Just putting your wine in the cupboard under the stairs or on top of a kitchen unit might not be good enough. Here's why.
Why Do You Need to Store Wine Correctly?
To store wine properly, there are 5 simple rules that must be followed in order for the wine to mature, these conditions mimic the conditions of a traditional wine cellar. Although, how do you know for sure that these 5 conditions are achieved wherever you store your wine? This is where a professional wine cooler comes into play and we will explain to you how it reliably stores and age wine.
Ageing and Serving Temperatures
The recommended temperature for wine storage and ageing is between 10 – 14°C, 12°C is preferred as it’s the ideal temperature for the wine to start its ageing process and release the aromas that you want.
Why not any higher or lower you may ask? If the temperature is higher than 14°C, the ageing process is much faster because the heat will alter the chemical structures in wine, which will basically spoil your wine. If the temperature is too low, it inhibits the ageing process and won’t do anything to it at all. It is important that temperature must stay consistent for a long period of time too. For example, if you store wine in an unheated room, there will be fluctuation in temperatures can be caused by changing of seasonal temperatures. Therefore, to ensure the temperature does stay consistent, a high-quality wine cooler can definitely help with that as the majority of them operate between 5 – 18°C, as well as being able to cool reliably for many years to come.
Humidity may not be something you would even consider a factor when it comes to storage of wine, but it absolutely is crucial. Ideal humidity for storage is between 55 – 80%, because this will keep the cork moist and labels dry. Relative humidity is affected by ambient temperatures over a long period of time, this can be the changing ambient conditions in a house or a garage.
All wine coolers must be able to regulate humidity in the optimal range and should regulate itself automatically. If the humidity is too high, the labels will start to peel and encourage the growth of mould which can create bad odour.
If the humidity is too low, it will cause the cork to dry out – that means air is allowed into the bottle and oxidises the wine, creating unwanted flavours. Not only this, it can also shrink the cork, causing wine to leak out of the bottle.
A traditional wine cellar is often situated underground, where the wine is kept undisturbed for many years. This is because any vibrations will disturb the sediment of the wine which can lead to unwanted reactions within the wine. You may want to consider where to place your collection before you start a fine wine collection. if you currently store them on a rack where there is a lot of foot traffic, then it is recommended that you put it elsewhere! Professional wine coolers have features such as vibration free compressors and rubber mounted shelves to minimise as much vibrations as possible.
UV-rays From Natural Light
Having your wine bottles displayed on a rack can have some damaging effects, especially if direct sunlight reaches the bottle. UV-rays are very harmful to wine as it can damage or alter the chemicals in wine, meaning it will degrade and prematurely age wine.
The door of the wine cooler itself is either a solid door or glass door. The benefit of a having a solid door means it will protect your wine from UV rays completely, whereas the UV-treated glass door can block out the UV rays as well as looking aesthetically pleasing
Having clean and fresh air in the storage environment is again, also very important as odours can actually seep through the cork itself and can therefore contaminate the wine. A lot of wine fridges do feature an activated charcoal filter in the unit, it is responsible for eliminating any unpleasant odour – which takes us back to the scenario where the humidity levels are high and the growth of mould is likely, the charcoal filter will purify the air and prevent the wine breathing in the bad odours through the cork. Odours can even just come from simply cooking in the kitchen.
If the above conditions are not met, this will highly likely to affect the quality of your wine. So investing in a good wine cooler is one of the best wine storage solutions if you are looking to start a collection. A professional wine cooler should last over 10 years so what you buy is always an important factor as you would want a better return on investment. There is not much use if you buy a cheap unit that will last for 2 years and potentially damaging your wine.