Wine For Thought: Your wine cellar or mine?

Your wine cellar 

One of the most often questions I get asked is “What’s the right way to store my wine?”

My answer of course is to tell people to give me their best, most expensive wines and then I change my name and leave town for a year….

Jokes aside, my answer tends to be to ask for more information. What are you storing for?, how long?, what is your cellar like?, do you have a cellar?, what styles of wine do you wish to store? Etc.

The more information you can provide, the better the information you will receive and when it comes to storing certain wines, knowledge means the difference between 8 years invested in a beautiful wine experience or interesting balsamic vinegar.

The Important Factors:

Light:  Wines are like vampires, allergic to an extent to ultraviolet rays. These rays can have an effect on the naturally occurring Riboflavin and Pantothenic acids, causing chemical reactions with the wines amino acids. The result is the production of sulphur which can cause unpleasant taste and aromas in the wine. So keep your wines out of direct or even reflected sunlight.

Temperature: Wines are sensitive to extremes and changes so the key things to keep in mind are, 1. making sure that the storage temp is stable and 2. Make sure it doesn’t go above 22 ºC. When wines rise in temp above 22ºC they start to oxidize, the higher the temp, the faster the oxidization. A cellar at around 14/18 degrees is perfect, if you can guarantee that the temp stays fairly stable

Movement: There are many opinions about how to turn, when to turn, if to turn stored wines “ a quarter turn, counter-clockwise with the neck angled due east” etc.. but the truth is, the best condition for stored wine is lying on its side, making sure the wine is in contact with the cork. If you have that covered ( plus the temp and light factors taken care of ) you won’t have to move it at all, in fact, the wine will be better off if it is just left to repose uninterrupted.

Humidity: Straightforward with this one, kind of going hand in hand with temperature. If your cellar is too dry ( below 55 % )you run the risk of your corks drying out, so avoid a space that has no humidity control. The same is true for the other extreme, too humid ( 85% +) and you run the risk of mold or rot affecting the cork and you are back to square one.

So there you have it, your 1 stop solution for all your Junior wine collector needs! Follow these factors/recommendations and you can be pretty safe knowing that your wine will avoid the “Ah well, at least I can use it for cooking” category.

See you in a few years!!