Thursday, 31 May 2012

Wine Storage in Singapore

(I have written an updated post on 2014 wine storage options in Singapore here)

A few friends have recently asked me about wine storage options in Singapore.  Now I’m not an expert on the topic.  I do have a small stash with Cornerstone Wine’s 12 Degrees, which I think is great if your collection isn’t too big and you aren’t too fussed about getting 24/7 access to your wine.  I also know a few people who store their wines at Extra Space Self-Storage at Boon Keng, another recognised leader in wine storage.

I’ve spoken to three of Singapore’s top storage outfits, 12 Degrees, Extra Space and Wine Exchange Asia (WEA), to get more detail on their offerings and which of their business models suits which consumer best. Each represents a different storage model, respectively a bonded warehouse, DIY storage and a managed cellar service.  Links to their rate cards are herehere and here.

In the meantime, I’ve drafted a very simple questionnaire which should hopefully help you find your ideal wine storage partner.  And once you decide to bring your wine out of storage and drink up, here's a link also to an updated directory of BYO restaurants in Singapore.

1.         Accessibility?

Extra Space wins hands-down; being a self-storage facility, clients have access to their wines 24/7.  12 Degrees and WEA require a minimum one business day / 24 hours notice respectively for withdrawals.

WEA takes second place, as it also opens for wine pickups on Saturdays (10am – 1pm), very handy for working folk.  12 Degrees is open on weekdays only, meaning if you work a typical 9-6 shift, you need to make your way to Geylang at Friday lunchtime to pick up your wines for the weekend.  Needless to say, this can be a pain in the arse.

2.        Do you mind moving all those wines around yourself?

Because Extra Space is a self-storage facility, a fair bit of hard slog is involved in moving your wines in and out, along with the risk of personal injury (cuts to your arms, back sprains, etc.) if you are moving hard wooden cases or bulk shipments.  A friend who uses Extra Space (and loves it, incidentally) told me “You must be able and willing to heave a full 12-bottle wood case up onto a shelf up to 2m high”.  So if you are uncomfortable with the idea of enduring physical labour and possibly pain for the sake of your wine, or do not have a domestic servant to do it for you (kidding!), Extra Space is not ideal.


Wine Storage Walk-in at Extra Space
12 Degrees and WEA do the back-breaking work for you (which might go some way towards justifying their deposit/withdrawal fees below), so they tie for first place in this category.

3.        Cost

12 Degrees wins on this one.  While both 12 Degrees and WEA charge a storage fee of $0.30 per bottle per month (12 Degrees also offers an increasing scale of discounts if you store 30 cases or more), WEA charges deposit and withdrawal fees based on whether you are depositing straight cases or single bottles/mixed cases (the deposit fee is waived when you buy those wines from WEA).  On straight dozens, WEA's deposit fee is $0.50 per bottle.  However, depositing and withdrawing in single bottles/mixed cases will cost you $3 and $1 per bottle respectively.  12 Degrees charges only $0.40 per bottle for both deposit and withdrawal, effectively saving you $3.20 per bottle.

Extra Space’s cheapest locker stores 192 bottles at a monthly cost of $68.48 nett.  Even assuming you fill your locker/walk-in to capacity, its monthly storage per bottle works out to be more expensive than at 12 Degrees and WEA, so you need to weigh cost against accessibility and convenience.  On the plus side, Extra Space does not charge any deposit/withdrawal fees and has a special $1 promotional rate for your first month's storage.


The smaller wine locker at Extra Space

4.         Do you need your wines…

(a) catalogued; or

WEA wins this category.  As well as cataloguing your wines, they also maintain a Cellartracker account for you, so you can access your cellar details remotely, with all the CT community tasting notes, etc.  12 Degrees takes second place, producing updated inventory reports for you in soft and hard copy each time you perform a transaction.  Extra Space brings up the rear as it does not provide this service.

(b) delivered on-demand?

WEA also wins this one, charging between $10 for weekday delivery (1-48 bottles) and $30 for Saturday morning delivery (48-96 bottles), with fees for larger deliveries to be agreed.  12 Degrees gets rather pricey for smaller deliveries, with a flat $80 charge for the first 20 cases (weekday delivery only).  Again, Extra Space does not provide this service.

5.         Any other issues to consider?

(a)  Wine Nerd Issues – 12 Degrees technically offers the best storage of the three, as the wines are stored at, well, 12 degrees Celsius, and the facility is fitted with a charcoal filter system and UV-filtered lighting.  Bottles are also taken to an intermediate temperature zone of 18°C before withdrawal, which if nothing else saves the bottle from sweating and damaging the label. 


The storage facility at 12 Degrees

Extra Space stores its wines at 13°C.  WEA stores its wines at Extra Space.

(b)  Insurance - Extra Space wins on this one, offering total declared value insurance from MSIG for amounts up to $50,000.  Higher sums insured can be considered and quoted on a case-by-case basis.

12 Degrees provides “basic industrial insurance” up to $500 per case.  The 12 Degrees rate card says that it offers full insurance coverage at a premium of 1.5% per annum of declared value, but this service is not yet available as of the date of publication.  WEA offers “reasonable insurance” over its entire inventory, revised as numbers and values change. 

(c)  Tasting Room – Extra Space offers a tasting room which is ideal for popping open a bottle or hosting a tasting event with your friends. 

Is there a single best option?  I think the answer is clearly no; each provider offers different benefits and advantages, and each customer has different needs.  Regardless, I hope reading this has given you some pause for thought, and maybe saved you some time ringing around looking for a wine storage option.

Many thanks to Daphne Lim at Extra Space, Tin Zar at 12 Degrees and WEA's Robert Rees and Lou Ghirardello for their assistance.

Notes:

EXTRA SPACE
301 Boon Keng Rd
Singapore 339779
Tel: +65 6771 3103
Website: www.extraspace.com.sg

12 DEGREES PTE LTD
61 Lorong 17 Geylang
#02-00 Cornerstone Building
Singapore 388574
Tel: +65 6732 0555
Website: www.12deg.com

WINE EXCHANGE ASIA PTE LTD
C/O Extra Space Building
301 Boon Keng Road
Singapore 339779
Tel: +65 6296 1914
Website: wineexchangeasia.com (follow the link to WEA Managed Cellar Service)



7 comments:

  1. Very informative post, thank you. Have you looked into Wine Bond as well?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Chino Vino.

    I did speak to Wine Bond - they were very helpful and provided all the necessary info, but they are trying to set themselves apart from "mere storage providers" by providing special value-adds such as rare wine sourcing, wine exchange, events, etc. They asked that I not publish their part until I've visited them and they can explain in person the full scope of their services, which is fair enough.

    Others I spoke to were far more secretive and would not disclose critical information such as pricing. Draw whichever conclusion you want from that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Julian. As a consumer, I think providers who limit their public information are putting themselves at a disadvantage. The more difficult it is for me to find details about a service, the less likely it is that I will end up using it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No problems with that sentiment!

    It may well be that for some of those providers, their rates are not as competitive as those who do publicise their information, and they would rather not have the comparison out in the open. After all, price is one of the few (but perhaps one of the most important) truly objective measures we can use to assess our options.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you Julian this is very useful indeed. I must say I already use Extra Space at Boon Keng Rd and they are awesome, however I was looking for something a little more convenient on the West Side of Singapore and during my search came across the Singapore WineVault . Have you or your readers ever come across them ? they look very super high end . Look forward to hearing from you or your readers . thanks Nick

    ReplyDelete
  6. This post is extremely insightful, thanks Julian. I like the part about not having the labels sweat.

    Should you come across any one looking for valet storage, try www.spaceship.com.sg

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for sharing. And if you are looking for the best relocation process can make easier by our beneficial relocation services with

    Warehouse for Rent Singapore

    Cheapest Movers in Singapore

    Cheapest Storage Space Singapore

    ReplyDelete