7 Reasons Why you Should Cellar Wine
Wine is a natural product and highly perishable too. Exposure to light, vibrations, heat, fluctuations in humidity and temperature can spoil the wine. When you store wines appropriately, they will maintain their quality; what’s even more important is that as they mature, they will improve in flavor, aroma and complexity. The best way to ensure that the expensive and rare wines you buy continue to stay in prime condition, is to cellar them.
Here are 7 reasons why you should cellar wine. Let’s go through them in detail.
- Organisation- Adding a wine cellar to your home is the most effective way of storing as well as managing your impressive collection. To help create a well-catalogued collection, your wine should be stored in a manner that will allow easy viewing and quick access, which having a proper cellar enables you to do. It simplifies the entire process of stocking, consuming and refilling and ensures that you are drinking your wine when it reaches its peak drinking window.
- Maintaining Quality – If you are an ardent wine collector, cellaring wine becomes an essential and important part of preserving the integrity, taste and quality of your wines. When you store it in ideal conditions, it will mature well and gain complexity. Wine bottles should be stored on their sides to ensure that the liquid remains in contact with the cork. This helps keep the cork damp and allows for slight expansion & contraction of the air bubble, which can be caused by temperature variation. This prevents any air or liquid passing through the cork. The main enemy of wine is oxidisation. Well-designed wine racking should keep the bottles on their sides or at a slight angle (between 15-17 degrees) for display purposes.
- Maintaining Temperature– When it comes to wine storage, fluctuation in temperature is a major hazard. Storing wine in a pantry or kitchen cupboard or even
a refrigerator will impact the quality of the wine. Care has to be taken to ensure that the temperature doesn’t get too cold where the maturation process slows to a halt or be allowed to freeze, which can alter the chemical structure of the wine and could also force the corks out of their bottlenecks.
Similarly, if the storage temperature is above 25-30°C, the volatile components of the wine might get boiled off forever and will impact the clarity as well as the colour of the wine.
Large temperature fluctuations are more harmful to your wine than keeping wine at a constant warm temperature. So it is better to store your wine at a constant 20°C than have it in the garage where it goes from 25°C to 15°C from day to night. 12-13°C is often cited as the ideal temperature for storing wine, however many experts believe this to be too cold to allow the proper development and maturation of wine and we recommend an average temperature of between 15-18°C, protected from large fluctuations.
When you cellar wine in a passive underground Spiral Cellar or in temperaturecontrolled Wine Room, you are assured that the quality will remain intact.
- Protection from Light– Wine dislikes strong artificial light and UV light. Exposure to too much light will damage the wine by degrading the organic compounds, which contribute to the aroma and taste of the wine. This is why some wine producers, most commonly seen in Champagne and Sparking varieties, use darkened green or glass bottles to protect the liquid from “lightstrike”.
- The Right Humidity– This is an important factor when storing wine under cork. If the relative humidity is too dry, it can cause the corks to dry out, which will stop providing effective sealing, resulting in wine evaporating out of the bottle and increasing the risk of oxygen contamination. Excessive humidity can cause mould and mildew to build up which can damage the labels on bottles and is unsightly. Climatecontrolled cellaring, either natural or mechanical, is important to ensure that your precious wine is being stored and protected in the right environment. Relative Humidity of between 50-80% is considered acceptable with 60-70% often cited as ideal.
- No Vibration- Vibrations can cause naturally occurring sediments to be reintroduced into the wine and for the chemical composition of the wine to be altered. A well-constructed cellar will be stable without any vibrations. In addition to the dry environment inside a refrigerator, this is another reason why fridges can be a poor choice for long term wine storage. A vibration free environment helps maintain the flavour and bouquet of the wine. Your reds will need some time to rest quietly and so will the whites and sparkling wines
- Return on Investment- Cellaring wine gives you the freedom to buy your favourite variety in bulk (it’s much cheaper to buy young wine in larger quantities). Once they mature, the flavour of the wines will improve with age, which results in a higher return on investment. It also assures that you have a good stock for the future and can always be sure of drinking your wine when it is at its absolute peak!
The Ideal Conditions
As you can see, there are some distinct benefits to cellaring wine. An ideal cellar would be one that provides all the ideal conditions for your wine to age well. Commercial establishments have the space to build elaborate and spacious cellars, but that is not the case in residences where temperature, light, humidity and vibration control can prove to be a challenge.
The solution is to store your wines in a custom-built cellar. This helps create the perfect space and environment for them. For the widest range of medium-large scale wine cellar solutions for residences, call Signature Cellars on 02 9340 7515. You can also use this contact form to get in touch with us.