For nearly 10,000 years, we have had long and flavorful relationship with the “fruit-of-the-vine”. From picking and gathering various fruits and berries, to the cultivation of the first fields, to picking and pressing the first harvests into vats, then transferring the sweet nectar to earthenware for storage. Through the ages we have pretty well perfected the art of growing, bottling and consuming wine, but the problem to a long term relationship with wine has been storage. Now, after thousands of years of trial and error, from dark, dank and wet caves to the modern wine cellar, we have finally come to a basic understanding to the art and science of preservation and storage of this most precious elixir.
If wine is improperly stored, wine may mature too quickly, or too slowly or just may never reach its true potential. Likewise, it can be a host’s worse nightmare if a wine is served at a temperature that has not been allowed to rise or descend slowly. The key, is a controlled environment, be it a simple under-counter wine cooler or a full on wine room, the right environment will ensure a quality wine experience with each bottle served.
THE 5 RULES OF WINE STORAGE
Wine is a living. Breathing and evolving and complex form of chemistry that demands a gentle hand to guide it’s from birth to consumption. Wine, like any living thing, is
affected by the world around it…and to ensure a quality wine experience, here are the 5 basic’s for proper wine storage:
TEMPERATURE: The ideal temperature to store wine should be between 50° and 57.2 °f, which should remain constant.
HUMIDITY: A humidity level between 50 to 75% is essential for the cork to seal and to effectively keep the destructive effects of oxygen out of the bottle.
LIGHT: The wine bottle offers no protection against direct sunlight and denigrating and destructive nature of ultra-violet light on wine. Wine should always be stored in a dark or low-light, ultra-violet free environment.
VIBRATION: Continues vibration or movement of wine will disrupt the delicate biochemical process in the wine’s natural ageing development. Vibration is the leading reason many fine wines fail to reach their optimal potential.
VENTILATION: Ventilation and the continuous circulation of air are paramount in avoiding the development of unpleasant odors as well as mold and mildew.
A good wine experience depends, not only on the wine, but it is also dependent on the way the wine has been kept and stored. Wine is a very delicate and complex product that demands gentle and precise treatment. It must be stored correctly, served at the right temperature and poured into the proper glass. Only when all of these things are combined do we achieve the perfect wine experience.
Kevin Henry is an internationally recognized industry mentor, designing, writing and speaking on a variety of topics, including kitchen design, the art and science of wine storage and environmental issues. Mr Henry can be reached for comment or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org