Off-Site Storage Best Practices

I’ve been slowly getting into the art of storing wine but unfortunately have run into a space issue. I’ve got room for a couple small fridges in our house but I need to turn to off-site storage for the next couple of years until we transition to a bigger house.

I’ve found off-site space nearby that fits the bill but I’m trying to figure out what the best practice for actually storing within that unit is. For now I’m starting with just a basic 3x2 (with 3 foot ceilings) that is completely empty inside.

Should I be buying wine racks to put in there? Just keeping the wine in the boxes they came in with their full complement of cushioning and then just turn that on it’s side?

Any tips or tricks would be welcome. Thanks!

Andy, since lockers vary in size and shape from facility to facility, I would simply ask the facility what other clients have done. Typically in a smaller locker like that, boxes would be the most efficient. Even an inch or so can make a difference on what type of boxes work best.

You’ve got about 18cf to work with, so I’m guessing you can fit around 16 cases.

Thanks Chuck! I’ll stick with boxes but also see if they have any tips (they didn’t have much when I called yesterday - I think they just happen to have some wine specific storage within their broader facility but it’s the best I can find in the RDU, North Carolina area).

Is there a safe way to do this so the wine can be on its side in the box but still secure?

Not sure what the issue is – all wine boxes can store wine on its side. Lay down boxes (2 layers of 6 bottles) by their nature have the wine on its side. 3x4 configurations can just be put on their sides with the flaps either folded or taped shut. Since you will have boxes stacked on top of each other, tape would be recommended to help the box keep its shape.

One simple basic concept is to use the right sized box for the bottle type. If you have mostly bordeaux styled boxes, don’t put them in in a pinot/chardonnay box, which is bigger. Bigger boxes with extra space will crush slightly when other boxes are on top of them. Also, if you have tall bottles, put them all in a single taller box, rather than scattering them in several different boxes. That extra inch or so can make a difference in squeezing in the last box. Depending on remaining space, sometimes having a few 6 btl boxes can help.

Or just get a bigger locker!

Question is do you want them on their side so you can get to a bottle or to keep the cork wet? If it’s the latter, just put your bottles in the boxes upside down and stack em up.

Store on side preferably. The styrofoam shippers are a colossal waste of space. Convert to minimally padded lay-flat 2x6 boxes which you should be able to source from a local wine shop.

Best move is to trade the styrofoam shipper to the local wine shop for the lay-flat box. They will always, always make that trade.