The vast majority of people drink wine, but only a few take the trouble of savoring the subtle flavors that differentiate one vineyard from another. If you’re one of those special few, you would probably know the importance of maintaining the flavor during the period lying between purchase and uncorking. Contrary to what many less informed folks say, maintenance of flavor depends a good deal on whether you know how to store wine properly. While the art of storage has many facets, temperature, size of the storage and humidity are the three most vital factors.
Size Of the Wine Cooler/Refrigerator
As we mention elsewhere, coolers come in a range of sizes. Assuming that you don’t have the space/budget to build a wine cellar, you’d probably have to choose between units that hold just one bottle and those holding about 50-60 bottles. While the smaller sizes are obviously meant for those who wish to take their favorites with them while travelling, the larger sizes cater to a wide range of connoisseurs.
A good rule to follow is to multiply the number of bottles you’d consume in a week by the number of weeks in a year. For instance, if you go through a bottle every two weeks, you’d probably need a 26-bottle cooler.
Further, it is important to consider your preference for ageing of wines. Coolers aren’t good for long ageing processes i.e. those exceeding a year or so. However, if you prefer to collect 2-3 bottles of each good wine you come across while on the trail and then choose to open them at intervals of 6-12 months, you may want to go in for a product that covers 1.5 times your fortnightly consumption of wine.
Since each wine has its own alcohol content and exact composition, it also has its own storage temperature range. Below we’ve summarized ranges for some of the most common wine variants.
|Wine||Temperature ( degrees Fahrenheit)|
|Aged White Wine (Aged Charnay)||58-62|
|Light Red Wine (Merlaut, Pinot Noir)||60-65|
|Heavy Red Wine||63-68|
Humidity keeps the cork moist and retards air penetration, thus ensuring that the wine is not aged at a pace faster than what it normally should be. Excess humidity, on the other hand, can lead to growth of mold, which in turn can ruin labels and corks. A good humidity range for most wine bottles is 50 to 80%.
While this range is rather generous, anyone who knows how to store wine would tell you that humidity cannot be controlled as easily as temperature. If you’d like to rid yourself of the humidifier-dehumidifier cycle, you can place a pail of water inside the wine refrigerator. Since the temperature inside the unit poses no risk of freezing, this water will go a long way in maintaining decent humidity inside the fridge.
As the above discussion on how to store wine would suggest, most of the mental and physical effort involved can be simplified into two parts – adequate forethought and proper attention to the cooling process. Applying them correctly takes practice of course. Yet, even if you keep a broad idea about these facets in mind, chances are that you’d be able to maintain your wines better than the vast majority of consumers and we daresay, wine cooler owners too!