Just think, you spend all those wonderful weekends out in the Barossa, McLaren Vale, Claire and the Hills sampling South Australia’s best wine and cellar door experiences. You bring home your newly purchased wines to add to the wine collection and hide them away somewhere, maybe the garage or under the stairs. And that’s where they stay, until that perfect moment when its time to crack that bottle and remember the weekend with friends or loved ones. But wait, what’s this? I don’t remember that baked taste or jamminess, is that vinegar or nail polish you can taste or smell? Well that’s the wine storage conundrum, especially in our hot changeable climate, its easy for a wine to become ‘out of condition’ if it’s not stored correctly.
So here’s our wine storage 101 guide for everything you need to know about storing your wine collection.
This is the obvious one, too hot and the wine will bake, losing aromatics on the nose and fruit from the palate. A wine can look hollow, or disjointed if its baked. For long term wine storage we aim for a nice steady 14 degree. However its not just the temperature you need to think about
- Consistent Climate
Changes in temperature are the biggest wine killers about. Rapid fluctuations not only effect a wine chemically but changes in volume put pressure on closures. Screw caps have a better chance to keep the wine secure, however cork, even good quality ones also expand and contract and can allow air into the bottle, effectually ruining your wine. So keep things constant
Our main South Australian climatic conditions really are the worst for wine. Changing temperature, high temperatures and high UV sunlight. UV breaks down a wines chemical components, and can ruin a wine relatively quickly. Its why most red wines, deemed to be drunk over time are in green bottles that fend off the UV as best they can. Its why you need to keep your cellar dark and away from light. Our cellar has automatic lights and the wine vaults keep things dark even with lighting on.
Think of all those old world wine cellars, dark and damp. Well humidity is important, however it shouldn’t be damp, and you also need ventilation to keep it circulating and nasty aromas at bay. Humidity for cork is essential, dried out aircon air can age a cork prematurely, drying it out and breaking its seal with the bottle. Over time your bottle becomes vinegar as it slowly oxidises. Our cellar keeps effective humidity around 60 to 70 %, perfect for your corks
- No Vibrations
Keeping things still and not agitating a wine allows it to age correctly. Vibrations are believed to speed up chemical reactions which may produce unpleasant aromas and flavours. It can also reduced the process of polymisation, which is complex process between colour pigments, tannins and acids which form crystals and drop out naturally as part of the aging process. This not only gives a wine its aged characters but also can round out a wine as it evolves.