I have had many inquiries lately as to the availability of cellaring equipment and or building one. Building one is not as hard as it might seem, and you just might have the equipment required at your home.
I found a room in the house (closet, pantry etc.) that I could spare (a friend cut a hole under his stair case and utilized what was dead space). I went to my local builders supply house (not at Home Depot etc.) and bought enough 2″ foam insulation in 4’x8′ sheets to cover the walls and ceiling. At this point, if you are worried about aesthetics, you can cover the insulation with plywood or paneling. Using an old air conditioner from my previous office, I installed it in the window frame (some A/C’s require an updated thermostat, see a local A/C dealer). If you don’t have a window frame, see if you can duct the exhaust to your house heater ducts. Turn on the A/C for 12 hours and use a maximum/minimum thermometer (available from WOMC) to check the variance in the temperature. If you like gadgets, as I do, Radio Shack has a $29.00 digital thermometer with a humidity read out. If you need more details, give me a call at the office 1-800949-WINE. Otherwise, here is a discussion on cellaring wines for maturation.
There must be interest and desire to age wine. The objective is to enjoy the sublime final product of the different styles and varietals that have ageing ability.
As close as possible to the ideal. Ageing temperature is best at 55° F. Absence of direct light, vibration, humidity, and, chemicals in the area is important. Position the bottles such that wine touches the cork. This keeps the cork wet and expanded.
Certainly, it should be what you like to drink. And… these should be from wines that have maturing potential. The wines you prefer that do not have ageing potential should be in your “Ready to Drink” cellar. Generally, there should not be any Chenin Blanc, Gamay Beaujolais, Muscadet, Sancerre, Valpolicella, Bardolino, Rose and others in this cellar.
Wines that belong in a “Cellar of Maturing Wines” could include Cabernei, Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Petit Sirah, MerS, lot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Late Harvest wines and Sauvignon/ Semillon and their import equivalents.
I prefer to have more bottles of the same wine and less variety than 1 or two bottles of different wines. This allows me to track more systematically and have ample supply for a special occasion.
The cellar itself, forever! The wines; their potential is important but as a general rule of thumb: Dry whites..up to 8 years. Sweet whites and dry reds…up to 15 years+