The selection of 2005 Bordeaux is dwindling, and I haven't bought any to put away yet. It's not because I don't like Bordeaux (I do) or that I couldn't find any I could afford (I did), but because I have nowhere to put them. Same goes for the incredible 2007 Rhônes, 2004 Brunelli and 2002 vintage Champagnes. Now with the exceptional 2007 California vintage and 2009 German Rieslings coming to market and the already-legendary 2009 Bordeaux being sold pre-arrival (not to mention countless bottles from less talked about but equally cellar-worthy vintages from around the world) I'm beside myself. What's a girl in a small apartment in Southern California with an equally small budget (which she'd rather spend on wine than a ginormous cabinet) to do?
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.
At just $26 a month, the 12-case locker is a great alternative to in-home storage if you don't have the space for a high-quality wine cabinet or in-home cellar. Twenty-seven case lockers at Ideal 55's Hollywood location will run you $57 a month and up from there. They currently have lockers that will hold up to 54 cases of wine (that's 648 bottles for $112 a month) as well as special rooms of varied sizes that go for $5.20 per square foot. Customers who sign up for a locker at Ideal 55 and mention this blog post will get a $25 gift certificate for K&L (provided by Ideal 55).
To learn more or take a tour of Ideal 55 Hollywood, or any of the other Ideal 55 locations, visit Ideal 55.com. To start building or to add to your wine collection visit KLWines.com for the aforementioned collectibles and many more.