Thursday, August 06, 2009
There are three wine storage golden rules to follow! Wine cellar has to be dark, humid and cold. All of those three conditions are crucial for right aging of your wine. Why is light so damaging for wine? Wine is an organic liquid. And each carbohydrate organic compound like proteins is sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light. What will UV light do to wine? It will cause complex organic molecules in wine to dissolve and they will start to ruin the flavor and the natural aging process of wine. The same effect will excessive sunbathing have on your skin. Ultraviolet light, as a part of sunlight is degrading proteins in our skin. The effects are well known. In extreme cases UV light can cause uncontrollable growth of cell structures leading to skin cancer.
Those who want to buy a ready-made wine cellar unit with integrated cooling and humid control center should also pay attention to the light source provided within. Neon light emits much more UV light than a classical light bulb. It may not make a difference for wine bottles that will be consumed within a year. But for storage of wine bottles that can age for centuries, those short periods of UV exposures within 10 or more years, quickly sum up.
Why should you pay attention to humidity in your wine cellar? Humidity is important for storing wine bottles traditionally sealed with cork. Despite the fact that there are many other wine sealing materials on the market, you will not find a serious top wine producer using anything other than a cork. What is the relationship between the cork and the humidity? The cork has to be in regular touch with humidity on both sides. That means the inner side, reaching into the bottle has to be in contact with the wine (that is why wine cellar storage racks will store wine horizontally), the outer side of the cork has to be in environment humid enough to prevent cork from drying. A dry cork becomes porous and the air starts to leak into the bottle, spoiling the wine. How will you know if you cellar is humid enough? Relative humidity in a room can be measured with humidity meters called hydrometers. Those are really cheap and easy to buy in any wine storage accessories store. What is humidity important for a perfect wine aging process? According to French wine experts and scientist, perfect humidity level of a wine storage cellar lays between 60-70%. But more than humidity levels in a cellar, the quality of cork itself is the crucial factor in preventing the wine from leaking or from spoiling.
If you ask any wine expert on the world which from those three golden rules plays the most important role in fine wine aging, they would unanimously say-The Temperature. The best temperature for wine storage is traditionally believed to be 55°F or 13°C. Little research has been made to discover why exactly that temperature. But more than the temperature itself, it is important not to let the temperature fluctuate for more than 1 degree. Quality wine needs stable conditions to gradually develop its best aroma, taste and color.
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