Lookin' Good at 58

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some Tips On Storing Wine

There is a few things when you store wine for any length of time in a wine cellar that everyone should be aware.

1. Temperature.

The ideal temperature of a wine cellar can range anywhere between 7-18C ( 45 to 64F ) with the ideal temperature about 11C ( 52F ). The most important thing is that the temperature does not fluctuate at all. If the cellar goes from warm to cold and vice versa the wine will age faster by affecting the cork causing it to expand and contract letting in the oxygen , robbing the wine of it's character in the process. Warm temperatures are altogether discouraged so much so that even while shipping wines elsewhere they have to be done by temperature controlled containers or shipped only in cool times of the year.

2. Humidity

In order to keep the cork moist and flexible so that it doesn't dry out the humidity must be between 60 and 70% in the cellar. It is not a good idea to store wine in a refrigerator for longer than a week as the refrigerator dehumidifies and the cork could dry out there as well. For example your house white wine can be stored in the cold refrigerator at work because you know it will be used quickly but a really good vintage white burgundy , that may not be ordered as much , after a time in the fridge may start losing some of it's quality due to cork damage and the cold temperatures.

3. Light.

Wines that are being laid down for any length of time should be stored in the dark. In fact when being kept for a long period the buyer should do their best to buy the wine and take it home in the carton and lay it on it's side so the cork will remain moist. Ultraviolet rays affect all wines at a different rate. Depending on the colour of the bottle with brown bottles being the least affected to green and clear bottles being the most affected.

4. Position.

A wine bottle should be stored on it's side so as to keep the corks moist and airtight. The only two exceptions to this are the screwtop wines , and sparkling wines which have enough CO2 in them in the open space between the cork and the wine to ensure enough humidity to keep the cork from drying out and shrinking.

5. Movement.

Unless you live above a subway or near a train track this should not be too difficult to achieve. Just make sure that the wine goes through the least movement possible which means no vibration. Don't put an expensive bottle of wine near a blender in other words. If a wine has sediment or is a sparkling wine and it is stored in a location which vibrates this can affect the wine after a time.

A final note is when choosing a spot in your house to store wine choosing your basement is better than choosing your kitchen. You want a spot where you can control the above mentioned tips. If you do not have a basement the next best spot could be your big closet behind where you hang your coats. Dark , constant temperature , no vibration , good humidity , and a wine rack you can lay the bottles on their side. Or better yet they have some good ones on the market where all the above can be monitored.

People who are serious about starting a wine collection would do well to invest in something like a monitored enclosed wine rack. Especially with the extreme temperatures we get nowadays.

Hope this has been informative for you.


banquet manager said...

The problem we have in banquets is that there is not always another bar the following night that we can use the wine for. When this happens, we usually just put the "used-to-be-cold" white wines back on the shelf (stored standing-up) until the next time their needed.

I guess this is ok for the usual $4.00 bottle of wine used as our house wine.

Good info though. Take care.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Banquet Manager..for sure I hear you and that is exactly what you have to do and it usually doesn't take too long before the next chance to use them comes around. The trick is I suppose is open what you need at the beginning and not too much before you know if they are wine drinkers or not.Sometimes you can open a slew of bottles ahead of time and then no one drinks them. You know what i mean the host says a couple of bottles per table and then you are seeing nothing getting drank at one and many at another.Then you are doing the switcherooney trying to get the open bottles all drank up.