Top Tips for Proper Wine Storage
If wine is stored at higher temperatures, its natural development is accelerated.Fred Flintstone could have been one of the lucky ones. Had the home of the world''s original cartoon caveman been underground, it would have been perfectly suited to wine storage: a dark, dank cave ideal for allowing the liquid inside his precious bottles to age at exactly the right pace.
But like Fred, most of us aren''t fortunate enough to to be able to keep our wine stored beneath the earth. Genuine wine cellars are rare, and while professional storage is an option, it''s inconvenient if you want to grab a couple of bottles of delicately aged 1990 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou when the boss unexpectedly drops in.
So what are the alternatives? Keeping ten or 15 bottles of booze in a simple wooden wine rack within spitting distance of the dining room table seems to do the job for the vast majority of us. But if you are a bit vehement about keeping your vino in good health, there are far better ways.
In fact, all too often people tend to keep expensive wine on display, gazing at it often as they wonder when to finally open it. Unfortunately, when they finally to get around to the uncorking ? or unscrewing, as is often the case these days ? they find it ruined.
Wine that has been sitting on top of the fridge in a wooden wine rack, vibrating and getting hot, is often not drinkable. And if you are spending $20 on a bottle or more, even $200 and up, it just doesn''t make sense not to store it properly.
Top Tips for Storing Wine Correctly
* Wine storage began in underground caves which allowed wine to age at the right pace. Today, wine should be stored at conditions that reflect those grottoes: about 11-12 degrees centigrade with 55-75% relative humidity. If wine is stored at higher temperatures, its natural development is accelerated.
* In fact, the most crucial aspect about storing wine is heat fluctuations, especially excessive heat. You need a fairly constant temperature, ideally about 11-12 degrees.
* Light can also affect wine, which optimally should be stored in the dark. Slightly damp conditions are best, as an atmosphere that is too dry can be detrimental. In fact, a very dry or humid environment can make the corks dry out.
* Avoid putting those bottles of precious vino next to pipes, radiators and any type of heating vent, and whatever you do, keep all bottles away from the sun. Think of wine as a fine painting: when left in direct sunlight, its value begins to fade.
* Experts say that after heat, the next biggest cause of damage to wine is lights. Keep wine away from any extreme light sources, such as big bay windows or halogen lamps.
Keeping Things Cool ? At Home
If you have time, space, budget and energy to invest in the right wine storage system, remember that this will also depend on a number of external factors ? some of which may be out of your control, such as budget and space. How many bottles you wish to store is also of paramount importance.
Your own personal requirements will dictate whether you''re looking to buy a sophisticated refrigerated cooling system for your kitchen, install a series of wine hives in your storage room, or convert a basement or garage into a fully equipped wine cellar.
Prices for good quality coolers depend largely on size. These redesigned fridges keep your wine at a higher temperature with altered humidity levels, they are also built to minimize vibration. More gimmicky ones have multi-temperature zones, enabling you to keep your full-bodied reds and sweet whites at varying temperatures.
For most of us such a fridge is more than adequate, as your average wine lover has no interest in storing more than 200 bottles at home. But if you like to entertain - and have extra room and loads of cash ? coolers are available that will comfortably store up to ? wait for it ? 1,000 bottles.
Professional Wine Storage
If you do want to keep your bottles off-site, especially if you are interested in re-selling them at a later date or leaving them to your grandchildren in 30 years'' time, then professional wine storage may be your best bet. Many companies these days provide private customers with professional cellarage facilities, with most wines insured at their full replacement value.
For a closer-to-home solution, a personal wine cellar is best. Wine enthusiasts have been known to convert everything from garages to cellars to disused backyard bomb shelters into personal wine cellars, although if it''s not underground, expect to install a special air-conditioning system as well as some type of irrigation mechanism, to control the humidity.
If you want to build an underground cellar from scratch yourself, experts say going as deep in the soil as possible will make the biggest difference. When you reach a certain level underground you get a constant temperature, and materials such as brick and cement are very good for a slow temperature exchange. This is important as wine doesn''t like to be shocked. It can''t be one temperature one day and another temperature the next, or you''ll know it.
Going underground isn''t as hard as you may think. Some companies can install a prefabricated wine cellar in a garage, storage room, extension or underneath any home where there is a 2.50 meter space to excavate. Cellars come with waterproof liners and a cooling system can be installed as well, if needed.
But if you can''t afford anything too fancy, make use of what you already have. An old chimney breast is often a good idea, as the temperature in the fireplace for medium-term storage is very good. It will also protect your wine from light.
Visit our friends at Grotto Cellars to find more info on wine storage and a large selection of modular wine racks to compliment your wine collection. http://www.grottocellars.com
In addition, you''ll want to make sure that your wine bottles are all stored on the side ? what this does is keep the wine touching the cork, which prevents air from getting in and messing with the quality of the wine. As far as storage, if you don''t have a wine cellar, consider buying a wine cooler ? you can even install these in your kitchen. Ever wanted to have a kegerator next to your fridge? Well there''s no reason you can''t. Get in touch with some local contractors, get some quotes and references, and start remodeling.
Granite Transformations is a green remodeling company that provides a customer satisfaction guarantee on all their services, which includes installing granite showers, counter overlays, tiling, bathroom remodeling etc. Find more tips and articles at the Granite Transformations Blog.