I wear many wine hats. A quick scroll of your mouse over (or click) the ‘wine services’ tab above will describe many of them. Possibly, the one people feel they don’t need advice on is wine storage, other than collectors, investors and trade partners.
In this post, I want to highlight the importance of how you store your wine and will provide some wine cellar advice while I’m at it. The thing is, even if you are not planning to build a cellar, or store some cases of wine there are a few secrets below on how to ensure you keep your wine fresh and gorgeous for when you open it.
Now, I fully appreciate that most of the wine we buy we do so to drink it immediately. This could be as a dinner party gift, a refreshing BBQ wine or simply one to share with friends. In this post, however, I will be talking about wines that you might want to put away for at least 3 years.
Many wine producers make wines in a variety of styles i.e. for early drinking or for storage so all tastes are catered for really. Even so, if you’re not going to open the bottle immediately on arriving home from your Green Acres purchase, then just keeping it away from sunlight and at a cool temperature, until you do open it, will suffice.
Attention to storage conditions depends on your long-term goals for your wine bottles.
Attention to storage conditions depends on your long-term goals for your wine bottles #winestorage
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Why are Wine Storage Conditions Important anyway?
That is a fair question because there is a lot of mystery surrounding the need and reason for storing/aging wine. Historically it was important for two reasons:
1) water wasn’t always safe to drink back in the day, so preserving wine for ongoing consumption was important.
2) even 100 years ago the wine made wasn’t as refined as it is today so allowing it to mellow/blend improved the end product and made it more drinkable.
Times have changed in 2018, of course. Water is drinkable and the storage of wine might be for emotional or economic reasons. I’ll bet you have received a bottle for that special occasion that you might want to keep for sentimental reasons. If so, the popular suggestion is to keep it at ‘cellar temperature’.
Now unfortunately for wine storage (and fortunately for us), most modern homes have central heating installed and the temperature is just way too high for lengthy wine storage. The challenge is to find a spot that is dark, cool and as stable as possible, temperature-wise. I would go as far as to say a stable temperature is the most important element of storing a wine. This is because it is the fluctuation in temperature that causes the problem.
That is why wine racks in our kitchens, next to the cooker or fridge, are some of the worst places to keep wines – because of the variable temperatures in those locations.
Those wine fridges that you see for sale are a great option but can be expensive for the bigger ones. The better ones will have a cooler section for whites, a room temperature section for reds and the rest is used for storage at a constant temperature.
Here are 3 Basic Rules You Can Follow for Storing Your Wine.
1) Find a place that has a consistent, cool temperature (10°C) in a dark place (no sunshine). I would recommend you keep the bottle on its side and keep it far enough away from being moved or jostled about.
2) If you have a basement or a garage where you can keep the wine at a fairly constant temperature – go for it, just remember the cooler the better. If the summer months are particularly warm it could be moved into an air-conditioned room, if an option. Remember, the space must be a dark one. Exposure to light is not a wine’s friend.
3) If you can satisfy items 1) or 2) above then what you store the wine in, isn’t as important. Cheap wine racks, a chest of drawers, DIY metal shelving. The trick is to make sure that the bottle does not roll around and is easily accessible (in case you need to drink it!).
Don’t forget to keep a note of what you have put away. Just jot down the name, the year, and the date you put it down will suffice. There are many wine apps for mobile devices that have a function to record this information nowadays most of which are free to download. Some of them also have a tasting note function so you could keep track of people’s opinions on the wine at different tasting occasions.
How Do You Find the Right Wines for Storage?
To my mind, there is nothing better than enjoying a perfectly cellared, mature, peak-drinking wine from storage. Unfortunately, getting to that point is the same as running a marathon – both the training and the running are as difficult. In this case, it is the waiting that is like the training.
The other difficult area is the knowledge of what wines to put in storage/cellar. I mean, it is an up-front investment to be enjoyed at a later date. That is where I can help you personally. This is not a sales pitch but it is a service we offer. At Green Acres, we can help you choose suitable wines and then store your precious investment in a bonded warehouse, Fees subject to volume and length of time – if you need further information just contact myself or James O’Connor.
Here are 6 classic, cellar-friendly regions and wine types across a variety of styles.
- Chardonnay – most consider Burgundy the true home of Chardonnay. The wines are light with good balance. Because they are grown in a cool climate it makes them age-worthy. A few really good producers are – Henri Boillot, Marc Morey, and Domaine de Lambrays.
- Pinot Noir – A classic red wine that is most sought after for storing. Aging Pinot Noir brings forward their power and harmony. A few really good producers are – Dugat Py, Cecile Tremblay, Robert Groffier and Hubert Lignier.
- Rioja – different levels of Rioja wine (tempranilo grape) have different rules with regard to the aging process for producers. The really good ones are elegant with natural acidity and complex flavours – a Gran Reserva would be one for your cellar. A couple of really good producers are – Macan and Miguel Merino.
- Bordeaux – This whole blog post could be allocated to storing Bordeaux wines. Suffice to note though, that as these red wines age their primary fruit aromas retreat as more subtle, complex, secondary attributes emerge. There are many good producers such as Lynch Bages, La Fleur Petrus and Lafite Rothschild.
- Rhone Valley Syrah – Often overlooked because of the reputation of the Cote D’or just above it geographically but its ageability is 5-9 years (even 12-25 years). It has fruits of blackberry and blueberry, usually oaked and has medium tannins and acidity. A good producer would be George Vernay.
- Sweet Wine (Tokaji) – This sweet dessert wine from Hungary ages very slowly. After 20 or so years, I expect you’d notice a bottle of Tokaji taking on more mature notes—perhaps the orange peel notes turn to marmalade or the colour gets darker. As with all wines, storing your Tokaji in optimal conditions is best. A really good producer is – Oremus.
Wine Investing and/or Collecting.
Purposely, in this post, I have not delved into the options for wine investment or detail for the wine collector. It would be best to talk face-to-face if you fancy either of these options. For instance, the wine collector, unlike the wine investor will not restrict their cellar to the blue-chip wines. Many strategies can be adopted and usually, there is a rationale behind each decision.
As a general rule, I would divide wines into the following categories. Obviously, within categories, there will be big variations depending on the area, the vintage etc. That is why it’s best to drop in to chat with us here in Green Acres.
Wines that must be drunk young (within the year of vintage)
Wines to drink at 1-3 years old
Wines to drink at 3-5 years old
Wines to drink at 5-8 years old
Wines to drink at 8+ years
Summary Tips for Wine Storage.
With all the excitement and anticipation that comes with opening a bottle of wine for friends, the last thing you want is for it to taste bad or off. The tips below will help you to avoid such misfortune so as to keep that glass tasting fresh and delicious.
- Storage in a dim light ensures more humid conditions and avoids UV rays from spoiling the wine
- Maintain constant temperature, usually around 10° will work for both red and white wines
- Maintain humidity (65/75%) so as to stop the cork from shrinkage
- Limit vibration to a minimum so take your least coveted wine on that trip to the beach
- Lie the bottle down on its side to keep the cork and liquid in constant touch with each other
- Wine sealed with a cork is better to allow oxygen filter in and the wine to breath over time
Thank you for reading our blog. Feel free to drop-in to us here in Green Acres and we’ll help you with any aspect of your wine storage. Also, if you’d like to receive future blog posts from us, directly to your email, just ‘click’ here.
We look forward to engaging with you again soon – Cheers, Donal.
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