How to cellar wine : 10 tips on storing wine at home

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Whether you’re a passionate wine collector or just starting to build your collection now, it’s important to know that good wine storage is key. Cellaring will allow you to make the most of your wine and when stored in ideal conditions, your wine will mature well and gain complexity.

So, what makes a good wine cellar? Here are our ten top tips on how to store your wine effectively at home.

1. Keep it cool

The perfect temperature for wine storage lies somewhere between 12-14°C (55-59°F). Wine is fragile and heat is its enemy so if you are unable to store your wine in a cool temperature, your wines will develop at a faster rate and are unlikely to cellar long-term.

2. Keep it still

We get it, your well-curated wine cellar is growing (look at those bottles of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Burgundy!) and all you want to do is organize your shelves but truth be told, wine doesn’t like to be moved around too much. So, keep your wine away from vibrations (think electrical appliances like the fridge and busy areas in your house) and don’t shuffle your bottles around too often.

3. Consistency is key

We mentioned how important it is to keep your cellar temperature controlled but what is just as important, is to avoid any temperature fluctuations. You can keep your wine in the perfect conditions for 10 years, and then expose it to heat for just an hour and undo all the good work of the previous 10 years. The lesson here: slow and steady wins the race.

4. Buy more than one bottle

You may not have the space (or budget) to buy a dozen bottles at a time but when organizing your cellar, it’s a good idea to stock up on at least three bottles of the same wine. By doing this, you can taste each one along the ageing process and get an understanding on how they are developing over time and at which point you enjoyed them the most.

cellar pinot noir

5. Do your research

When choosing wine, it’s important that you consider how long the wine can be cellared but also what you enjoy and what you want in your collection. By doing your research, you can avoid any disappointment and ensure you’re adding value over time. Tasting new releases against older years is a great way to discover what you will look forward to over time – or not.

6. Keep it away from light

As robust as wine can be, it’s also delicate so not only must you control the temperature, you must also pay attention to light, especially sunlight. Darkness is crucial because UV rays can cause wine to spoil and have a negative impact on the tannins contained in wine.

7. Don't keep it upright

It may look great to store your bottles upright (especially with some of the fabulous wine labels around these days) but it’s not ideal for long-term storage. Bottles with corks should be stored on their sides to ensure that the cork always stays in contact with the wine.

8. Don’t let your wine cellar dry out

Temperature. Tick. Darkness. Tick. But have you considered humidity? We recommend keeping your cellar humidity between 50% to 70%. If it’s too dry, the corks will dry out and introduce air into the bottle, thereby spoiling it.

9. Not all wine is designed for ageing

When it comes to wine, a lot of people think that all wine gets better with age but this is not entirely true. A lot of wine will decline in quality after a few years and wines that improve over the long-term (beyond 10 years) are rare so when choosing wine for your cellar, it’s good to keep this in mind and organize your cellar accordingly.

And if you’re a big fan of Burgundy wine, then you’re in luck! Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are famous for their ageing potential and some can be cellared for a decade or more.

10. Choosing the right location

If you haven’t been blessed with a cool, not-too-damp underground cellar or ‘cave’ as they say in French, you can improvise with some simple racks in a safe place. The best locations are either in the coolest part of your house or underground. And if this isn’t possible, another alternative is to look into a wine fridge, especially for those extra special bottles from Burgundy!

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