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Wine storage is something that you either do right, or don’t do at all. To be able to cellar wine effectively you must have unadorned stable conditions. If you don’t take care so that your hard earned french wine bottles sit in proper conditions you are prone to open the door to a disaster.

There aren’t many houses that have a real wine cellar, however people usually go with purpose-built cabinets to serve their purposes. A wine cabinet is a lot more affordable than creating a real wine cellar. This is not a bad option if you’re only looking to store some special wine bottles for a few years.

Another option is off-site wine storage. Many companies have built controlled storage places, complete with insurance and inventory service. This takes some of the work off your shoulders but it also means you need a complex process to remove some of your bottles and you won’t be able to do that in the middle of the night after a wine dinner party.

There are 5 main factors that influence stored wine directly. This does not include the origin of the wine, such as terroir or climate. These factors are storage factors, and proper balance in each of them is imperative to have stately wine types emerging from your cellar. So let’s take a look at each of them and see how to properly manage them:

Tip 1: What is the best temperature for wine cellar storage?

It is important to protect the wine from too high or too low temperature. The best temperature to keep wine is between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius. In order to keep the wine at an ideal temperature you need a staple wine cellar. Take note not to use the fridge for wine storage, since the constant vibrations will ruin many of the wine’s components. More on that later.

The recommended temperature varies a little depending on the primary wine type. Red wine does best between 12.7-15.5 degrees Celsius. White wine goes a little lower, 9.5-13.3 degrees Celsius. Finally rose wine is the most high-maintenance, you need to keep the wine between a 1 degree margin starting from 9.5 degrees Celsius, so that’s 10.5 degrees tops.

Tip 2: How to protect wine from vibrations?

First of all you must understand that wine has roughly 1000 components. Vibrations damage many of them in unfathomable ways. There are many sources that can deliver enough punch to ruin a bottle of wine. You will see that many every-day activities are disturbing enough to upset the wine.

Cars or the subway are more than enough if you’re living close to the street or subway. But you probably guessed as much. However washing clothes, drying machine, even the fridge, or any electric appliance that generates vibration will easily alter wine.

If you constantly disturb the wine, even for just a few hours a day you are impeding it’s ability to express it’s components. The result is a wine that doesn’t mature. The solution comes in high quality wine coolers, which come with an anti-vibration system.

Tip 3:  Why should I protect wine from sunlight?

The concept of wine storage, or wine aging, involves the wine’s tannins. Using the yeast the wine’s tannins gradually turn to sugar through the process of fermentation. When all the tannins are used the wine can’t mature any longer. This is why very sweet wines such as Port can age for a great many years, because they have high levels of tannins.

Sunlight comes as another ingredient in this ecuation. Basically sunlight has ultraviolets that destroy tannins. The result is a dead wine: no more tannins, no more fermentation. No more fermentation means the yeast doesn’t combine with tannins, so no sugar is produced and more so yeast further kills the wine.

You need to store wine bottles away from any light, in a dark place such as a basement transformed in a wine cellar, a natural cellar or a wine cabinet. The wine cellar’s door should prevent UV’s from getting in the cooler. Therefore wine can be kept for a long time.

Tip 4:  What is the proper humidity level?

Wine is a very prickly thing. Apart from temperature, light and vibrations you also need to keep a stable humidity level. But not just any hygrometry level. You need to keep humidity between 70 and 80 percent. Any less or more will hurt the wine and ultimately destroy your work. Again, a wine cellar, or wine cooler if you will, maintains the proper humidity.

What happens if the room is too dry?

Too dry in wine cellar storage terms means anything under 70%. The cork will gradually dry up and then the alcohol in the wine will start eating at it. In time the cork gets smaller and smaller and before long air finds it’s way inside the bottle and your wine is ruined. There’s also a chance that the wine will evaporate from the bottle.

What happens if the room is too humid?

Should the hygrometry go over 80% the room is too humid. This time the humidity damages the cork and the smell of the cork will go into the wine, effectively ruining it’s bouquet. High humidity also means mold starts forming around the label of the wine. After a few months the wine is irreparably damaged.

Tip 5: What happens when there is no air circulation?

A wine cellar requires constant renewal of air. Otherwise the stagnant air will cause too much moisture and then bacteria starts to form. This damages the cork and, in time, the label as well. Both these factors subside in slowly killing the wine.

Wine cellars come with two systems designed to keep the air on the move. Some wine cellars work with a closed system. The other system takes air from an outside room and filters the air quality so it fits the proper wine cellar storage parameters.

So now that you have the proper conditions for wine storage, how long can you keep a bottle of wine. Well this largely depends on the wine type you wish to preserve as well as the origin of the wine. Such as climate and terroir. Generally French red wine cellar storage can go up to 10 years, and up to more than 50 years in case of white wines.

Further reading:

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