The World of Wine – August 2009

The World of Wine

By Ceci Rodriguez

Wine Storage


First of all, I would like to clarify the last article, in which I wrote some contradictory information about the position of the wine bottles. I didn’t mention that in order to avoid wine contamination with a tainted cork, it is better to store the bottles upright, but, at the same time, it is necessary to keep them lying down because the cork needs to be wet. I mentioned all this because I was trying to explain the advantages of the screwcaps. Of course, you won’t know that your wine is contaminated until you open it;  this is a risk that we take when we buy a bottle of wine.

Another important fact for keeping our wines in good condition, is our own wine cellar. Of course, the best are the ones underground, made with natural soil, a stone floor, or a room built for this purpose. Modern houses or apartments rarely have adequate space One option is to get “artificial wine cellars” that come in a variety of sizes and prices.

In case we want to store our bottles, and don’t have a special room, we can find the best room or closet in our house. Then we should meet certain basis criteria in terms of temperature, humidity, level of light, and lack of odours, and of course, far from noise and vibrations. Our cellar has to be dark, just use light when looking for a bottle.

Wine should never be stored next to a boiler, a stove, or domestic electronics, even for a few weeks. This means that we should store it as far away as posible from the kitchen. Strong odours like solvents, detergents, chlorine, etc., could taint the aroma of the wine.

Temperature: The standard temperature of the cellar has less effect on the wine than fluctuactions between hot and cold. The ideal is 15ºC (59ºF) or a little less.

Humidity: Its importance is frequently underestimated. It should be between 75% and 85%. If there is insufficient water vapour in the atmosphere, moisture will evaporate from the corks, they’ll become dry and start to deteriorate. High humidity conserves the corks but can cause mold to develop on their exposed surfaces.

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