How to Start a Wine Cellar
What’s the ideal temperature for cellaring wine?
Storing wines at the ideal temperature can have a significant impact on the life of a wine. Extreme heat is wine’s enemy and can cause a wine to age prematurely and oxidise.
The ideal temperature for cellaring wine is around 10 – 14ºC, though chances are that few of us have a place in our home that is this cool all year round. One option is to invest in a wine storage cabinet that can maintain this ideal temperature for cellaring wine.
The commercial wine storage companies can also achieve this cellaring temperature consistently for a low monthly rental fee. Otherwise, find the coolest place in your home that will keep the wine anywhere from 7 – 21ºC. That may mean in a cupboard or perhaps a dark corner of the garage.
Find a spot with minimum fluctuation in temperature, from day to day and season to season, away from direct sunlight, or appliances like a fridge or oven.
What are the ideal storage conditions?
The ideal storage conditions for cellaring wine will ensure that it ages gradually without spoilage.
The perfect storage conditions for a wine call for humidity of 70%. Storage conditions which are too damp can cause mould and for the labels to deteriorate, whereas being too dry can affect the corks.
Avoid storage conditions that expose the wine to strong odours, so keep away from paints, solvents and pungent cleaning products. Such odours can seep through the cork and affect the flavour of the wine. Also keep your wine away from storage conditions that subject the wine to vibration, like under a stairwell or beside an appliance like a fridge.
If they are cork, store bottles of wine lying down. This keeps the cork from drying out which can let air into the wine and age it prematurely. Place the bottles in a rack. If you don’t have one, a cardboard carton can be just as good as the corrugated cardboard provides a limited form of insulation from temperature fluctuations. Otherwise, simply stacking the bottles on top of each other is fine, though it can make accessing a particular bottle more difficult.
Thanks to Taylors Wines – Award-winning Wines from the Clare Valley.