Some useful wine storing tips

If you’re as passionate about wine then you’ll probably want to know that you’re storing your valuable wine collection in the best possible cellar conditions. Conditions that will allow your wines to age slowly and develop complexity.

To give your wine its best chance of reaching peak condition you need to protect it. Throughout its life, the fruit mellows, the colour changes, tannins, acids and wood components soften, and complexity increases. These processes should be slow and gentle for the wine to peak at its best and there are a few key factors to consider:

COOL TEMPERATURE
The ideal storage temperature for wine is between 10º and 11º C, but anything between 5ºC and 18ºC is okay. Try to maintain a constant temperature: big seasonal variations should be avoided, while changes during the course of a day should not exceed a few degrees.

LOW LIGHTING
Wine is best kept in the dark for most of its life – bright light, particularly sunlight, can affect its complexity and maturation potential and eventually spoil it altogether.

LYING DOWN
Most bottles of wine should be laid down on their sides – horizontal, or at least at an angle sufficient to keep the corks in contact with the wine. You want to avoid dried-out corks, which are less efficient seals and more prone to letting air in or wine out.

NOT TOO DRY OR TOO HUMID
Ideal wine storage conditions involve a humidity level of between 70 and 75% – a lot of moisture in the air can result in mildew developing on the labels and corks, whereas very little will cause the corks to dry out and shrink, allowing air into the bottles.

PEACE AND QUIET
If wine is going to be kept for several years it should be left as undisturbed as possible – particularly in the case of red wines that develop a sediment, best left to settle at the bottom or on the side of the bottle. Wine can take the odd ‘body blow’ (during transport, for instance), but it objects to being treated like a punching bag. Kitchens and garages are not suitable – not only due to too much human activity, but also because of odours and temperature fluctuations. Stay clear of appliances in general.

USEFUL EQUIPMENT
When it comes to wine racks, the metal versions are most space efficient. Racks made from wood and other materials can be smart in appearance but tend to hold fewer bottles per square/cubic metre. Also useful are a thermometer, a humidity gauge and neck-tags, handy indicators as to what’s in a particular rack.

Source: winemag.co.za

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