Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Storing Your Wine

What are the best conditions for storing your wine? Well, the points listed should give you a good idea as to what works best.

* Make it DARK: light makes wine age more quickly. Excessive exposure to light can even produce an undesirable taste in the wine.

* Store it HUMID: to keep corks from drying out (which can lead to seepage and oxidation), your cellar should ideally have between 80% and 90% humidity. Putting gravel on the floor will keep you from walking in the puddles that can form from the humidity. Be aware that in a very humid cellar, the labels of your prized wines may get moldy or deteriorated. To avoid having them slip off when they rub against other bottles, make sure when you stack your bottles that the labels do not touch each other.

* Have a CONSTANT TEMPERATURE: ideal cellar temperature for optimal (slow, consistent) aging is 12-13°C (around 53-55°F). If you can't keep your cellar that cool, at least shoot for a CONSTANT temperature that is as close to those ideal temperatures as possible. Large fluctuations in temperature make wine age prematurely, as do hot temperatures which, if hot enough, can "cook" your wines and ruin them.

* Keep it FREE OF VIBRATIONS: putting your wine on your massage chair and setting it to high is not a good idea.

* No ODORS : don't sore your wine in the garage. The odors of gasoline can easily penetrate through the corks and into the wine. Don't store garlicky sausage or other strong-smelling foods in your cellar for the same reason.

If your cellar or storage space does not have ideal humidity or temperature, there are many air conditioning/humidifier units available. Another option is storing your wine in one of the many wine refrigerators (armoires) that are available. They will keep your wine at the optimal, constant temperature and humidity.

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