Why Not Store at Home?
Short term storage of wines (less than six months) in a home is reasonable and entirely practical in order to enjoy them. Longer term storage of wines at your home is truly more challenging and fraught with more risk than many of us realize. Maintaining a stable temperature in a wine refrigerator is nearly impossible. Most thermostat controls will result in frequent swings of several degrees daily. Likewise humidity fluctuations or inadequate humidity can result in leaking and spoilage. Vibration is another issue that is often overlooked, whether it is caused by a raised foundation or the garage floor vibrating every time your car drives in. Yet all of this pales when compared to the problems of power outages, equipment failure and security. Power outages are a common occurrence in this area and you will not realize your wine has cooked until you serve up your next bottle. Equipment can fail and not be discovered for days. And all of these risks are compounded the more you travel.
If Not Home, Then Where?
Your wine collection is a significant asset. Its value includes not just the capital you spent on it, but also the time you invested in acquiring each bottle. There are few places in all of Los Angeles that offer wine storage that was specifically designed for wine storage. Most are an afterthought and not purpose built. If you look carefully, their shortcomings will be apparent, but many issues are not obvious to cursory visual inspection. Wine will only reach its potential with proper storage.
When deciding on where to store your wines and how much space you will need you should spend more time qualifying the facility than you would in selecting several cases of wine. Why? Because if your wine is not stored properly you will have a disappointing experience several years down the road. What should have been great bottles of wine can easily disappoint or be downright bad. Check the facilities management of those environmental conditions that influence the proper aging of wine. Specifically: temperature, humidity, light and vibration. Also consider the facility's security features that will insure that your wine assets are more secure than they would be in your own home.
Ease of access. You should expect extended hours of access that accommodate your schedule in the morning, as well as at the end of the day, seven days a week. You shouldn't need to wait for someone to come back from lunch to provide you access.
Check the reputation of the business online or with other oenophiles you know.
It is ill advised to store your wine with a business that does not own the building. The improvements necessary to insure the safe storage of wine extend to the entire building and require significant capital. If a business is renting the space it is unlikely that the full extent of improvements have been made. You are also at risk that the business may need to move for any number of reasons, including the landlord raising the rent.