Every wine lover would like to have a wine cellar at home, but there are a few basic guidelines one must follow in order to avoid unpleasant surprises when it comes to opening an old bottle of wine.
The first thing to take into consideration is that many wines have a recommended cellaring period but not every wine is meant to be cellared, young wine is best consumed young, at the peak of its potential.
It is very important to keep the bottles horizontal, lying down. If the bottle is left standing, the cork will dry up and the oxygen will penetrate the bottle, oxidizing the wine. It should also be stored in a way that you don’t need to “disturb” other bottles in order to take one bottle from your cellar. This is not only a matter of convenience but, also, vibrations have negative effects on wine ageing.
The cellar temperature must not exceed 24ºC; up from that temperature oxidation starts taking place. Abrupt temperature changes should also be avoided since it will accelerate the ageing process and may be damage the wine. Temperatures lower than 12ºC will not necessarily hurt the wine but the ageing process will be slowed down.
Humidity keeps the cork wet and minimizes evaporation, it is well advised keeping humidity levels between 70-80%. At higher levels there is a risk of mould growth.
Light is one of the enemies of the cellaring process and it can alter the characteristics of your wine. The ultraviolet (UV) light can effectively change the flavour in a negative way.
Do not keep your wine near fermenting foods, such as cheese or other sorts, since mould aromas can penetrate the cork and will definitely ruin your wine. It is best to find a place which is fresh, dark, not too dry and free from vibrations and aromas.