How to Cellar Wine – How to store, save, and age wine properly

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Cellaring wine is not a complicated procedure, nor does it need to be expensive (though you’re more than welcome to build something like what you see there on the left, just remember to invite me over for a tasting, ok? 😉 ), however there are several things that I’ve learned about it over the years which A) Most people don’t know, and B) Can completely ruin your wine if you don’t do it properly. So you’re quite correct in thinking that you need to do some research on the

subject before you go blowing piles of money on expensive vintages that were bottled back when Napoleon was still pillaging the French countryside (and likely drinking large quantities of wine while he was at it). Today I’m going to give you the basic information that you need to properly cellar your wine (this information will come from a professional sommelier) plus a

few tips to help make your life a littler bit easier and your wine taste just a little bit better.

A few tips

  • The most important thing is not just the correct temperature and humidity, but consistently keeping the wine in the correct temperature and humidity. It’s fluctuations in these that will really kill a good wine. Some people will go so far as to have UPS battery power backups that are normally used to keep critical computers up and running for their wine refrigerators that can last through hours of power outage.
  • The best way to store wine that you’ve opened and want to save for later is to use a simple vacuum wine stopper–oxygen is the arch nemesis of wine, it will utterly ruin in in short order and turn it into vinegar in just a week or so of exposure. Using a simple vacuum system will allow you to keep wine for weeks without losing any of the delightful freshness that it had when you opened it the first time. My personal recommendation is the Vacu Vin wine saver (check it out here on Amazon). Keep in mind that this slows the oxidation process, it doesn’t stop it, so you still need to remember to drink that wine within a couple weeks of opening it even though you used a vacuum stopper on it.
  • Try to avoid placing the wine anywhere where there may be even slight vibrations as this will cause sediment in the wine to unsettle and mix (you want it all to settle in one spot)–this is another reason why the top of the refrigerator is a horrible place to put wine (you’ll learn the other reason from our resident sommelier in a second), though many people seem to love doing this.

Straight from the sommelier’s mouth

Additional Resources and Further Reading

The Wine Doctor has got an excellent article called “The Ideal Wine Cellar” that you should really have a look at, very good.

ThatsTheSpirit.com has got a nice little article on how to properly age wines, plus here’s a page with an extraordinarily handy chart on how long to age a wine for (not all wines age, in fact most don’t as you just learned).

3 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t use Vacu Vin – it sucks the essence out of the wine. The best method is inert gas such as in Private Reserve, cork it and refrigerate. In tests, wines preserved this way were much better than those saved with a pump system.

  2. Ok. I always thought using those gases made the wine taste funny since whatever you put in the bottle is going to end up mixing with the wine, whether it’s air or some other gas. Seems like the best thing is to have nothing in there at all (i.e. a vacuum). Try both, use what you like I suppose…

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