaine St. Louis). I would probably feel more comfortable having my wine stored here, but the distance is what is giving me pause. I live in a state where direct shipping is not allowed, but if I understand it correctly I can print my own shipping labels and send them to Domaine to have my wine shipped down as I see fit.

I guess an option 3 would be to buy another, larger, storage cabinet, but I really don’t have the room in my house, and don’t feel like shelling out the cash to get a large enough unit.

So given my current options, or lack thereof, which would you choose as your strategy going forward?

Clearly, you’re missing option 4: open your own offsite storage facility nearby.

You’re welcome.

(My offsite storage, picked for location, is 2 blocks from my home)

ooh, I think there’s a secret forum for this! Tex?

Bump… Any major pitfalls that anybody can see with either option? I’m leaning towards #2 but want opinions before pulling the trigger.


We would be honored to have you in St. Louis. We have clients in STL who come from LA, TN, KY and other parts of the deep south as well. That little brewery in town some how gave us a history of more liberal alcohol laws than many of our southern neighbors.

Should you know a group of 50-100 eager collectors in Mississippi, we would be eager to open a facility close to you as well!

How many bottles do you own and how are they currently being stored?

Some lateral thinking:

  1. Stop buying more wine than you’re drinking. To most of us sad geeks, that sounds like a grievous challenge, but limited storage space can be the last defence against what most of us suffer, a genuine love of buying wine. That love can and does get out of hand if unchecked.

  2. Are there bonded warehouses in your state (and indeed is the concept used in the states?). The advantage of a bonded warehouse is that they are great for long-term storage and can be useful in deferring tax/duty. It is easier to sell if stored in bonded storage, but if you want to take wine out, it’s typically whole cases only.

  3. Can you rationalise the cabinets e.g. trade up to a larger unit with just a little more floorspace needed?

  4. Can you secure a location to store a few cases at ambient temperature

Peyton, what are your objectives with the wine in off-site storage, as that may help with the decision. I use Domaine in Chicago (highly recommend the company) for my overflow from my home wine units. I put wine there that I generally don’t want to touch for a few years. So while Domaine is only 45 minutes or so away, I rarely dive into the stack of stuff. If this would cover your objective, then having your bottles 7 hours away should be no bid deal.

If however you need to store bottles that you might want to access near- or ver near-term, then having them closer would probably make sense.

When you mentioned that option 1 is “$15/$20 more per month”, is that including the projected shipping charges you’ll have from Domaine when you want bottles from off-site?

Thanks Marc! Unfortunately for me I don’t think you’ll be looking for a spot down here any time soon. :frowning:

Currently about 200, which will be pretty close to 300 by the end of this year. Almost all are stored in a Eurocave, with ~two cases in a hall closet.

Ian, re: your first comment, I think my wife has hijacked your account!! Seriously though, I’m not familiar with the bonded warehouse concept. A quick google search yielded one result about 2 hours away. If MS is not a direct-ship compliant state, then wouldn’t this solution be null?

My strategy is similar to yours. For the most part it would basically be for bottles that I plan to let sleep for at least a couple of years. Most of the wines I currently have at home will be for drinking within the next several years, so at this time I’m guessing that I would be “sending myself” maybe 3-4 cases per year from off-site. Given that guesstimation, I think I’d rather pay shipping and not worry about driving 7 hrs round trip.

I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the complex and arcane restrictions on shipping into & within the US. I feel for you guys though, as it’s a crazy restriction to free trade.
p.s. My max storage capacity is under 500 bottles, but I know if I used off-site storage, I could easily make 1k bottles.

Personally, I wouldn’t get storage that’s 3.5 or 7 hours drive away. Even for those with offsite storage nearby, many of us struggle to get to it and swap things in and out. When I look up a bottle and see that it’s offsite, I just pick something at home instead and put it back out of mind, sometimes muttering under my breath about why the f*** I sent that bottle off site.

Though if the cost and convenience of shipping bottles back and forth from Domaine is doable for you, then maybe that’s different.

Do you have a basement? Maybe just keep your less expensive bottles and ones you aren’t holding that long down in the coolest part of the basement; in the shorter term, it’s doubtful it would make that much difference. Maybe you could add some kind of air conditioning to it to guard against the peak summer heat. Still a lot cheaper than offsite storage plus constant shipping back and forth.

Chris, unfortunately no basement… as far as the shipping back and forth part, it would be a pretty rare situation where I would ship something TO my off site. There is very little good, age-worthy wine (that I am interested in anyway) available via retail in MS, so the vast majority of my purchases are winery direct or internet based.

Let’s say you spend $75/mo on offsite storage. I don’t know rates are being suggested, but that’s about what I pay for a large (8x6x10), subterranean, cold spot in my non space constrained region. (not NYC, SF etc). Over 10 years that’s $9000, assuming no rent hikes, which has not been a valid belief for me.

I think one should weigh whether what’s being stored is worth it (compared to the storage costs), and whether it will go up in value (otherwise just buy mature stuff from the helpful auction firms, assuming provenance is ok), or whether its special / sentimental in value (birth years, wedding years, etc.).

It may turn out that finding a way to modify your home, or building a cold subbasement etc. may be more cost effective in the long run. Especially when you add up the long run costs if this is a permanent arrangement.

Or maybe one should just focus on a smaller, higher value cellar that can live within its Eurocave confines.

As you may suspect, I have been thinking about this issue myself, and am realizing I need to refit some of our home linen closets, currently holding nothing other than campy beach towels, and bedsheets for bed sizes we don’t have in the house anymore…

I would definitely look at starting my own off site storage facility. I’ve looked closely at doing this myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t jump in soon enough and someone else opened the one I’m now using. The return on investment for wine storage facilities is very, very good.


Sorry to hijack, but Mark, I know you were considering the Triangle at some point. There is a DESPERATE need here. If you don’t open soon, I may have to go with option 4.

Unfortunately there is not enough interest in this hobby around my neck of the woods to make that a viable business plan, unless I could turn a profitable business with about three clients.

What part of MS? If you are in the Southwestern part of the state you should look into storing in LA.

David, my thoughts exactly… option #1 that I spoke of initially is in LA Wine Storage – Southern Storage Centers