Whilst you may fancy an expensive wine cellar to store your wine collection at home, a basic rack under the stairs or a temperature-controlled wine fridge would do just fine. Furthermore, you may not need a serious wine cellar if you are not an avid collector of wine. An average person will barely store wine for two weeks, whilst 90% of the wine is drunk within a day of purchase. The truth is, whether you want to store wine for the short term or for years, the bottles must be kept under proper conditions to preserve and improve the taste. Whites, reds or sparkling wines, follow these tips to make your bottles last long:
The ideal temperature for storing wine is anywhere from 10°C to 13°C (50°F-55°F). Wine experts advise against keeping wine in extremely cold temperatures like inside a freezer or storing in an unheated basement during the winter months. The reason is that the wine can slowly freeze and force the cork out or even the break the bottle. Temperatures above 21 C are hazardous too because excess heat can ‘cook’ the wine, forcing it to age quicker than optimally and leaving a flat taste.
Temperature fluctuation can also be extremely dangerous to wine. Find a cool place in your house that has a constant temperature – ideally, 12.5 C is recommended. Keep your storage away from the kitchen and home appliances that produce heat.
Light is wine’s enemy number one. It can cause premature ageing of wine and eventually damage the wine. There’s no worry when it comes to your interior light bulbs damaging your wine, though you should keep off fluorescent bulbs, but avoid keeping your wine storage where direct sunlight may find its way in. The very best is to keep your wine storage in the darkest location of your house. Come to think of it, that’s why vintners use tinted bottles as a way to guard against sunlight.
Humidity should stay around 70% for long-term wine storage. However, don’t sweat too much on this as humidity levels between 50% and slightly above 70% are still okay. Very low humidity can cause the corks to dry out, leading to air bubbles and seepage. On the other hand, extremely high levels – over 80% – would promote mould growth on bottles and corks.
If the bottles are shaken, chemical reactions will start taking place inside – reactions that can cause the wine to ferment. Vibrations could also hinder sediments from settling, leading to a gritty and nasty wine. Keep your wine storage cabinet away from washing machines. If you live near railway stations or next door to disco clubs, your wine is also likely to experience some minimal vibrations.
If you intend to store your wine for several months or years, then make sure to keep the bottles on their sides unlike in upright positions. The reason is to keep the bottom of the corks moistened by the wine and preventing air from penetrating inside and damaging the wine. In addition, horizontal bottle arrangement on wine racks is space saving especially when you have a huge collection.
If you have enough space and a growing collection, consider building a Eurocave-style, temperature and humidity-controlled room with proper racking for wine storage. You may want to consult a wine cellar designer to help you meet the standard cellar requirements. A wine cellar can hold many bottles as opposed to a storage cabinet, so it should be a great undertaking for a large collection.
That’s it! Simple tips that will help maintain the original flavours of wine. Would you like to check out the best wine fridges and coolers in the UK? Click here; Top 8 Wine Coolers and Reviews.