6 June, 2014
Fine wines can lose their magic if not stored properly. We at Grover Zampa do our best to educate distributors and stockists about proper wine storage techniques. Simple precautions need to be taken to ensure your wines retain their beauty.
Here are some tip and tricks for you:
Direct sunlight and Ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause the wine to be ‘light struck’, picking an unpleasant smell. Dark bottles are ideal; some even have UV filters in the glass but light can still penetrate, so protection is a must. If complete darkness is not possible, keep it lightly wrapped up in a cloth or a box. Exposure to incandescent or sodium vapour lamps is however not harmful.
Store all wines away from light
If they are stored upright for a long period of time, the corks will dry out, and air will eventually get to the wine, spoiling it. If you store it label side up, it’ll be easier to spot any sediments that may have formed in the wine over time when you do eventually pick it up.
Store corked wine bottles on their sides
For extended ageing of wine (over 1 year), refrigeration is a must in most parts of the world; even a below-ground cellar is not cool enough.
Wine storage temperature should never go over 24°C as it begins to oxidise. An ideal temperature for storing a varied wine collection is 10-15°C. Letting the temperature drop below 10°C will slow down the ageing process if the temperature doesn’t fluctuate drastically.
The temperature in a wine storage area should be as steady as possible. Changes should be gradual. Rise in temperature forces wine through the cork while a drop causes air to be sucked back in. The temperature should never fluctuate more than 1.6°C a day and 2.7°C a year, especially with red wines, which will suffer more temperature-related problems than white wines.
Keep the temperature constant
If possible, store in such a way that minimum movement is required to reach a bottle to drink. Try not to move a bottle at all once it is stored. Even vibrations from heavy traffic, motors or generators may affect the wine negatively.
Keep the humidity at around 70%. High humidity keeps the cork from drying and minimises evaporation. Don’t allow the humidity to go too high over 70%, however, because it can encourage the growth of mold and cause labels to loosen. You can purchase a hygrometer to track the moisture conditions and use humidifying or dehumidifying techniques as needed.
Isolate the wine. Remember that wine “breathes”. Keep it away from strong smells as they will permeate the cork and taint the wine. Good ventilation may help prevent musty odours from entering the wine.
Store for an appropriate amount of time. Not all wines improve over time. Red wines can be stored and aged for anywhere between 2-10 years (depending on the type and the balance of sugar, acid and tannins). Most white wines should be consumed after 2-3 years of storage. However, select White Burgundies (Chardonnays) can be aged for over 20 years.
Don’t move the wine
Leftover wines should be refrigerated immediately and consumed within a day or two. Minimise air contact by replacing the original cork, or better still, use a vacuum-type stopper. This keeps the wine in good condition for up to a week with only slight deterioration.