G’day, ladies and gentlemen.
We are going to discuss about wine storage which is a casual yet important topic. ideal wine storage can assist in bottle ageing which encourages slow wine maturation without possible spoilage, taint and oxidisation. In other words, you will not happy to see your wine which is early matured and spoiled because of improper cellar conditions no matter how expensive the wine is.
Consequences of inappropriate cellaring
Before ideal conditions for wine storage addressed, we should take a look of negative impacts when cellaring our wine in poor conditions such as light exposure, unsuitable humidity, improper temperature, poor ventilation and a vertical position for wine with cork closure. There are six disadvantageous influences caused by unacceptable storage.
Cork breakage: ideally, cork closure wine should be stored horizontally. The reason why it has to be laid down in cellar because the position enables cork to be moisture and prevent from drying out. If cork closure is dehydrated, it is very likely to be broken during bottle opening. You do not want to see that there is a half cork inside the neck of your bottle which may mess up your elegant performance of wine opening.
Early maturation: ageing potential varies from wine to wine. For most table wines, they are presumed to be enjoyed 1 to 3 years after release, while fine wines like a bottle of Bordelaise Grand Cru Classé, usually have to age for at least 5 to 10 years after launched as a slow developing process. Regardless of closure type, if the temperature of cellaring environment is higher than 20°C/ 68°F, wines are possibly to be early-matured and perhaps lose their reasonable ageing potential.
Leakage: if cork closure wine has cellared vertically for a long period and then to be laid down, a dried shrivelled cork will lead to potential leakage. In addition, temperature fluctuations could give rise to leakage as cork is pushed upwards.
Oxidisation: As the same situation which causes likelihood of cork breakage, it also likely results in unwanted oxidisation as excessive air moves into wine. Consequently, red wine tends to have pale, orange colour; damp, forest floor, stale fruit aromas and reduced flavour intensity, while white wine perhaps appears to be deep, gold in colour; straw, savoury, nutty in nose and less flavoursome.
Unfavourable acidity: since air moves into wine during ageing with warmer environment which could stimulate acetic acid bacteria that lead to unacceptable vinegary acidity. In order to prevent the taint occurred, keeping cool temperature and satisfactory humidity for cork closure’s moisture are crucial.
Unpleasant aromas: apart from unpleasant aromas due to acetic acid bacteria and oxidisation, light exposure for both artificial and natural, is able to impact wine on nose as the development of cooked cabbage or wet cardboard aromas from amino acids. Moreover, an odour environment such as volatile compounds from cleaning solutions or food, which are able to cause unpleasant aromas developed as volatile compounds’ movement into wine through permeable closure.
Ideal cellaring conditions
With the aim to achieve effective wine storage, there are six vital conditions regardless of storing at cellar, wine fridge or home.
Cool temperature: an ideal temperature range for wine is around 10-14°C/ 50°F-58°F. Neither below nor above the range is unsuitable for wine cellaring.
Constant temperature: it aims to be stable instead of temperature fluctuations
Proper position: for wine with cork closure that should be stored horizontally, while wine with aluminium closure can be either vertically or horizontally.
Appropriate humidity: the faultless range of humidity approximately ranges from at least 60 to 80 %. If the humidity is lower than 60%, cork will be dehydrated. Likewise, if the humidity is higher than 80%, the label or exterior of wine will be over-moulded which is perhaps unattractive to consumers, although the condition is positive for cork closure.
Ventilated environment: as the aforementioned, keeping cellaring area with clean, fresh air is essential to prevent off-odour movements into your wine.
Unlighted ambience: It is necessary for ageing wine without light exposure.
Wine storage is an essential part of wine. As you are already known ideal cellaring conditions, you may enjoy your fine wine after a decade or more. Cheers!
The Oxford Companion to Wine 4th Edition, Robinson. J and Harding. J