About a decade ago, my teenage cousin got caught breaking into his father’s wine cellar. My cousin had decided to steal just one bottle, thinking my uncle wouldn’t notice. But he made a serious mistake when he carried out his heist: he took a bottle of Abreu Madrona Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. If my cousin had taken the bottle of cheap Chardonnay sitting near the Abreu, my uncle might not have noticed. Instead, my uncle quickly discovered the missing bottle, and he grounded my cousin for three months.
Fine wine is fragile and valuable, which is why wine cellar security is so important (especially for parents of rebellious teens). This month, build your own automated cellar, or lock down your most treasured bottles in a professional storage warehouse to protect your investments.
Why You Need Wine Cellar Security
On the whole, the wine market is increasing in value, which means that your bottles could become more valuable this year. Having an updated security system protects your wine from potential damage, which further improves your investment opportunities. You wouldn’t keep stacks of money in an unlocked basement, so why would you keep your most valuable wine bottles in the same situation? Every broken or stolen bottle could mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars in lost profits. In addition, it’s much easier to get your bottles insured when you already have wine cellar security. You could pay less every year in insurance, and you will have more protection than a collector who only relies on insurance to protect their investments.
Build Your Own Automated Wine Cellar
If you want to collect bottles that are worth thousands of dollars, like DRC or Screaming Eagle, you should at least have a lock on the cellar door. Not only does this deter would-be thieves from breaking into the cellar, it also protects your bottles from accidents. Two of my friends who recently had children quickly realized that toddlers love to explore, and that a wine cellar isn’t safe from their prying hands. Similarly, I’ve had friends who decided to lock their cellars after rowdy party guests accidentally knocked over a couple of wine racks. By locking your cellar, you ensure that you’re the only one who has access to your bottles.
Today, the internet and advanced technology make it easier than ever to secure your wine. Even if you already have a lock on the door, here are a few ways to upgrade your security system:
Using an electronic keypad rather than a traditional lock gives you greater control over who has access to your bottles. Some keypads let you set up separate codes if you want to allow more than one person in your cellar, and you can quickly change or revoke your access codes at any time. This is a great option for collectors who go on vacation and want a friend or neighbor to check on their bottles while they’re away.
Retina and Fingerprint Scanners
When you install a retina or fingerprint scanner on the door, there’s no need to remember an access code or hide a key–you carry your “key” with you wherever you are. However, this option is overkill for many cellars, and it costs far more than a keypad. Retina scanners cost nearly $500, while decent fingerprint scanners cost about $400. In addition, these scanners don’t always work, since the technology is still fairly new for at-home use. On one Wine Berserkers forum we read, a member joked, “I hope it works if your eyes are bloodshot.”
Online Security Apps
Some online apps integrate with the wine cellar security system that you already have. For instance, if you have a keypad on your cellar door, you could set up an app to notify you whenever the door is opened. You can also install motion-activated cameras near the cellar door that send recordings or a live feed of your cellar to your computer or phone via an app. This is the perfect security system to use when you travel. My father-in-law has one camera installed near his cellar door and one near his thermostat in his Connecticut home. When he spends time at his Florida home in the winter, he checks on his Connecticut cellar once a week from his computer to ensure that his wine is safe and the temperature is stable.
Professional Storage Offers the Best Security
Installing locks, scanners, and video feeds in your cellar–not to mention watching video feeds and keeping track of codes and keys–can be a costly and time-consuming process. That’s why many collectors turn to the security that professional storage warehouses offer instead. Vinfolio’s warehouse includes both motion detectors and high-resolution security cameras installed at every entrance, and the building is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, the warehouse has advanced fire detectors installed, and environmental controls that measure temperature down to a fraction of a percent. You would have to spend thousands of dollars to get this level of advanced security in your home cellar.
The bottom line is that the best option for most collectors is to at least install a keypad in their home cellars and get their bottles insured against theft or damage. However, to fully protect the most valuable bottles in their collections, it’s best to turn to a full-service professional warehouse. Professional storage offers the most advanced protection for a fraction of the cost of home storage, and it’s one way to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. If something happens to your home-cellared bottles, you can rest easy knowing that your most valuable wines are still safely in professional care.
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. Contact us today to get access to the world’s best wine.
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.