In vino veritas: Wine Cellars

Whether as an accompaniment to a delicious meal or at the end of a long workday, comfortably in front of the fireplace: there is nothing like a glass of good wine. Anyone who wants to serve their guests fine wines from their own supply will sooner or later start to ponder the storage. A wine cellar of your own offers optimal opportunities to let the aroma of the grape juice fully unfold and the wine to gradually ripen.  Remember the following principle: only a good wine can last for years when properly stored.

In vino veritas: Wine CellarsThe Room

When choosing a cellar, pay attention that there are sufficient levels of humidity. Stone walls or concrete walls are ideal for basements where wine is to be stored. These give a good basis and can be insulated with tuff as necessary. Modern buildings usually have very dry cellars, which is beneficial from a structural perspective, but less so for the wine. In principle, old cellars are ideal for the storage of wine because they have solid walls and for the most part, plenty of space. 

Humidity & Temperature

Make sure that the humidity is not too high in your wine cellar, or the corks may begin to go mouldy. As a rule, 50 to 70 percent humidity is ideal for the maturing process. A regular review of the air humidity is the be-all and end-all for your wine cellar. Pay attention that the wine is not subjected to any major temperature fluctuations. As a rule of thumb: 10 to 15 degrees is the ideal temperature. Temperatures below 10 degrees affect the maturation and for every degree above 16 degrees, it becomes more difficult to serve the wine at the right temperature. Install a thermometer in the wine cellar so that you always have an accurate view of the temperature in the storage area. Naturally the wine is exposed to seasonal temperature changes, in which case, a maximum of 9 degrees fluctuation is considered acceptable. Ideally, it is only 3 degrees. The interaction of temperature and humidity. Temperature fluctuations should be avoided as the increase in heat makes cork expand, and contract again in cool temperatures. The resulting vacuum can cause the wine to oxidise, meaning it ages too rapidly. 

Stillness & Darkness

Good wine likes rest. Each prolonged vibration through surrounding streets, railway tracks or tram lines can affect the maturation of a wine. Equally, too much daylight or sun can harm your wine supply. The lifespan of a wine stands or falls with the level of light exposure. The more light the wine is exposed to, the shorter the duration of its shelf life. Therefore, a darkened wine cellar without windows is ideal for storage.

Storage Setup & System

A good shelving system provides the basis for storage. Select shelves which can be extended if necessary. If the wine bottles are sealed with a cork then they should be stored lying down to stop the cork from drying out. However, as increasingly more wines (regardless of quality) are sealed with a screw top or plastic cork, these can also be stored upright.

Alternatively to a wine cellar, a wine cabinet is also suitable. Never store your wine in the supplied boxes as they have a detrimental effect on the aroma. Wooden boxes must also be opened in order to allow enough air to the wine. As a general rule: the wine should not be exposed to foreign smells for an extended period time, because this will affect the aroma.

In vino veritas: Wine CellarsIn vino veritas: Wine Cellars

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