If are an avid wine collector or someone who just enjoys buying bottles of wine from time to time, then it is important to know the benefits of having a home wine cellar, as well as understanding what is involved in managing the various aspects of a wine cellar.
Basically, a home wine cellar is a kind of storage room or storage lot suitable for keeping wine in barrels or bottles. The wines could also be held in plastic containers, amphoras (ceramic jars with two handles) or carboys (large glass storage jars). A wine cellar is preferably situated completely underground although any location which satisfies the conditions below is suitable.
The idea behind a home wine cellar is to provide protection for our treasured alcoholic beverages from potentially harmful external factors. Perhaps more importantly the wine cellar provides a constant temperature and limited direct light which may adversely affect the wines. And of course a wine cellar can be an attractive addition to a home showing off the personality of the owner!
It can be said that wine cellar management and wine management itself are inter- dependent on each other. There are four basic elements that you need to manage in your wine cellar to ensure effective storage of the wine. These four elements are location, light, temperature and humidity and each of these components need care and attention so that any wine that comes out of your wine cellar is in peak condition.
Home Wine Cellar Location
Arguably the primary aspect in wine cellar and wine management is the position of the wines. The bottles need to be kept safely in a horizontal manner without any chance of being disturbed. The reason for the bottles being laid horizontally is so that the wine is always in contact with the cork and so the cork is prevented from drying. If the cork does dry out, the bottle could be affected by bacteria, fungus and yeast resulting is a spoiling of the flavors in the wine.
The other reason for not disturbing the wine is that over time the wine ages and undergoes a chemical change in the bottle. This is an important part of the wine maturation process and as it happens sediments are formed which should sink to the bottom of the bottle.
Home Wine Cellar Temperature
Wine cellar management requires that an constant and appropriate temperature be maintained in the cellar. The wines in any case should be kept away from extreme cold which may cause the wine to freeze and the bottles to break.
The wine also needs to be kept away from any heat sources and not be exposed to temperatures above 18C (or 64F). Excess temperature can have the effect of cooking the wine in the bottle and result in unpleasant flavors.
Home Wine Cellar Light and Humidity
Wine should always be protected from strong and direct sunlight as this can have an adverse effect on the body and aroma of the wine. Darkness is the best option and if possible this is the desired condition for your wine cellar.
The humidity level should be maintained at a high level to avoid any cork shrinkage occurring from outside the bottle.