Updated: Oct 29, 2019
At Autohouse Brisbane, we aren't just fanatical about car storage, we also don't mind a glass of shiraz or two. As none of us are fortunate enough to have luxurious wine cellars or classy wine fridges in our homes, we thought we'd do some research into the best means of storing your prized collection utilising just your domestic environment. Aside from being an absolute sin, poor wine storage can age wine prematurely, and also deplete its antioxidant count, which leads to inferior flavour. Here's a few things we learned about the correct methods of wine storage.
Minimise The Light
Sunlight (specifically UV), is a mortal enemy of wine, as UV rays will prematurely age the contents of the bottle likely before you would want to drink it. Wherever your wine storage location happens to be, ensure it is out of any sunlight for the entire day. Live in a small apartment and can't escape the sun? Then simply cover your wine with a towel or sheet. Fun fact: Why are red wine bottles always dark in colour? The tinted glass acts like a sun visor for the wine inside.
Consistency (In Temperature) Is Key
Of all the factors that influence the ageing process of a wine, temperature is said to be the most important. Pick a location that experiences the least temperature fluctuations throughout the seasons. Rumpus rooms, basements and garages are usually good places to start, although make sure the area is free from constant vibrations and background odours. As a rule of thumb, a "constant temperature of 18 degrees is far better for your wine than 14-26 degrees over a year" according to wine producing giant Penfolds. Subterranean rooms such as basements and garages are usually the go-to options, however just ensure these areas aren't moist and humid, as these conditions will entice mould to grow, and will cause labels to peel off, potentially devaluing the bottle of wine. If high humidity is an issue, a simple de-humidifier such as this one will somewhat mitigate the issue.
Lay Them Flat
Notice a common theme in the image above? Wine is always stored on its side. Why? This relates specifically to corked wines, as a horizontal bottle will retain moisture within the cork. If stood vertical for long periods of time, corks tend to shrink, allowing ingress of air and ultimately oxidising the wine. The introduction of screw-top bottles many years ago somewhat alleviated this problem, however its still recommended to store wine with or without a cork horizontally, as it will identify any potential leaks in the bottle - plus it just looks way more professional :).
Rack It Up
A basic ebay-procured wine rack will do the job for the casual wine enthusiast nicely. It may not be as visually aesthetic as some others out there, but it will guarantee your bottles are stored as flat as possible. Don't want to splash out? Then stacking your collection in a humble milk crate on its side will do the job just fine.
Consider Professional Wine Storage?
If you find yourself with an ever-growing catalogue of finer wine, perhaps professional wine storage may be worth consideration. It will deliver peace of mind that your wine is stored in the best possible environment, and is not at risk of any unwanted deterioration. You can safely assume that a professional storage facility will have the exactly the correct amount of temperature, humidity and light required. If your storage environment at home is badly-kept, it can age up to four times faster than if it was stored in an ideal environment. If you have a rather valuable collection, or if you've purchased wine as an investment, then it is certainly worth considering outsourcing the cellaring. Well known Brisbane wine storage specialists include Wine Ark in Fortitude Valley and Wine Away in Bowen Hills. Mainstream self-storage providers such as Kennards and National Storage also provide wine storage solutions.
Why Do We 'Cellar Wine'
As a take-away, why is it you ask that wine is cellared for long periods of time? Letting a wine mature tends mean it slowly evolves, in which is develops greater flavour complexity. Reactions within the wine take place, which create new flavours and aromas as the structure of the wine materially changes.
According to Penfolds, higher quality wines will improve with age, and state that their wine collections all reward careful cellaring. So there you have it! Not having a cellar or wine fridge is no excuse to compromise the quality of your wine collection. Take our tips and create your own make-shift cellar at home! Thanks for reading!