The Myth of Self-Storage Wine Lockers: Why Self-Service Storage Isn’t the Best Choice for Cellaring Wine

wine lockers

Chances are, you don’t have something like this in your basement. If you need a place to store your wine collection, don’t fall victim to a time and money-wasting self-storage system. Image source: Flickr CC user Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

Many wine collectors are turning to “do-it-yourself” self-service wine locker facilities as a supposedly cheap way to invest in wine. These are often viewed as the most cost effective way to store your wine collection. What collectors fail to take into consideration are three often-ignored reasons that self-service facilities typically end up costing far more than storing with a full-service wine storage operation.

  1. Tight Locker Space

When you invest in a self-storage locker, you pay a flat monthly rate for your locker based on the locker’s case capacity. If this sounds reasonable, consider the fact that wine cases come in any number of sizes, even though most hold about twelve bottles of wine.

Let’s say you collect wine from a winery that tends to have bulkier merchandise. Your real cost per case for your self-storage locker will be affected by your collection. If you take wine out of the locker, you’re still stuck with the same monthly fee. This means a twelve bottle collection will cost the same to store in these facilities as a three bottle collection.

The space you actually use as you acquire and consume wines affects your locker rental agreement, meaning the less space you use, the more you pay in the long run. Additionally, some wine locker facilities are now including pricing for two different scenarios:

  1. “Capacity fully loaded”—with a stated case capacity
  2. “Capacity comfortable with aisle”—with 60% of the above stated case capacity

I thought I had heard it all in the wine storage industry—clearly not. So you’re not just paying for the square footage of wine storage, but you’re also paying for 40% of the space needed just to get to your wine?  Interesting.

At Vinfolio, you only pay for the space that your bottle uses, providing the most efficient and cost-effective way to store your wine. Our facilities provide state-of-the-art climate control for your wine without the hassle of paying extra for access to your bottles. What’s the point in having a wine collection if your wines are cramped into a tiny locker? When you choose Vinfolio’s storage option, you simply request the wine you have in storage, and we ship it directly to you in a climate-controlled safety van. You won’t need a “comfortable aisle” that costs you nearly half your storage rent.

  1. Wasting Time

What’s the hourly rate that you charge professionally? Why should this rate be any different when you’re away from the office?  

Your time is valuable, and you should never discount it simply because you’re not sitting at your desk.  If it’s taking you any more than a few minutes to pull a single bottle of wine out of storage, then you are costing yourself valuable time that you could be using to enjoy your wine, your family, or your free time.

If you rent a self-service locker outside of your home, you spend  a big chunk of time traveling to the locker, locating it, gaining access to your wine, searching for the vintage you want, and carting your bottle back home. Not only is this inconvenient for you, but it has the potential of damaging or even ruining a beautiful wine vintage. An excellent wine requires the utmost care during travel. Any shaking, heat, or rolling around a car could destroy your investment.

With Vinfolio’s full-service wine storage, you never need to rummage through a locker to find a bottle again—it is all done for you from receiving and inventorying each individual bottle into your own, secure VinCellar account, to pulling the exact wines you want for the weekend and making sure they get shipped to your doorstep on demand.

How much time are you spending entering your wine into a cellar management system or spreadsheet? The likely answer is, “Far too much.”

Thankfully, Vinfolio has the solution you seek. When you store with our facility, you never have to keep track of your own wine data. Need to know whether you should drink that 2006 Hourglass Merlot this weekend? Simply log on to your Vinfolio account, and get instant stats about when to open your bottle, how it is doing in the market, and whether it’s worth selling rather than indulging in. No math required here.

  1. Producing Vinegar

When you start off your collection with only a handful of wines, it might seem simple to keep track of each one yourself. What happens when you want to expand? Some of the greatest personal wine collections in the world have thousands of bottles in storage. As your collection expands, you simply can’t rely on memory to know that you have a vintage Bordeaux that needs to come out of storage this year.

Ask yourself this question: Do I have an accurate inventory, and have I lost track of those older wines that need to be drunk?

Don’t let this question haunt you. If you let even a handful of bottles go bad each year, you are potentially costing yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars. That’s some expensive vinegar. Self-storage facilities don’t help with this problem because they usually don’t have an accurate tracker that stays up-to-date with the market and with what wine critics are saying about vintages.

With VinCellar, Vinfolio’s Collection Management Software, you can monitor drink dates and make sure you (or heaven forbid, your guests) never drink a bottle of yours that is past its prime. Too often, we’ve helped a client move their wine from wine lockers into Vinfolio storage, only to discover that some of their wine was over the hill and past its optimal drink date.

Vinfolio always has the latest information from wine experts and tasters. If you’re the kind of person who truly wants to enjoy your wine after storing it for years, this is an absolutely essential tool that would take hours of research every day to replicate by hand. Take the guesswork out of the equation by signing up for VinCellar today.

If you’ve ever opened a corked wine from your cellar, spent hours trying to find a wine in your collection or hundreds of dollars on an over-priced self-storage locker, perhaps it’s time to try something different. Wine collectors need to consider whether, in the long run, self-service really is the most economical choice for the bottles you love.

For more information about Vinfolio’s full-service storage, please contact us at storage@vinfolio.com. Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage.

At Vinfolio, we help our clients buy, sell, store, and manage their most treasured bottles of wine. But in our spare time, we’re just a group of passionate and slightly obsessed oenophiles--we love sharing a great glass of vintage Champagne, followed by a Burgundy, and then a Bordeaux, to get things started. We’re always obsessing over the latest (and oldest) vintages, and we want to share that knowledge and passion with our readers.