A Summer Guide to Enjoying Aged Wine

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Norm Kotoch, Jr. |

According to The Wine Cellar Insider, 99% of the world’s wine does not need cellaring. However, the 1% of wine that improves with time requires proper care for optimal aging.

When stored properly, certain wines can improve in flavor, quality and aroma, and increase in value over time.

Below are a few questions you should ask yourself when considering cellaring options.

Why Should I Store it?

Christian Butzke of Purdue University noted that the value of wine is determined by aroma and flavor. These factors are influenced by storage conditions, such as temperature, lighting and humidity levels. Improper storage can decrease the value and quality of your wine over time. However, by choosing to store your wine, you ensure that you are getting the most out of your investment.

How Should I Store it?

You’ve determined why you should store your wine for aging. Now, let’s discuss how to do it. The goal is to aim for consistency.

Wine Spectator suggests that the ideal wine storage conditions are as follows:

  • A humidity level between 50% - 80%. Dry air can dry out the corks, which can lead to spoiling, and too much humidity can lead to molding.
  • Away from exposure to sunlight. UV rays from the sun can degrade and prematurely age your wine.
  • Horizontally to keep the cork from drying out. Dry corks allow for more air exposure.
  • Temperatures between 45 - 65 degrees (optimal temperature is 55 degrees). Fluctuating temperatures could accelerate the maturation process, shorten the life expectancy or lead to unfavorable changes in the wine’s color, taste or aroma.

Where Should I Store it?

If it is not within your budget to store your wine in-house or you lack the space to accommodate your collection, consider cellaring in a self-storage facility that offers wine storage at affordable rates.

Look for a self-storage option with versatile cellars that provides:

  • Additional power sources. Verify that, in the case of a power outage, there are backup generators in place to preserve your wine.  
  • Climate control. Ensure that your wine is being stored at controlled temperatures and humidity levels to preserve its value.
  • Security. Invest in a storage facility with 24-hour surveillance and individual alarms to protect your assets.

When Should I Drink it?

Different types of wine require different lengths of time in storage before you can pop the cork and enjoy. According to The Wine Society, the right time to open a bottle is dependent on these factors:

  • Quality of the wine. This depends on how well the vineyard and facets in the winemaking process were controlled.
  • Size of the bottle. Different bottles will effect how fast your wine ages (half bottles age faster than full bottles).  
  • Storage conditions. If the bottles were stored in darker areas, and kept at the right temperature and humidity level, then they can last longer.
  • Vintage. This factor is dependent on what the weather conditions were in the year that the grapes were harvested.

Are you a wine enthusiast, collector or restaurant looking to store your wine this summer? Visit our Wine Storage page to learn more about our reliable, state-of-the-art wine cellar located in Westlake, Ohio.

Image Source: Arno Mitterbacher


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