Wine Cellaring Tips

The key to cellaring wine is to understand the main variables that can have a negative effect on wine. These variable are temporature, light, humidity and vibration.

Temperature

The first and most important factor to consider when cellaring wine is temperature. 

Ideally the temperature of your chosen wine storage should hold constant, avoiding any major shift in temperature between the day and the night. 

Most cellars fluctuate between seasons, warmer in summer, cooler in winter, however as long as the the temperature only fluctuates between 12 - 16C, throughout the storage period there should be no problems with your wine storage.

The storage condition of bottled wines will influence a wine's aging. Basically, the cooler the wine storage temperature, the more slowly the wine will develop.  Don't go too cold though as the wines will lose their flavour and aromas.  

Equally, high temperatures cause the wine to age prematurely, thus losing its flavour and balance.  If a wine is exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time, it may become spoilt or "cooked" and develop off flavours that taste raisiny or stewed.

 

Light

Direct light, weather it be sunlight or incandescent can adversely react to the wine inside the bottle. 

It is recommended that you keep your wines storage facility dark and use a low wattage light for illumination.

If you are keeping your wine is a fridge for more than a few days, you may consider wrapping the bottles in foil to prevent any light damage from the fridge light.

Humidity

Some degree of humidity is required for wines that are sealed with cork.  The humidity helps to prevent to cork from drying out, even when the bottle is stored on it's side the cork is still exposed to the air.  If the cork begins to dry out, this can allow oxygen to enter the bottle and causing the wine to spoil.

Be careful not to have your humidity level too high, as high humidity will cause the deterioration of labels and cardboard cartons.  The ideal range is approximately 60-65 per cent relative humidity.

The use of screw caps is increasingly making the requirement for humidity less relevant.

Vibration

It sounds strange, but vibration can cause a long-term threat to the cellaring of wine.  If you are storing your wine in a refridgerated unit for a period of time, be sure that any vibration is contained to the outside of the refridgeration unit and that your wine has adequate protection.