As a wine amateur you have bought bottles that require long-term storage. Perhaps you purchased the latest vintage of our Château La Rose Perrière during your visit to our vineyard? Our signature wine is, like many red wines, a wine to keep. This means that it can easily be stored for around ten years.
To create a wine cellar in optimal conditions that will help reveal the full aromatic potential of your wines, you should follow a few rules and recommendations that we have chosen to share with you. Let us guide you for the preservation of your bottles before tasting.
The wine ageing process strongly depends on its direct environment. It is therefore essential to choose the right location for your wine bottles depending, of course, on the nature of your home. Whether you live in a house or in an apartment, options exist.
The first choice is obvious: the basement cellar. Cellar of your house or the private cellar to which you have access in your building. If you don't have a cellar in the basement, maybe your neighbor has one that they do not use?
In big cities, like storage rooms, wine cellars are available for rental by professionals or individuals. Be careful, however, to be sure about the seriousness of these companies via their digital reputation or by asking those around you.
If the cellar in the basement is not an option, you can choose to store your bottles in an ageing wine cellar (furniture) in a room with little natural lighting or in a room that you use infrequently.
Here is a question that wine lovers regularly ask themselves: how to place your wine bottles to ensure optimal conservation? Practices diverge but the effects of long-term conservation to be taken into account remain the same: the risk that the cork will dry out, shrink or even crumble, thus becoming permeable to air and influencing the quality of the wine ; and the risk that the deposit forming naturally at the bottom of the wine bottle by the sedimentation of pigments and the degradation of tannins is too great.
To prevent this to happen, the rule is lay wine bottles down, so that wine remains in contact with the cork. This will remain impermeable to air, thus avoiding oxidation of the wine caused by the entry of air into the bottle.
An other possibility is recommended by some studies: the oblique position, or lying slightly inclined. This position allows part of the cork to remain in contact with the air pocket contained in the bottle.
There is an exception to horizontal storage for Champagnes and other sparkling wines which should support vertical storage in the same way as fortified spirits and wines such as porto.
The evolution of wine in the bottle is directly linked to the temperature of the room or cellar in which it is stored. Indeed, wine is a living product, the temperature affects its quality and its speed of maturation. The higher the temperature, the faster it will evolve.
However, it is necessary to avoid temperatures that are too high, above 16°C, which could harm the wine, disrupt its balance and cause irreparable damage. It is also strongly recommended to avoid any sudden temperature variations to protect the wine from harmful thermal shock.
Keep in mind that, in general, wine hates extremes, whether temperatures that are too hot or too cold. The storage temperature is therefore essential, ideally stable and controllable, this is the case with apartment aging wine cellars on sale in specialized stores.
For long-term storage, plan for a constant temperature of 12°C (or between 10 and 15°C) which will encourage the slow evolution of the wine. More precisely :
Hygrometry or humidity rate refers to the quantitative measurement (expressed as a percentage) of the quantity of water in the air. This rate is another important parameter to take into account in your wine cellar.
In an atmosphere that is too dry, for example, when the humidity level is less than 50%, the organoleptic properties of the wine will be altered, in particular its color and aromas. In an atmosphere that is too humid, on the other hand (rate greater than 80%), the proliferation of mold is favored to the point of putrefaction.
The ideal humidity for your wine cellar is between 50% and 80%. To maintain it, it is essential to find and remove all sources of humidity in the room and install an appropriate ventilation system. Dehumidifiers and humidifiers specially designed for wine cellars are also commercially available to control humidity levels. Do not neglect this fundamental factor in the proper aging of wine!
The natural sunlight that has been so beneficial for the ripening of grape clusters can be realy damaging during the wine storage phase, especially for white wines. Indeed, prolonged natural or artificial light on a bottle of wine will cause premature oxidation which will result in pungent aromas. The wine will deteriorate and lose its aromatic richness and intensity.
The deterioration of its taste qualities is called by professionals “the taste of light”. This anomaly will make it difficult to consume, in particular white wines, rosé wines and sparkling wines.
The first precautions are taken by the winemaker who chooses a green or amber tint for the bottles. At home, it is therefore advisable to optimize the lighting in your wine cellar. It is possible to choose LED lighting, whose wave intensity is lower, but the ideal remains storage in the dark and in stable conditions. If you are in an apartment, commercially available aging wine cellars generally have a completely opaque door for this purpose.
The wine breathes through the cork. Also, to maintain all its qualities and improve over time, it must be stored in a healthy, odor-free environment.
Sufficient ventilation of the room is essential to prevent the proliferation of mold and bacteria in the wine cellar, which would potentially lead to the development of bad odors and the deterioration of the cork and therefore of the wine.
Wine needs peace and quiet to age well. The vibrations disrupt the sediments in the bottle which contribute to the good natural ageing of red wines.
Even slight vibrations can accelerate chemical reactions in the bottle: they cause kinetic energy which causes unwanted reactions and can therefore influence the ageing process of the wine.
Therefore, it is preferable to exclude any source of vibration (washing machine, dryer, railway tracks, positioning under a staircase) in or near your wine cellar.
The organization of the wine cellar is thought out from the very beginning, from the acquisition of the first bottles. If you plan to purchase bottles of wine for ageing, it will be in your interest to separate the ageing cellar, the storage cellar (up to approximately 3 years) and the service cellar for bottles that can be consumed within the year. .
This distinction by function can be a first approach to organizing your cellar. In addition, keep in mind that wines for aging, like white wines, require a constant lower temperature than other wines.
You can also choose to organize your cellar by color. Assign distinct rows to your reds, whites, rosés and sweet wines. This will allow you to quickly find the bottle that will match your dish of the day.
Another criterion for organizing your bottles could be by typicity and terroir, by wine region/appellation.
To avoid constant handling of bottles, place labels on the corks or on the front of the shelves. You will find more easily the bottle you are looking for.
It would also be relevant and useful to keep a cellar book which will list your bottles, mentioning the identity of the wine (name, appellation, vintage, grape varieties, vintage, alcohol content), stock, year at which the wine will have reached its peak to plan its tasting. This inventory must of course be updated regularly. You can also choose to invest in an inventory application or software.
Ultimately, your wine cellar looks like you, so set up an organization that suits you.
The wine cellar can be the object of desire for burglars, particularly if (high) value bottles are stored there. Securing it using detectors and an alarm or even insuring it will be recommended. Your home insurance will offer you an extension of the multi-risk guarantee and will obviously take a close interest in the security measures that you have put in place and in the exhaustive declaration of your bottles, in particular the grands crus.
Following these recommendations, you will enjoy visiting your wine cellar and picking the right bottle for the best food and wine pairings.
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