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You are proud of your growing wine collection, enjoy light and rich white wines and adore the big bold flavours of red. You probably have some bottles in your collection that can be enjoyed now, and some that are being stored sideways - just waiting for the moment of perfection.
You have curated your wine cellar’s bounty and created a source of liquid pleasure to enjoy well into the future.
What’s more – you know “umami” when you taste it.
If that sounds like you - read on for some great insights into growing and keeping your wine collection at its peak.
One of the most important factors in successful long term storage is getting the temperature right and maintaining it without fluctuation. Additionally – humidity, light exposure and movement should be accounted for and managed to optimize outcomes.
According to vinfolio.com, the first thing you’ll need to do is figure out how much space you’ll need for your collection1 - both now and in the future. This will help guide you in determining where and how, you’ll want to store it.
They offer some steps to figure out how much space you’ll need. First - count up how many bottles you currently have and then estimate the number of bottles you will buy/store in future, then - add those together.
For up to 500 bottles: estimate 2.3 square metres with 2.75 metre high ceilings
For up to 1000 bottles: estimate 4.6 square metres with 2.75 metre high ceilings
For up to 1500 bottles: estimate 9.2 square metres with 2.75 metre high ceilings
From there you need to work out whether you want to go with professional wine storage services or to build or extend the ideal wine cellar. There are things to consider in either case. If you like your wine close at hand and are not concerned about the potential risk of a power outage or natural emergency, you may prefer a cellar. If you have a major collection, you might find that special inventory becomes a challenge to properly manage and care for. In that case, you may choose the services of professional offsite management and storage services. Frequently people have a combination of a temperature controlled modern wine fridge, a small cellar filled with treasures that can be enjoyed now, with the delicate or valuable bottles being managed in a facility by a trustworthy service.
Vinfolio.com goes on to advise that there is also another dimension to the placement of wine in your cellar. The wine you will drink soonest - should be kept closest to the door. Those being stored for five years should be towards the centre, while the long-term “holds” should be furthest from the door.
Cablewinesystems.com advises of a storage option called Wine Racking. Due to the spacing of the cables, it accommodates a variety of bottle shapes, ranging from 500 ml to 1500 ml. The streamlined, almost view-through structure of Cable Wine System allows for flexible placement of the bottles and also your labels are easy to view. The labels on the bottom bottles face-up and labels on the top bottles face down. There is a lot of airflow around the bottles and the necks of the bottles can be slightly angled down if you prefer2.
Broadly speaking, sweet wines and dry white wines are best stored from 4ᴼC – 10ᴼC. Whereas light to full scale red wines, do better at temperatures of 11ᴼC – 18ᴼC. Each varietal has a perfect storage temperature, so be sure to know what is needed and plan to store accordingly.
According to winebutler.ca, temperature is important to properly conserve your wine3. Excessive heat or cold can ruin your wine. Temperatures above 21ᴼC can age wines too quickly and extreme temps above that can even “cook” your wine. If you want to compromise by storing your red and white wines together, winebutler.ca says that the happy medium temperature in that case is 13ᴼC.
Winebutler.ca goes on to say that the right range of humidity is between 50% - 80%. You need humidity because you don’t want your corks to dry out. Of course, also make sure to store your wines sideways to keep the corks moist. For bottles that you intend to store for a lengthy period of time, you will need to consider the long term effect of higher humidity on the label.
According to finewinereserve.com, caring properly for an aging wine is both a science and an art4. Chemistry can work wonders with your wine, however the same chemistry can lay it to waste as vinegar. They say that wine should not be subjected to excessive amounts of light. The short wavelength in light breaks down the complex molecules that create the special flavours in well-aged wines. Some low lighting won’t hurt your wine, but do keep it out of the sun.
Also, consider keeping champagne on the bottom of your wine rack. Temperature is lowest there and the least light damage can be done.
Remember to always drink responsibly – but please enjoy the fruits of your labour.
AIG Private Client Group has industry leading Risk Management Specialists who can advise on how to best protect your wine collection. Contact your Insurance Broker today to find out more.
The content contained herein is intended for general informational purposes only. Companies and individuals should not solely rely on the information or suggestions provided in this article for the prevention or mitigation of the risks discussed herein.