Most households do not have, or need, a
special wine cellar but it is still worth paying attention to how your
wine is stored and and where you place your wine rack. If you always
drink the wine within a few weeks of purchasing it, a small rack can be
placed anywhere that isn't too hot or in bright light, but if you tend
to keep even some of your bottles longer it is worth trying to achieve
the best storage conditions you can.
Most homes have a few areas that will
provide reasonable wine storage conditions. Possible spots include the
area under the stairs, a hall cupboard, an unused fireplace or a
basement. Rooms with fluctuating temperature, such as kitchens, are not
suitable. Table wines and ports should be stored lying down so that the
cork remains moist. Only wines with metal caps are stored upright.
How Wine Ages ?
Each wine is meant to be drunk at a
certain age, when its flavor will be fullest. Wine that hasn't reached
this stage or is past its best will inevitably be a disappointment. The
conditions in which wine is stored affect how quickly it will age.
Ageing should progress at a certain rate. If the storage conditions are
not right, the wine will age too quickly, but premature ageing doesn't
mean the wine is ready to drink sooner - it ruins it - and keeping a
wine chilled below the optimum temperature just prevents it ageing
properly and reaching its full potential.
Temperature is the most important factor
when storing wine. A cool, stable temperature of 10-12 degrees
Centigrade can be stored between 5 and 18 degrees without adverse
effect. It is most damaging if the temperature fluctuates rapidly as
this causes the wine to expand and contract, eventually damaging the
cork. Even wines meant to be drunk chilled should not be kept in the
refrigerator for more than a few days.
Light can increase the ageing process in
wine and so wine should be kept in a dark place. Certainly avoid bright
light, and don't store wine close to a window. Wine in light colored
bottles is most affected, and sparkling wines are more susceptible than
Moderate humidity is best for storing
wine, for although the humidity will not affect the wine itself, too
little (below about 50 per cent) will dry out the cork. High humidity is
less damaging to the wine but it can cause the labels to rot and make it
impossible to identify your wines.
Some vine authorities believe wines are
affected by vibration and so should be stored where they will not be
disturbed or subjected to vibrations such as those caused by passing
road traffic, low-flying planes or even very loud noises.
Wine can absorb odors through the cork so
don't store it in a place where there are strong odors or food that may