Wine is like a living organism which can react positively or negatively to its environment. The positive reaction that you want to achieve is the ‘aging’ reaction and is the very slow and delicate process of enhancing the bouquet, flavour and structure of the wine. The negative or ‘spoiling’ reaction occurs when the wine is destroyed or ‘cooked.’
Stored under the right conditions, good quality wines will develop complex flavours, deep aromas and even a deeper colour. Most of the wines produced today are meant to be drunk within a year or so of the purchase date but certain wines need anywhere from three or four years to several decades to reach their full maturity. By the time these wines are ready, they are almost impossible to find and extremely expensive and if you want to enjoy fantastic wine then you need a cellar. Buying a case of good quality, young wine and then storing it for a while, it can then be sold off at significant profit or immensely enjoyed, either way, a wine cellar is a great idea.
Some wines are not always suitable for long term aging in a cellar and are best consumed in a shorter period of time. White, sparkling, blush and red table wines are not particularly affected by aging and so there is no benefit in keeping them for long periods of time. Some reds do very well in a cellar though with old world wines lasting longer, they can reach their very best in about ten years and then last for another ten. For Online wine merchants in Northern Ireland, visit http://thewinecompanyni.com/.
There are some certain factors that will affect the condition of any wine kept in the cellar. Temperature is the most important one and a cellar needs to be kept at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit with no more than a variation of 3 degrees in a day and 5 over a year. If there is too much variation in temperature then cork damage can occur, which results in oxygen seeping back into the bottle and mixing with the wine. The wine will then mature too quickly and spoil before being opened.
Too much vibration from movement, machinery or excessive sound over a period of time will disturb a red wine’s sediment. Make sure that your storage setup allows you to reach different bottles without having to excessively move other bottles.
The air in a cellar should never get too dry and a moderate amount of humidity is advised to keep corks in a good condition. A humidity of about 70% is recommended. Too much humidity will not harm the wine, but will damage labels. If the air gets too dry the corks can dry out, causing them to lose elasticity and lets air in.
Excessive light will also negatively impact a bottle of wine with clear bottles being the most susceptible to this problem, but ultraviolet light will penetrate even dark colored glass. UV rays will alter the aromas and flavour of a wine, so keeping a cellar dark or lit with incandescent lights are far better for a cellar than sunlight or fluorescent lights.
Wherever you store your wine, the area should be kept clean and free from powerful smells. Strong smells can permeate through the cork and affect the flavour of the wine. Good ventilation is also key and prevent wine from obtaining a musty taste and aroma. The bottles should always be stored in a horizontal position so that the liquid remains in contact with the cork. Keeping the cork moist will help prevent air from entering the bottle.