Wine is a living product which evolves with time.
A number of rules must be followed in order to protect wine in an optimal manner, thus protecting and conserving its intrinsic aromatic and taste qualities.
Following them will allow you to enjoy better wine, for longer.
Here are 10 practical tips on where and how to store or cellar your wine properly.
1- Temperature must be kept cool and constant
To reach its prime, wine must mature in very precise atmospheric conditions: at a constant temperature of 12° C, whatever the season.
Wine does not react well to temperature change, and matures better if it matures slowly, and a temperature of around 12° C is perfect for this.
2- High humidity rate
Wine requires an atmospheric humidity level of 70 %. Below this, the cork could dry out, thus letting oxygen into the bottle, with risk of premature oxidation.
On the other hand, a high level of hygrometry – over 80% – could lead to damage to, or detachment of, labels.
3- No direct light
Wine must not be exposed to direct sunlight.
UV rays can lead to the development of an undesirable aromatic mask on the wine, known as the “taste of light”. UV rays provoke breakdown of tannins.
If not equipped with a wine cellar or cabinet, choose a dark room for wine storage and avoid any kind of bright, direct lighting, such as neon lighting.
4- No vibrations
Wine must not be exposed to vibrations.
Vibrations break down the molecules in some of the chemical compounds found in wine.
Avoid, for example, keeping wine next to a washing machine, and when choosing a wine cabinet, check the manufacturer’s engagement to reduce vibration. In a natural cellar, cover the floor with gravel, for enhanced stability.
5- An odour-free environment
Wine should be kept away from strong odours, in a well-ventilated atmosphere, with regular air renewal.
Wine can be affected by odours. Avoid putting wine in a musty room or in an ill-smelling location, such as an oil boiler or laundry cupboard. Also, avoid keeping wine in damp boxes.
6- Lay bottles flat
A bottle of wine with a natural cork must be kept in horizontal position.
This way, the cork stays damp, “swells” naturally when in contact with the liquid, and adheres to the wall of the bottle, thus preventing contact between wine and the outside air.
7- Prefer magnums
Wine evolves more or less quickly and optimally in relation to the size of the container.
The bigger the bottle, the better the maturing process.
The lower the oxygen to wine quantity ratio, the better the maturing process. Prefer magnums for vintages kept for ten years or over, and we do not recommend choosing half bottles – or “fillettes” – which tend to oxidise very fast.
8- Choosing the right cellar
A natural cellar or wine cabinet? Choice obviously depends on availability, or not, of a well-adapted room, offering the conservation conditions listed above. If this is not the case, which is very likely for those living in an urban environment, you may choose a wine-cabinet.
Created over forty years ago by French group EuroCave, wine-cabinets provide optimal conservation conditions for wine. Ever more efficient and offering modern design and style, the wine-cabinet is available in several formats and will fit easily into any home, bringing a wine-friendly touch to the interior!
There are several types of wine-cabinets: wine maturing cabinets (designed to mature wine), wine serving cabinets (wine kept at ideal serving temperature) and multifunction wine cabinets (a combination of the two features).
9- An updated cellar book…
As the cellar fills and investment is made on Grand Cru wines, a cellar book will become a necessary tool!
The cellar book lists references in the cellar, and facilitates stock management and bottle selection, for optimal tasting pleasure of wines in their prime.
10… or, an efficient mobile application
Today, several high performance application tools provide a virtual cellar book, directly on your smart phone.
Depending on the supplier, they are either free of charge or for purchase.
These wine apps simplify the search for bottles and assist the user in establishing a cellar map, for quick and efficient location of wines.
Some applications even include a notification, which informs the user when wines have reached their prime, as well as a tool to share tasting notes and comments, via social media.
Learn more with our Top 10 Best Wine Apps for 2018