One of Life's Little Pleasures
Protect and Extend the Life of Your Wine
Aging Gracefully With Time on Your Side
Whether you're buying ready-to-drink wines by the case or investing in premium vintages, proper storage is the key to maintaining quality. That means avoiding rapid, frequent, or extreme fluctuations in temperature, minimizing exposure to bright light, maintaining proper humidity, and observing the right handling techniques. You'll need a system. Cataloging your collection would be a great place to start. Remember that some wines are created to be cellared for specific length of time. You can also arrange your wine cellar in order to be consumed at the peak.
Length of Storage
Just so you know, most wine is meant to be consumed soon after purchasing and preferably within 12 to 24 months of the vintage date. Only about 5 percent are the premium age-worthy wines, which will actually improve with age and may reach their full potential after 5, 10, or up to 50 years in the bottle.
Heat is foremost in protecting your investment. Although 55 degrees Fahrenheit is considered ideal, many experts agree anything between 45 F and 65 F should be fine. Storing your wine in excess of 70 degree F will shorten the life of your wine considerably. And while popping a bottle in the refrigerator for up to a couple of months is OK, it’s not a good idea for long-term storage as it will lead to cork age issues. The key is to avoid rapid, extreme, or frequent temperature swings. Stable temperatures are your key concern.
Role of Humidity
The ideal humidity level for wine storage is between 50 and 80 percent. Less than that and the cork could dry out, exposing your wine to air and spoilage. High humidity can lead to mold. Mold is an issue as it leads to damaged labels.
Effects of Light
Wine should not be subjected to excessive amounts of light. Low-level lighting will not harm wine, but please, keep it out of direct sunlight. I have a tendency to age wine a little too long in 5-gallon carboys. I keep a cover on at all times—light is destructive to a great many things and wine is no exception!
Thinking outside the bottle
How Do We Store Wine
Well-designed racks that will keep your bottles secure, stable, horizontal and easily accessible are the preferred method of storage. If you are a serious collector and want to store your wines for more than a year to maybe ten years, then you may need modular wine racks that hold hundreds of bottles of wine. We can sit down and look at your space to come up with a suitable solution.
Cabernet Design has economy cellars starting a $8000
This includes basic temperature and humidity controls. Racking design and material play a large rule in the budget. Spanish cedar is preferred by this builder for its longevity in damp and cooler climates, remember the 50 to 80 percent humidity. If you’re a do-it-yourself kind a person we can help out with some inexpensive ideas. The location of the wine cellar you have in mind will be a key starting point.
Common Cellaring Guidelines
- Cabernet Sauvignon-seven to ten years
- Pinot-Noir up five years
- Merlot-three to five years
- Zinfandel two to five years
- Chardonnay five to seven years
- Riesling three to five years, but longer for the very best
- Sauvignon Blanc 18 months to two years
- Pinot gris one to two years