Collecting wine is an interesting and fun hobby. It can also be a good investment strategy because some wines grow in value as they age. However, it is essential to properly store vintage wines so they continue to develop and improve in flavor. This is true whether the collector is buying wine as an investment or just for personal enjoyment.
Vintage wines need steady temperature and humidity to prevent degradation. The goal of a good wine storage system is to mimic the conditions found in the caves of Europe where wines have been stored for hundreds of years. A suitable temperature range for wine preservation is 50-60 degree Fahrenheit. In many homes, the basement is within the acceptable temperature range. The oenophile can also invest in a refrigerated wine cooler if there is no basement in which to store the collection.
Wine should be stored in an environment with high humidity. If the air is too dry, corks can shrink and allow oxygen into the bottles. The introduction of oxygen hastens the aging of the wine. Wine that is exposed to air can also develop off flavors from external odors. A humidity level of 60-80 percent is best.
Exposure to light can spoil wine, so the wine cellar should be kept dark. White wines are particularly susceptible to spoilage from excessive sunlight, but the flavor of red wines can also be adversely affected.
Vintage wines should be kept away from jostling as much as possible. When bottles are kept still, the sediments can settle rather than constantly circulating in the bottle. Although it is common for many people to store wine on top of the refrigerator, the constant jarring from the door opening and closing will hasten a wine’s destruction. Even the constant vibration from the refrigerator motor can damage wine.
Bottles should be stored on their sides to help keep corks moist. The combination of high humidity on the outside of the bottle and a damp cork on the inside of the bottle keeps the cork from drying out.
Investing in vintage wine requires a little planning ahead to create a proper storage system. Whether this is a rack built into the basement wall or a separate wine refrigerator is up to the collector. If necessary, the collector can move extra belongings out of the basement to StorageMart storage units to make room for the wine storage system. This is also a good idea if some of your belongings may contain mold, mildew, or pests.