This Matter Of Aging Wine

For those of you who chose to practice the ageing of wine, here is a checklist of the important factors, and a review of the elements con­cerned.

Look at the location where you are storing your wines. Measure it against the criteria described be­low.

Temperature:

The ideal temperature for age­ing wine is considered to be 55 de­grees fahrenheit. This ideal tem­perature is the reference point for ageing prognostications. Above that, the wine ages faster, and be­low that, the wines age slower. Higher ageing temperatures also reduce the quality of the final prod­uct. Equally important, if not more, is the consistency of temper­ature. There should not be a five degree variation in the temperature of stored ageing wine. Day to night or month to month variation, accelerates the ageing process. It is better to have a consistent higher temperature than a varying lower one.

Light:

Wine is influenced by direct light, particularly sunlight. It is conductive as energy for minute chemical reactions in the wine. Cellars with direct light windows should be shuttered and light bulbs should not remain lit in cabinets or cellars.

Vibration:

Your cellar or wine cabinet should be away from vibrating equipment like refrigerators, freezers, air-conditioners, furnaces, ele­vators, etc. (wherever a motor is running). The tiny vibrations stir the wine ever so slightly which ac­celerates the ageing process. The ideal system has the cooling equip­ment remotely mounted on a dif­ferent platform from where the wine rests.

Humidity:

The cabinet, room, or cellar should not be damp. Mold tends to develop and have a miserable odor to it. The labels get moldy and peel off. Generally, this will not affect the wine but plays havoc on the rest of the environment. When building a new cellar be sure it is sealed properly.

Position of Bottle:

All corked bottles should be stored on their side, or at such an angle that part or all of the wine in the neck is in contact with the cork. This prevents the cork from drying out. If the cork does dry, air will find its way into the neck and start detrimental oxidation. Some think turning the bottles is a necessary practice, I think it is a fallacy. If sediment is developing, it is better to leave the wine undis­turbed.

Chemicals:

Avoid storing anything else in the area where you store wine. Be careful, it is easy to shove boxes of things into empty space of your cellar. Wine can absorb odors and tastes from these sources. Also, avoid using strong solvents when cleaning your cellar or cabinet.

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