Interested in starting a wine collection? You don’t have to build an epic wine cellar, but there are definitely some things one must keep in mind when ageing wines. If you’re considering long term ageing for high end wines, you may want to look into professional storage; but, if you’re just looking to create a small stock for short term ageing without taking it to that level, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Do your homework – will it age well? Not all wines benefit from age. Certain wines are known for their ageing potentials, such as Bordeaux, Riesling, or Burgundy, but most wines are actually more enjoyable within a few years of release. So carpe diem, don’t set aside a decade for just any bottle.
- Cool, consistent climate is the name of the game. Temperatures greater than 70 degrees will have a negative effect on a wine’s ageing potential, and temperatures that are too low can dry out the cork or even push the cork out. Avoiding drastic temperature changes is also key – wines like a stable environment to age gracefully. Normal temperature fluctuation is not a concern – only dramatic hot to cold conditions are going to cause an issue.
- Keep your wine away from light. Sunlight is the real culprit for harming wine while it ages, so keep your wine where it won’t be in the sun. Household bulbs won’t harm the wine, but if you’re concerned about keeping the labels in pristine condition, regular bulbs could fade the label.
- Ideally, wine should be stored somewhere with between 50%-80% humidity. You don’t want the area to be too damp, as these conditions could allow mold to grow, but having a level of humidity keeps the corks from drying out.
- Make sure your bottles are horizontal. Not only do those wine racks look nice, they’re practical. Wine is best kept on its side, to avoid the cork from drying out, and most importantly, to save space so you may keep more wine.
If you have a basement in your home that is a cool, steady temperature, you’ve got yourself a semi decent cellar already. If not, avoid rooms that are often hot – ie: the kitchen or laundry room, or areas that are well lit like the living room with bay windows. Perhaps you have a closet downstairs that you’ve been meaning to clean out? Now could be the time.