You don’t have to be a connoisseur to love wine. Red, white or in-between, it pairs perfectly with any food or is great all on its own, and the best place to learn more about it is at The Philadelphia Wine School. This Best of Philly winner offers classes for both novices and devotees, home tastings and even galas, all presented by top-notch sommeliers. And the more knowledgeable we become, the more bottles in our collections, so then the question becomes how best to store and arrange them?

Store Correctly
For starters, avoid standing bottles upright on a counter or shelf; this causes the cork to dry out and ruins the taste. Go instead with a rack, perhaps one that holds 12 or 24 bottles. Be sure to store it in a dark, cool spot like a closet or basement–but not the garage where temperatures can go well below or above the recommended 50⁰ to 60⁰ Fahrenheit for reds and 45⁰ to 60⁰ Fahrenheit for whites. On the other hand, an aficionado might go with one designed and built by a craftsman against a wall or even made into a special wine room, depending on cost and space.

Buy a Refrigerator
There’s also the almost fool-proof wine storage refrigerator option where the correct temperature and 55% to 75% humidity can be easily maintained. Sizes range from those that hold just 12 bottles and fit perfectly just about anywhere to those that stand several feet high and can hold up 200 bottles. Again, cost and space are the determining factors.

Get Organized
Once the how and where to store the collection is decided, next up is figuring out how best to organize the bottles for easy retrieval:

  • By color: A simple and very popular choice is to put all the reds together, then the whites, etc.
  • By type: Rack the pinot noirs together, the cabernets, rieslings and so on.
  • By country: Put the U.S. wines side-by-side, then the French, Spanish, Australian, etc.
  • By price: Line up similarly-priced wines together, as they usually store well for similar lengths of time.

Regardless of arrangement, though, most wine enthusiasts suggest hanging a made-for-bottles tag on each one, so there’s no need to pull out multiple in search of the one you’re looking for. They even come color-coded.

Below are some local businesses that may be able to help you get started.

Mrs. G TV and Appliance
2960 US Highway 1
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
(609) 882-1444

Starting out as a small plumbing supply store, this family-owned business has been serving customers for more than 70 years. Open seven days a week, Mrs. G’s is only about 40 miles from Philadelphia and stocks a variety of wine refrigerators.

Pine Street Carpenters
901 S Bolmar St, Suite N
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 430-3333

Started in 1993, this company is a standout in the design, building and remodeling business and serves Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Among its many projects are well-crafted wine racks and cellars.

Superior Woodcraft, Inc.
160 N Hamilton St
Doylestown, PA 18901
(215) 348-9942

From its earliest beginnings in 1967, Superior Woodcraft has made a name for itself in custom cabinetry. These professionals can construct a wine cooler small enough to fit into a closet or a large basement, planned first by a designer after a home visit.

Related: Top Wine Bars in Philadelphia
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Carol Josel, a Blue Bell, PA resident, is a learning specialist, author of three books, and contributor. Her work can be found here.

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