FOUR ESSENTIAL STEPS TO CREATE YOUR WINE CELLAR AT HOME
In this text, we will show how to organize the wine you have at home in an easy and practical manner. Find out the best way to store your bottles.
If you dream of having a good wine cellar at home, worthy of a collector, or if you are simply tired of having bottles scattered around the house in a haphazard manner, this article is for you. Organizing a wine cellar is not rocket science. If you don't know where to start, we share with you five essential steps that will help you to succeed on that mission. Let's do it?
1. Find the right space for your wine cellar
If you have a basement at home, these are the conditions you must ensure when choosing the place to build your wine cellar:
> A cool space with constant temperature throughout the year (between 10 and 14°C), so that there is no interference in the wine ageing process;
> A place not subject to big vibrations, so that the wines can rest;
> Reduced lighting or sun exposure because too much light can have an impact on the wine's flavour and aroma;
> An appropriate percentage of humidity (around 50 to 70%). Low humidity can cause the corks to dry out and affect the quality of the product, while excessive humidity can create mould and damage the cork. It is also important to bear in mind that wines should not be stored together with products or foods that may transfer strong smells. Even after it has been bottled, the wine still has the capacity to absorb external odours and flavours. The bottles must also keep a distance from heat sources, such as the fridge or other appliances. Therefore, the airy north-facing areas of the house, with no direct light, are the ideal ones. A pantry or an interior storage room, with no windows, may also be good options to guarantee thermal stability and less exposure to light.
2. Decide the best way to store bottles
Once the location has been chosen, you can start assembling your wine cellar according to the space available. One cubic meter is enough: one meter wide, one meter high and one meter long. How to store the bottles: horizontally or vertically? The vast majority of wines should be stored horizontally. This position allows the wine to touch the cork, preventing it from drying out. Here is an important note: there are wines (such as Vintage Port Wines or unfiltered red wines) that, if kept for a long time on their side, are prone to form a deposit. In these situations, all you have to do is to place the bottles vertically for a few days before they are consumed.
3. Establish criteria for organizing the wine cellar
There is no universal rule for organizing wines in the wine cellar. The best organization will be the one that makes the most sense for you, given your consumer profile. These are some of the most common criteria you can use to store your bottles:
> by region: if you value the origin of the wine, organize the wine cellar by country and/or demarcated regions;
> by type of wine: group the bottles, separating sparkling, white wine, rosé, red wine, port wine and other liqueur wines;
> by harvest year: if you have wines from different dates, you can organize the bottles by harvest year or by decades;
> by type of consumption: you can choose to create an area in the wine cellar, with easy access, for the wines that are consumed more quickly and reserve the lower area for the oldest and most valuable references, which you will want to keep for a longer time. There are also those who choose to organize the wine cellar by grape varieties, by the price of the wine or by the scores it obtained. Even so, the most popular criteria remain the origin and type of wine, also used by wine shops. According to your preferences, you can even combine several of these criteria, as a complement. Choose the formula that helps you sort and find wines in a simple and efficient manner. As your wine cellar grows, it may make sense to organize a small notebook to record the exact location of each wine. A good suggestion is to have a simple system, naval warfare style, with horizontal letters and vertical numbers, which will give you the exact coordinates to quickly find the bottle you are looking for.
4. Find out which wines should be stored
All wines end up losing their initial characteristics over time. In certain cases, time can be benevolent and bring good surprises, revealing a series of new aromas, which emerge with the bottle ageing process. But this ageing potential is not the same for all wines. Vintage Port is the wine that has the biggest capacity to improve with bottle age. Provided it is stored under optimal conditions, it can be consumed after decades. Tawny Port - another very important Port Wine family - reveals excellent conditions to be consumed at a date close to its bottling, since these wines undergo an oxidative ageing process in wooden barrels before being bottled. The famous myth that says that the older the Port Wine the better is thus debunked. Regarding still wines, red wines are in a better condition to be stored than white wines. However, this difference was once much more evident, and it is now possible to find white wines with a remarkable ageing capacity. In general, this type of information is present on back labels. Read them carefully and you will obtain important notes that will help you in managing your wine cellar.
Now that you know how to organize your wine, take on the challenge of creating a diversified wine cellar and feed your passion and curiosity for wine. Take a look at the suggestions we have for you at Uva WineShop.