Updated: Feb 21, 2020
Wine storage is very important for the wine industry, there are many companies out there who specialize in this field, which is why Priam has decided to partner with Elite Wine Refrigeration to bring you some of the key points to consider if you want to store wine correctly.
Although most wine is purchased to be consumed within the first week or so, there is a huge interest in the USA and the UK for investing in wine which is why companies like Elite Wine Refrigeration and other companies like Cult Wines exist. Wine storage is a crucial part of your wine investment or just enjoying a bottle of your favorite Priam Vineyards wine several years from now. Storing wine correctly will determine the overall value of a wine when it comes to being resold or when you just want to enjoy it with friends.
Incorrect storage of your wine can be detrimental to the value and of course the taste of the wine, for example one of the most important storage factors is the temperature your wine is stored at which is discussed below.
Keep your wine stored at a constant temperature
When storing your wine in an underground wine cellar, the typical mean temperature usually tends to remain at around 12°C or 48 F all year round. It was the early cellars mainly in France and Italy that showed the world the value of a cool and dry storage area. The walls will insulate the cellar throughout the winter and then keep it cool during the summer.
Bottles of wine should always be stored at a steady temperature to enable and allow the chemical reactions inside the bottle to occur naturally. All types of wine as well as sparkling wines should be stored at 12°C. Quite often people tend to make the same old mistake that different types of wine should be stored at different temperatures. The temperature differences for white and reds should be observed when you drink the wines not when you store them.
For example, if you were to store red wines at between 16-20°C (64-70F) for many years this could and would rush the aging process of the bottle, not allowing the wine to fully develop. Warmer temperatures make the reactions happen much quicker and this can in turn sour the wine. Likewise, with white and sparkling wines, storing them at lower temperatures can also the development of the wine as the temperature becomes too cold for the reactions to occur.
Light poses a major risk in terms of how it can damage a decent bottle of wine; although the glass bottle protects the wine, it doesn’t necessary cut this risk of the wine getting damaged from too much prolonged exposure to light.
Bar, restaurant and deli window displays are just a handful of the risk areas where a bottle of wine can become easily damaged over time. With red wines for example, they can gradually discolor and lose the deep red color. Our favorite example is to see people proudly displaying their best wines under bright lights so you can see the important label of year.
UV light can and will also affect the taste as long periods of exposure to light can affect the natural reactions occurring inside the bottle. UV light increases the internal temperature of the bottle and this is what will speed up the overall aging of the wine.
For anyone who doesn’t have their own wine cellar, a wine cooler makes great financial sense as an investment to help to preserve your valued wines in the best possible way.
Wine coolers either have a solid door, able to block out any UV light being able to enter the cabinet or a UV treated glass door. This tends to be a great deal more aesthetically pleasing than solid door options. Regardless of which type of cooler / cabinet you choose, they will help no end in being able to prevent the aging of the wine.
The third area we are going to cover in this first part of our blog is maintaining the Humidity of your wine storage area. The humidity in the storage area is another area which is key in terms of how you store your wines. Doing this in the correct way can help to prevent any unnecessary oxidization.
In a wine cellar the humidity levels are relatively constant at between 65 and 85%. This has no effect on the wine itself but needs to be managed correctly to ensure your wine doesn’t end up damaged.
By contrast, having air that is too dry can also damage your wine as this will in turn dry your cork out. The cork of a wine is a natural substance and you need to ensure as best as possible you keep the cork as best preserved as possible. Priam Vineyards has chosen to bottle all of our wines in a 25-year-old organic closure made of Sugar cane. This closure does not have the many problems that are part of “corking” yet allow the wine to age and breathe like corks do. If this happens the corks seal will be lost, allowing air to be drawn into the bottle. This will lead to the oxidization of the wine before it has even been opened. A dried-out cork can also lead to the wine leaking out of the bottle.
By contrast, if there is too much humidity, the excess water vapor can lead to the growth of mould. The presence of mould can spoil the label that can therefore decrease the value of the wine. This should be taken into consideration for anyone looking to buy wine as an investment.
As you can see storing wine can be done simply and with an eye toward a few areas you can maintain and even improve the quality of your wine as well as its long-term drinkability. In the next blog we will talk about a good wine cooler company Elite Wine Refrigeration that has a great selection. Thank you for taking the time to learn about preserving the quality of your wine!
Movement & Vibrations
When a bottle of wine is being stored in a cellar, it is very rare the bottle will incur any vibration unless the cellar is adjacent to a built-up area. This is because wines are best left untouched as vibrations can disturb the aging process. The vibrations can over time cause the wines to separate into layers of heavier and lighter elements. When wines are originally made they experience a lot of shock and movement. This is called Bottle Shock in the industry and actually can take 2-6 weeks to settle down or regain its quality. The movie Bottle Shock is an actual story of that.
Older bottles of wine tend to be very sensitive to vibrations and some of the new world wines are now much hardier than before. A regular fridge isn’t suitable for storage of wine as it will also incur some vibration and no doubt the bottles will be moved around regularly to make way for the weekly shop which is why we recommend a wine cooler for storage of wine in a kitchen.
Odors is another key area which needs to be remembered when it comes to wine storage. Although a wine bottle is sealed, there is still the risk that odors can get to the cork of which can actually sour the wine – something no one wants if they may have stored wines over a long, extensive period of time. It would be such a shame to open a flat wine that you would have been looking forward to drinking for such a long time.
Wine coolers come with charcoal filters which make the air as pure as possible within the cabinet. To ensure best use, it is advised the door is only opened every now and again so the wine is refrigerated as best as possible. Opening the door regularly will mean the conditions then need to controlled again as new odors may have got into the cooler.
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