North Van company has unique solution for wine storage
A home cellar is ideal for committed wine collectors, but having this luxury isn’t always possible. Sometimes their houses aren’t big enough, they’re in the middle of moving, the cost isn’t in the budget or their collections are simply too big.
That’s where North Shore Wine Lockers steps in, a temperature and humidity controlled facility that safely stores bottles.
“We have one person who moved from a big house down to a small house. He stores around 1,000 bottles with us,” says owner Gary Bombay as he walks beside cases of wine stacked high in the lockers.
In one corner, wooden cases of French wine belonging to a collector are stacked on a pallet. He’s letting them age before choosing the best time to sell.
Finding places to store wine is becoming an increasing problem for some North Shore residents who want their bottles to age properly, says Bombay, adding the lockers are ideal environments with a constant 14 C temperature, 60- to 75-percent humidity, no vibration and low light.
Noticing that no one was offering wine storage in North or West Vancouver, he teamed up with Barry McNabb, owner of Vancouver-based Winestain Club, to open North Shore Wine Lockers last spring.
“We rented to a person who tore down their house and needed to store their wine while they built a new one,” says Bombay. “When they were done, we built a wine cellar in their house.”
Bombay also owns Blue Grouse Wine Cellars, another business located in the same building, which builds custom and modular wine cellars on the North Shore.
“We do this a lot — store wine for people while we built their wine cellars,” he says, standing beside a wine cabinet made of stained wood that looks more like a piece of furniture.
For serious wine collectors, storing high-priced bottles in a spare bedroom can diminish their value quickly. Wine clubs and restaurants with excess inventory have also stored their wine with him.
“I got into the wine business partly because of the demographics right now,” says Bombay. “There are a lot of affluent babyboomers who are healthier and living longer than ever before. They’re getting into wine and hosting dinner parties.”
North Shore Wine Lockers is located at 1621 Welsh St. near Pemberton Ave. in North Van. Lockers store between 20 and 200 cases with rates starting at $75 a month.