By Teri Carnicelli
A 1950s vacant building near the busy intersection of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road has been remodeled into a unique new business that caters to those who prefer the grape over the grain.
Phoenix Wine Storage (PWS) is housed inside a long, gray block building that resembles some of the commercial designs of Phoenix renowned architect Ralph Haver. It was originally a doctor’s office, later serving as an office building for the neighboring pool company. The last five years it has sat vacant.
Phoenix resident and wine aficionado John Finn saw it as an opportunity to combine something he loved with something he saw as a need not being met.
Finn explains the idea was to create a service-orientated wine storage facility inside an adaptive-reuse project that adds another dimension to a corner “which has recently seen some great revitalization.”
The temperature-controlled facility has a variety of metal wine storage cages that can hold anywhere from 20 cases up to more than a thousand bottles. The business is exploring adding a few smaller lockers that will hold up to 10 cases, if there is enough interest. The locker area is completely secure, using state-of-the-art biometrics.
The storage areas are kept at a steady 55 degrees and at optimal humidity, which can range from 60 to 75 percent.
Heat is not a friend to wine, points out Raini Keyser, cellar manager for PWS. It ruins the chemical structure of the wine and can diminish—or in more severe cases—completely ruin the flavor of the wine. Proper storage is for the wine to be kept on its side with the cork wet in a cool, dark place. Something that often can be hard to find in a desert climate where summer temperatures sit at triple digits for days, even weeks on end.
There currently are 20 members but the facility has the capacity to serve up to 300 clients. Customers range from individuals to local tasting groups—people who have a passion for wine, who enjoy drinking it and collecting it, but also enjoy sharing it.
Keyser says there really is a demand for this type of business, one that is centrally located and owned and operated by local residents who are wine lovers themselves.
But it’s not just secure storage that PWS provides. There also is a tasting room and lounge that members can reserve for a small fee, where they can sip and socialize with friends and fellow wine collectors in style.
If you are a member of a wine-of-the-month club, staff members will accept delivery at the facility, sign for it, unpack it and place it in your storage locker. Having a few friends over for the weekend? Give them a call and they will collect your selected bottles from your locker and have them ready for pick up at your convenience. Have a large collection at your home that you are ready to move to PWS? They will arrange transport with an experienced company that knows how to care for your delicate vintages.
Phoenix Wine Storage, 6047 N. 16th St., is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and anytime by appointment. Membership pricing varies based on the size of the collection and the needs of the member. For more information, call 602-633-1896 or visit www.phoenixwinestorage.com.