If you’ve decided to store your wine collection without the aid of a wine cooler, then you will need to know the best way in which to store each bottle. Each broad category of wine—white, blush, sparkling, fortified, etc.—require their own storage method.
The Larger Environment
Any area in which you are planning to store red wine should maintain a cool temperature, around 60 F. Anywhere from 55 to 65 F is perfectly acceptable, but more critical than the precise level is consistency. An environment where the temperature is maintained at 62 F is better than one where the temperature varies from 54 to 61 F. The relative humidity should be mid-range as well, with some circulation to prevent any mold from forming.
Any wine cellar, whether large or small, should be dark. Light will begin to oxidize and age the wine. The effects are more pronounced in white wines, but are still noticeable in red wines. Opaque bottles will slow the oxidization, but will not prevent it. By keeping the cellar dark, cool, and moderately damp, your wine will be preserved.
A basement environment is the best location for a cellar of any sort. Under no circumstances should a wine collection, or even a single bottle, be stored in the kitchen. The various appliances inside guarantee that the temperature and humidity will vary far too much.
Storing the Wine Bottles
Now that your environment is prepared, the bones of the structure need to be prepared. Red wine is ideally stored on its side to keep the wine in contact with the cork; this will prevent air from seeping through the cork to, once again, oxidize the wine. If you use a wire rack which stores the bottles in flat rows, each will be easy to identify and examine.
Naturally, you will not need to store your various wines apart from one another; their storage requirements are not so different. However, since wines are vulnerable to differing amounts of heat and light, their specific place is important. If you have chosen to store your wines on shelves, store the red wines highest in comparison to white, blush, and sparkling wines. These others are more effected by heat and so need to be lower.
Understanding how best to store your wines on your own is critical to their enjoyment. Purchasing the best wines with the best knowledge is to no avail if you store them poorly. But so long as your wines are stored properly, then you will enjoy them whenever and with whatever you like. Which is the reasoning behind purchasing the wine in the first place.