Picture this: It’s 7 pm. You’re returning home after perhaps having had the most hectic day of your life. All you need is a glass of wine in hand and some me-time. You go to your cellar, pick out your favorite bottle of wine, and are ready to curl into your couch…sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? After all, who doesn’t love to relax and sip on a delicious glass of wine at the end of a long day? And with a wine cellar that is all yours, the relaxing gets even better.
Now usually, the words wine cellar conjures up images of a large underground cellar, brimming with row upon row of antique wines and bottles, and clouds of dust everywhere. But storing and aging your wine today needn’t be so dramatic.
If you’ve ever dreamed of having a cellar at home with a curated wine collection or are in the food business and are looking to build one, then you’re in just the right place. In this article, we’ll be sharing all the details along with some helpful tips on how to build the wine cellar of your dreams.
Get The Temperature Right
Ask any expert wine collector, and they’re likely to emphasize the importance of temperature when storing wine. While temperatures may vary from wine to wine, the ideal and optimum temperature for aging wine is 55°F or 13°C. And do not make the mistake of storing your wine in the kitchen. With the heat from your stoves to the cool blast from the fridge, the kitchen is probably one of the worst places to store wine due to its varying temperatures. For your wine to mature and age well over time, you must ensure that there is minimum to no temperature fluctuations in the room.
If you have a large cellar, investing in a wine cooling system may be a good decision. But not all of us may have a cellar at our disposal. In that case, you can opt for a wine refrigerator that allows you to control the temperatures and age your wine with ease.
Humidity i.e., the amount of moisture in the air is also an important factor to take into account when building a wine cellar. Even if your temperatures may be correct, incorrect humidity conditions can ruin your wine aging process. If the humidity levels are too low, your corks will dry out, leaving them brittle. This causes oxygen to enter your bottles, spoiling the taste. On the other hand, high humidity levels can give way to mold growth in your cellar and cause the labels to peel off bottles. The ideal humidity levels in your wine storage area should be between 60 to 70% for your wine to age just like you want it to.
Keep It Dark
If you’ve ever wondered why most wine cellars are dark, then you must know that it is so for a reason. The harmful UV rays of the sun can pierce through your bottles, resulting in the oxidation of your fine wines. This spoils the taste and aroma, and causes irreparable damages to your wine. Try and store your wine bottles as much as you can in the dark. If you have space, then an underground area makes for an ideal setting to avoid even the slimmest rays of sunshine hitting your wine.
Yes, bottle positions matter too! Since most wine bottles come with a cork, it’s recommended to store the bottles horizontally instead of the usual upright position. This ensures that the cork doesn’t dry out and remains moist. As mentioned earlier, dried-out corks can lose their seal and cause damage to the wine. Moreover, storing horizontally also makes for more efficient use of space and easy access.
Avoid Any Kind Of Movements
Aging wine involves all kinds of chemical reactions taking place inside the bottle of your wine. When you give way to any type of jerky movements or vibrations around the bottles, this can disrupt the delicate aging process occurring inside the bottles. Even simple actions such as picking up a bottle or rotating the racks can cause extensive damage. This is because vibrations tend to speed up the aging process, and as a result, ruin the final product. It’s best to let your wine bottles remain untouched and let the magic happen slowly, undisturbed.
Some Final Tips
A good basement, closet, or garage will most likely fit the conditions stated above. And if you do not have such rooms, then a good wine refrigerator will also do the trick. Make sure the air in your cellar is clean and free of any strong, harsh smells. The last thing you’d want is a bad odor to seep in and destroy the integrity and flavor of your wine. Storing and aging wine does take some planning and effort into account. So ensure you are well-prepped to take care of everything (including the minutest of details) to, ultimately, get rewarded with a collection of rich fine wine that has aged beautifully.
Related: Making Your Own Wine At Home