Wine 101: Off-Site Storage

by Leah Greenstein of K&L Wine Merchants

Ideal 55, a locally-owned company founded by George Fansmith initially to house his own wine collection, currently has four locations in the greater Los Angeles area (and one coming near LAX), offering top-notch storage and security for your wine whether you want to build a small collection, like me, or are on your way to amassing a large one. (They even have full-sized rooms perfect for restaurants, bars, hotels and people who have more money than Steve Jobs.) Their newest facility, which is just blocks from K&L Hollywood and opened back in March, is state-of-the-art, with biometric security, steel construction and on-site WiFi. And like all Ideal 55 wine locker facilities it offers 24/7 access to your wine, which is kept at a cool 55 degrees with 70% humidity, using multiple, extra-reliable refrigeration units to maintain temperature.

Not only are wines in Ideal’s lockers kept in optimal conditions, they’re unbelievably safe. One of the things that makes Ideal extra secure (besides their larger rooms being wired for retina and palm scanners) are the keys. Each locker is keyed separately, says founder George Fansmith and, “we own the license for the patent on this key. What that means to you, as a user, is this little key cut…world-wide that key cut belongs to Ideal 55 so no one can make a copy of it.” They also have electronic key fobs that require you to swipe upon entering and exiting, biometric fingerprint scanners that ensure even if your key and your fob are stolen that your wine is secure, and no signage on the street advertising where your wine is kept.

On a recent tour of the Hollywood facility George stops at a small locker stuffed, literally, with brown cardboard boxes, some on their sides. “Our basic unit that we build, we call a 12-case locker,” “we design it to be one, two, three cases across, two cases deep and then two cases tall. But we build our lockers tall and we give a lot of finger room…and one of the reasons I bring clients here is because he has 14 cases in a 12-case locker. That’s a great example, at least to new clients, of the use they can make of the space.” Lockers come bare, so you can also set up your own racking, if you’d prefer to take your wine out of boxes.