The ideal wine cellar is
roomy, airy, dark and is free from
vibration. Its a crisp, consistent
12 degrees Celsius inside, with 45%
Of course, most people simply dont
have the space or resources to construct
a perfectly controlled cellar. As
an alternative, consider a cupboard,
a closet or a basement, and try to
meet as many of these criteria as
A cool (between 10-14 degrees Celsius)
storage area is best; although, wine
can survive in environments up to
24 degrees Celsius.
More important than the actual temperature
is the consistency of temperature.
Abrupt changes in temperature can
ruin a wine.
In general, red wines are less susceptible
to heat damage than white wines.
Make sure you give your cellar proper
ventilation. Too little, and the air
turns stale and musty air that
eventually permeates the cork and
imparts a mouldy taste to your wine.
Wines need some humidity to blossom
and keep the cork from drying out.
Too much humidity wont harm
The less light, the better. Long term
light exposure damages wine, and can
bake or oxidize whats in the
bottle. Coloured glass bottles offer
some protection, but total darkness
is ideal for long term storage.
Place your wines in a rack or on a
shelf away from vibrations that agitate
and age wine prematurely.
Always store still and sparkling wines
on their sides. This keeps the cork
from drying out, which allows air
to seep past and spoil the wine. In
the case of sparkling wines, the bubbly
carbon dioxide can be released, leaving
the wine flat.
Fortified wines, with the exception
of vintage port, and spirits closed
with corks should be placed standing
up. The alcohol can seep through the
cork in these situations. Also stand
any wine closed with plastic/metal
stoppers or screw caps to avoid possible
Store your white and sparkling wines
on the lower, cooler shelves. Reds
are stored on the shelves above. Fortified
wines and spirits are best suited
for the top shelves.
THE AGE OF WINES
Wines come in all sorts of aging categories.
Some improve with age, while many
others are ready to drink as soon
as theyre bottled. Take care
in aging wines. A quality wine can
take decades to grow or mature; however,
wait too long and some wines fall
Vintage charts can be a real help.
These general guides describe specific
wines, and can include taste analysis
and an overview of aging potential.
Look for charts in wine magazines,
books, newspapers and on the Internet.