WineCare Storage -- Are you one of those with boxes of wine in the coolest corner of your apartment?

I never thought I'd ever write about wine storage.  Let me be honest, it sounded so un-exciting . .  but after sitting in WineCare Storage offices for over an hour speaking with Samantha Carrington, director of sales and client relations, I realized how not-boring understanding the importance and implications of wine storage really is.

Samantha knew exactly how to peek my interest, "Our oldest case of Burgundy is from the 1930s."  I looked at her.  She raised her brow to me.  "The oldest bottles we have beyond the madeiras and cognac are some bordeaux from the late 1860s."
There is a gap in between.  Why was it that there were no wines in one of the top-notch wine storage facilities in Manhattan between the vintages of the late 1860s and the 1930s?
And this is where the exhilaration kicks in. . . It is thanks to the fanatic collectors, to the obtrusive drinkers, to the geeky history buffs, to the passionate folk of our evolving international wine business for passing on pieces of history . . . sometimes even still alive in the bottle.
What does it feel like to open a bottle of wine that is your age, or even older . . . you hope, you pray that the people who took care of that wine before it reached your hands, your lips, respected its journey -- its potential -- because wine has had a struggle reflective of our own and we all know, from the stories of our grandparents, from the vast difference between our paradigm and theirs. . . that life was not like it is now.

 A brief historical overview of these dates:

  • 1840s powdery mildew attacked vineyards in France (If you've ever grown anything that has been attacked by powdery mildew then you understand, it's a killer --> quality and yield down the drain plus residual disaster for following year)
  • 1860s-1870s phylloxera (a North American native bug, a.k.a. aphid, that attacks vineyards) invaded country after country starting in France devastating vines and production all over the world.  Unsettling to the European vintner was that the only foreseeable solution to phylloxera, discovered by American entomologist Charles V. Riley, was to graft European vines onto American rootstock, which deemed impervious to phylloxera. 
  • 1861 Italy unified
  • 1878 with phylloxera under check, still a new disaster came over to Europe from America creating an epidemic in France even spreading to Italy and Germany: downy mildew.  It is still a problem today but can be maintained by spraying a sulphur mixture.
  • 1914 WWI -- Champagne full of trenches
  • 1922 Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy
  • 1929 Great Depression
  • 1931 Second Republic in Spain established and 1933 Spanish Civil War
  • 1939 WWII began

I think that covers the gap of why there are no bottles in wine storage between the vintages of when phylloxera began and WWII.  Now, imagine where those 1860s Bordeaux have been -- the life they have seen -- taking into consideration the sensitivity of a bottle of wine.  Light, temperature, humidity, even vibration can affect it's development.
 So, if you are one of those collectors who have boxes up against your wall in your Manhattan apartment (and we all know it's small and limited for space -- because they all are) think about your investment . . . the fan you have on circulate might not be as sufficient as you think.
Or if you are one of those people who buy collective items without thinking about maintenance (guilty myself) please re-consider.  Any commodity of nominal appraise should always have a somewhat predictable and understandable resale value . . . and if you do have one of the missing link bottles mentioned above -- perhaps a "1914 Champagne with the blood of France running through it" I hope it's not in your own personal wine fridge or in the coldest corner of your apartment.  If you ever wanted to sell your wine or help to continue its legacy -- what type of guarantee do you have to prove to a buyer that your basement didn't flood or your electricity didn't go off in the 2003 blackout in the Northeast and ruin your entire collection.
Or in my case, I had a fire in my apartment due to a faulty strip plug and lost all my most precious valuables, family heirlooms.

Samantha herself has been saving this 1973 heritage bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, Premier Cru Classe' (this vintage is the actual year that Mouton Rothschild was exalted from second class to first class growth) -- part of the "artists series" of Mouton labels with a reproduction of Picasso's Bacchanale.

Beyond reliable wine storage, WineCare also offers other services and is actually "service over wine storage," says Samantha.

  • Everything is catalogued -- keeping track and organizing wines of personal cellars, retailers, wineries and of restaurants
  • They ship anywhere in the United States and can deliver within NYC in as little as 3 hrs. (9a.m.-5p.m. Monday through Friday)                                                                                                                                                                                                                      *Samantha has received phone calls such as the following: "My wife is about to have a baby can you come over tomorrow and pick up my wine."
  • The cellar is of course secure and temperature/humidity controlled
  • Clients can manage their own wine via proprietary online services
  • They offer different Insurance options
  • They offer Wine Specialist related services including evaluations reports to help realize value and make the right decisions for the future
A few more detailed fun facts:
  • Collectors can come pick up as little as one bottle
  • Will deliver the wines you want to drink that night to the restaurant you are going to
  • Leading restaurants and retailers store their wines with WineCare -- deliveries incoming are made daily as well as deliveries outgoing (imagine not having to deal with receivables during service!)
  • WineCare does not have an import license, but can refer you to reputable ones
  • When you sell your wine to a place like Christie's, they want to know where your wine was professionally stored.  So best to have it professionally stored.

Jordana NicoleComment