If you are reading this it is because you are passionate about good wine and you want to enjoy it in all its expression, either alone, with your family or with your guests.
Surely you already have a small wine cellar and now you want to get answers to the questions we ask ourselves when it comes to preserving our wines.
The first thing you should know is that wine is a living drink . It changes over time from the moment it is bottled.
The second is that external factors play an important role in its proper development.
Important factors in wine conservation
Take note of the most prominent conservation factors. Meeting each parameter is not always feasible, but at least try to get as close as possible to the advice given by the experts.
A good environment is a dark, quiet place that is free from shaking, noise, or odors. Air currents will not do well, but a healthy ventilation with an optimal humidity and, particularly, with a constant temperature between 12 and 16 ° C .
Remember that too high a temperature will make the wine age too quickly and will break down certain aromas. Too low a temperature can cause the wine to crystallize and destroy the aromas.
The sudden changes in temperature will do both at the same time, which means that the wine will be destroyed gradually.
Humidity also plays a crucial role in the development of the wine and should be between 70% and 80% .
Most of the bottles have natural cork. This comes from the cork oak, which makes the cork “live”.
An environment too dry dry and reduce the cork bottle closure. This will allow small amounts of wine to escape and oxidize it, freeing the way for bacteria to attack it.
On the other hand, if the environment is too humid , the cork can rot after a while. This can have the same effect as a cork that is too dry.
Due to the small microscopic holes in the cap, air can leak into the bottle. If there are odors around the cellar for a while, they can enter and destroy the wine.
This is not a problem for wines that must be drunk quickly, but it is a problem for those that we keep as true treasures or intend to let them age for longer.
Avoid direct and intense light
Light triggers many reactions in nature. It also does it in wine. For this reason, the classic bottles are colored in a dark tone.
To use a specific case, it is not advisable to use a lamp of more than 40 watts in the basement.
How to organize the winery?
An ideal wine cellar must, first of all, have enough space to accommodate the amount of wine that is drunk.
Bottles should always be easy to reach and catalog. In addition, it is advisable not to mix the wines .
Due to the difference in temperature, it is better to classify red wine at the top and can also be grouped by wines that need to be drunk quickly and those that will have to stay there for some time or for a different taste.
If you are a true wine lover and have space, it is good to divide your cellar into parts so that the red wine stays a few degrees warmer than white wine or champagne.
Finally, you can equip your cellar with a thermometer and a hydrometer to control temperature and humidity and, where appropriate, correct possible anomalies using ventilation systems.
A general rule of thumb: the wine should be kept lying down so that the cork remains moist and so that it does not dry out quickly.
This is so, except for sparkling wines, which must be kept vertically, since the carbonic content itself helps to keep the cork moistened.
Always for the sake of minimal handling, bottles should be stored with the label facing up, with the base facing into the bottle rack to allow immediate reading.
Conservation times: when should you drink the wine?
Wine has an evolution quite comparable to that of people . It goes through a phase of youth, enters adulthood, ages more or less well, and then dies.
The peak date can be compared to that of adulthood. It is during this period, during which the wine is perfectly ripe and blooming, that the greatest pleasure can be obtained from its tasting .
The storage times will therefore depend on its estimated useful life . In this sense we can distinguish wines of immediate consumption and of low, medium or long life.
In any case, you must take into account the storage conditions. In a wet cellar at a constant 12 ° C and totally dark, the wines age much more slowly than in a room at 15 ° C and a little dry.
There is no age limit on wine and some bottles over a hundred years old are still incredibly young.
Conservation systems: where is the wine kept?
Today there are many ways to improve performance for the bottles we have at home. If you have an isolated cellar, it would be enough with a rack that allows an adequate distribution.
Wine coolers are also a good alternative. They have a capacity of between 50 and 500 bottles and the best of all is that they incorporate a ventilation system to ensure optimum temperature and humidity.
There are two types of refrigerators :
- Refrigerators to store the wine that must age and that keep it continuously at a constant temperature.
- Refrigerators that have different compartments at different temperatures.
In summary , if you want to enjoy a good wine in your home, you must respect the criteria of temperature, humidity, absence of light and keep the bottle lying down and immobile in the basement.
In this way you can experience their tasting when they reach the maximum point of maturation. Health!