You may have an excellent collection of wines from your recent trips, and you want to know how you can store them.
Know that building a good collection of bottles, in the beginning, can be challenging. It takes a considerable amount of effort, money, time, and other resources to ensure you have what you’re looking for.
You need to invest in a climate-controlled cellar that is essential for storage. Without this, you may find that your precious bottles will lose their taste and value over time. Before you know it, you are left with a useless bottle that does not contain the promised taste of sauvignon blanc, and you may as well throw them all out.
So, how do you create the best conditions for storage? And if you decide to make a cellar, will this be an easy process?
If you want to know more about building proper storage and the perfect conditions to store your champagne, then you’re on the right page. You will also have an idea about the cost-effective ways on how you can save your wine bottles for special occasions.
Why Wines Need Proper Storage?
Once the contents of the bottle are exposed to oxygen, they quickly lose their flavors. The spoilage of aerobic organisms and the oxidation process begins to take place once the bottle has been opened.
However, know that the unopened barrels or bottles are also sensitive to the environment’s temperature and humidity. Some of the factors that can affect the quality and taste are the following:
Artificial light or direct sunlight can spoil the wine. This process is possible because the phenolic compounds in white or red wines react to sunlight. The ones with a higher chance of spoiling in direct sunlight include rosés, champagne, and sparkling wines. This is why they are usually contained in tinted glassware. Read more about champagne here: https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-champagne-1328734.
Hot temperatures can affect wines, and they are going to age faster. Typically, you need at least 50 to 59-degree F or 10 to 15-degree C of constant temperature to provide the ideal storage conditions. It would be best if you had the environment to be cool but not too cold because freezing can damage the cork, contents, and the bottle.
The optimal humidity that you need in the cellar is around 50%. Others may prefer 70%, depending on the kind of bottles that they are storing. In these levels, the corks don’t dry out, and exposure to oxygen is prevented. However, too much of this factor can be an ideal environment for mold spores to grow, and this is where you should tread carefully. Don’t let the labels become smudged as well.
Sudden vibrations and movements can stir sediments. Even the louder sounds can cause the bottles to lose their aroma, become sweet-tasting, and less acidic. You need to protect your valuable wines from environmental factors and selecting spaces like the ones in the basements can minimize the bottles’ environmental impact.
Tips to Remember when it comes to Wine Storage
1. Determine the Right Temperature and Maintain It
You need to store the bottles at an optimal temperature of 13 degrees Celsius. However, know that this is not the only ideal temperature for red wines, white wines, rose, and more. These different varieties have various needs that you should follow. For example, champagne needed cooler temperature zones while red wines should have a temperature that’s about 53 to 66-degree Fahrenheit.
However, you should be careful with the storage. This is because any temperature similar to the freezing point or above 20-degree C would spoil the bottles’ contents. It would be best if you stored it with a long-term plan in mind. If you’re waiting for the maturity dates, know that your kitchen countertop is not an option as well as your standard refrigerators. Wine racks located in a warm room are also not the ideal places where you should store your precious Pinot Noir bottles.
Know that too many fluctuations can ruin the taste, color, and quality of the wine. Avoid taking a bottle out of the store often and always put them at a constant temperature. Once a bottle has been opened, you need to consume it as soon as possible.
2. Use Wine Refrigerators Units and not the Regular Fridge
Many companies offer refrigerator units that were exclusively made for wines, and you should check them out. You can install the wine cellar cooling unit in the basement where there is less sunlight and vibrations. Some of the reasons why you should seek out these kinds of companies are the following:
- The regular freezer units can maintain a temperature of below 4-degree Celsius, which is about 39-degree Fahrenheit. This will freeze the wine and prevent the natural aging process from happening.
- Once the contents of the bottle freeze, the cork begins to be pushed out from its seal and the bottle. As a result, the drink is going to be exposed to oxygen, causing oxidation to begin.
- The humidity levels in a regular refrigerator fluctuate as goods are taken out and going in. This happens in just 24-hours, and this can affect the quality of the wine.
- Proximity and exposure to other beverages and food can cause cross-contamination, which many are not keen on experiencing.
If you are looking into long-term storage, you need to invest in an excellent cellar and refrigerator. You need a space where hot air can’t quickly get in, and insulation is installed.
3. Horizontal Storage
You need to store the bottles horizontally so that the corks are going to be moist. This will prevent oxygen from getting in and mixing with the drinks. This way, you’ll also avoid your Chenin Blanc from spoiling.
If you have a more extensive collection, you can get horizontal wine storage to save you some space. But if you have the varieties where the bottle caps were made up of plastic or metal, the good news is that you can store them as you see fit.
4. Protect Bottles from Too Many Vibrations
If you have a proper cellar from an older home that you have bought, then congratulations! However, if you decide to build one from scratch, know that vibrations should be avoided in the cellar at all costs. Even louder sounds and small movements that cause unnecessary vibrations can make a difference in the process of aging.
Even if you’ve built a soundproofed cellar, your wine collection isn’t necessarily safe from vibrations. If you live near highways or subways, you may want to give extra attention to the movements around the environment.
If you need more space, you may want to cover the bottles with bubble wrap or Styrofoam and place this somewhere you rarely use. You should also avoid picking and moving them too much as they can lose flavor afterwards.
5. Maintaining the Right Humidity Levels
Wine lovers from as early as 6000 BC have known to store their wines in intriguing places. They treasure the liquor, and since refrigeration was not yet a thing in the past, you can find some storages in wine caves, terracotta jugs, underground rooms, and a lot more.
Nowadays, a modern cellar may not look too dramatic as it was in history. Still, you’ll be able to recreate the same temperature conditions, including maintaining a cool and humid environment.
They may want to keep some pans of water down into the cellar for homeowners who live in drier regions. Sprinkle will help with the dryness of the cellar. In more humid countries, installing a dehumidifier can immensely help many homeowners in the long run.
6. Install the Ideal Amount of Light Possible
You may decide to drink a specific bottle within a few days of purchasing it. Even if you’re going to consume the liquor in a short time, you should still try to place it in an area where it can’t be reached by direct sunlight.
Cover the champagne with towels or place them inside cartons. If you don’t have a cellar yet, you may want to prefer the fixtures that generate a low amount of heat, like LED lights. These have lower intensities, and they have low-voltage sconces on the walls. When you want to store them for the long haul, you need to stow them from a place where any artificial or strong natural sunlight can reach them.
7. Storage of Open Bottles
You need to decrease the times that you’re opening the bottles. If you wish to enjoy a refreshing afternoon with the sound of Pinot Noir splashing on the glasses, then that’s fine. However, it’s best to finish the bottle in a day so that you won’t compromise the quality.
Ensure that you have the right accessories with you, including decanters, bottle openers, and stemware on the racks. If you can’t finish the bottle with your friend, you need to seal it tightly before putting this into the cellar again. What you can do are the following:
- Cover the corks with the help of wax paper so they can go back to their original places
- Use rubber stoppers if possible, especially if you are faced with damaged or missing corks
- Vacuum pumps can be helpful if you want to suck out all the air inside the opened bottle.
Once you’ve successfully removed the air and closed your champagne, you may want to put it into the same humidity and cool temperature where you’ve found it before. You should customize the storage space depending on the kind of bottles you want to store for a long time.
Where to Find Storage?
If you have a small cluster of wines, racks may be the best solution that you should try. These are considered freestanding, wall-mount, and stackable installations that you’ll be able to place on your countertop or tabletop. You may find various designs for vertical and horizontal storage. Simple racks can be priced at $4 apiece for each bottle.
Advantages of a Rack
Racks are one of the simplest available storage options out there. They can be made from wood or steel, and they can be interesting additions to your home decors. This can be inexpensive, and you wouldn’t need professionals when you try to install this. You can browse more storage articles on this site here.
You won’t have to contact the professionals upon installation, and you can place this in the dining rooms or living rooms so you can move this around frequently.
You won’t control the humidity of the room temperature when you don’t install some cooling units. However, know that the wine racks are incapable of any control with regards to cooling. This is why this is not ideal for storage that’s for the long-term.
Modified Cellars or Rooms
If you’re an enthusiast or someone ambitious enough to build your room for a few hundred bottles of collection, now may be the right time to start thinking of a few options. You can create a modified room in the basement’s damp and cool space, or this can be built under the stairs.
Recreate some of the storage conditions of some of the rooms in your house. Some of the rooms can range from $10,000 to $100,000 if there are tasting rooms included.
You may want to stick with the amount of $300 to $600 per square foot during the cellar construction. Other factors that can affect the costs include the cooling units, designs, overhead lights, capacity, doors wall, insulation, racks, and floors.
Advantages of Cellars
You can find a perfect condition where temperature and humidity were set right. This is ideal for your collection since you will be using a room that won’t be used anywhere else. This will ensure that the bottles will be untouched, and you can contribute to their maturity.
Some of the costs that you should be prepared to look into are the costs and space. You should be prepared to spend more if you want to build something for the long-term. You may want to have technical knowledge when you want to maintain the ideal conditions of temperature and humidity.