A good cellar

To ensure that our bottles reveal all of their personality during tasting, it is necessary to keep them very carefully. Also, bottles that are ageing need to be kept at a constant temperature, and in a place that is sufficiently humid. Depending on the length of keeping envisaged, the environment in which the bottles are kept requires very careful attention.

This is most important, but quite often neglected. The conservation temperature of wine can change its ageing profile and therefore its scent and taste. The ideal temperature is between 10°C and 13°C. In practice, 2°C or 3°C in either direction is acceptable. A higher temperature will accelerate ageing, but be warned, this runs the risk of reducing the keeping potential of the wine. It is the stability of the temperature that is important.

Light has undesirable effects on the taste of wine. Heat from light bulbs, often quite high, can accelerate the ageing of wines. The cellar does not have to be in total darkness, for example, a low powered bulb can be used. Cold light sources are better, as these low pressure sodium lamps do not give off much heat. Neon tubes should not be used, nor really bright lights.

A cellar that is too dry can cause the corks to shrink, thus reducing the hermetic seal on the bottles. To remedy this, place a large container full of sand in the cellar and dampen it at regular intervals. Too much humidity presents fewer problems for wine. However, as a precaution you could place a stoneware or glass container filled with quicklime into the cellar, which will absorb the excess humidity. A cellar that is too damp can cause problems with damage to labels, and in the long term, can damage the corks. To prevent this, you could try wrapping the bottles in cling film. It is also beneficial to whitewash the walls once a year, which helps to fight against insects. Keeping wines in wooden cases increases the problem of too much humidity. Never keep your wines in cardboard boxes.

A little air
Mould should always be avoided because of its effect on cork. You should consider a light airing of the cellar or perhaps install a ventilation system.