Storing and preserving wine
Creating a cellar
For any wine lover, a cellar is a necessity. There are six principles to follow for the preservation and storage of wine which are neither complex nor difficult to understand and achieve.
Constant temperature is the most important factor in storing and preserving wine. The ideal temperature is considered to be between 10°C and 14°C regardless of the type of wine you are storing.
Humidity is especially important both for the corks and the labels of the bottles. Humidity keeps the corks in good condition and therefore prevents them from drying out, shrinking and allowing air into the bottle which in turn triggers the oxidisation of the wine. On the other hand excessive humidity will harm the labels and may cause any other paper products, like caldboard boxes, that you keep in the cellar to rot, which can be very damaging to the wine.
Cleanliness and aeration
The cellar should be free of smells. Smells can enter the bottle through the cork and contaminate the wine. Aeration will help with this problem and prevent any cellar smells from giving the wine a musty taste. You should also avoid storing vegetables, fruits, etc in the same room where you store wine as these may attract insects which can be harmful to the wine.
Calmness is a friend of wine. Possible constant vibrations (i.e. caused from an elevator nearby) or excessive sounds may disturb a red wine's sediment and can be harmfull to the wine.
The cellar must be dark. Light will prematurely age a bottle of wine. Dark colour glass bottles are less susceptible to the damages of the ultaviolet light than clear bottles but even so you should be very careful.
Organising the cellar
The bottles should be stored horizontally, on racks, so that the wine stays constantly in contact with the cork. This keeps the cork moist and thereby preventing air from entering the wine. Moreover, white wines which mature faster than the red's, should be located lower in the racks for better protection from the light. Immediately on the upper racks, you should store the sparking wine and lastly on the top racks the red wine.Wines should be stored in such a way that you don't have to move them around to get at a particular bottle. Once a wine is laid down, it should stay there until it is opened.