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Should I Have a Cellar? (Part 2)

2012 May 3
This is second part of a two part article on wine cellars. You may want to read the first part before you read this.

As promised, the second part of this article has some more specific questions about the reasons for cellaring wine.

Q: What are the ideal conditions to properly store my wine collection?

A: There are three issues that will affect the proper storage of wine: light, temperature and humidity. UV rays from light will damage wine by breaking down the organic compounds in wine that contribute to its aroma, flavor and overall structure. An ideal location should be dark. Humidity is a consideration because of the corks used in sealing wine bottles. A relative humdity of 60% – 70% is ideal. Low humidity can lead to failures in the cork seal and then the low humidity condition would cause faster evaporation of the wine. Assuming we can find a dark place with sufficient humidity, temperature is the most important factor in properly storing wine. A cool stable temperature keeps wine from aging too rapidly and preserves its characteristics. Most European wine caves have a naturally occurring temperature of about 13º Celsius or about 55º Fahrenheit with about ±1º fluctuation. Since wine has been historically stored at this temperature with great success, 55ºF is the ideal temperature most experts agree on. read more…

Should I Have a Cellar? (Part 1)

2012 April 30

This is the first part of a two part article. I ended up with so much to write about on this topic, it seemed too much for just one article.

Does this sound familiar to you?

  1. It’s the weekend, let’s visit some tasting rooms.
  2. Mmm, I really like this wine.
  3. Let’s get a few bottles of it.
  4. I’m joining their wine club.
  5. Drive to the next place.
  6. Repeat 2 – 5.
  7. Next free weekend, repeat 1 – 6.

Do this a few times and most wine lovers eventually become wine collectors. It’s inevitable that when you find something you really like, you’ll buy more than just one or two bottles so you can enjoy them later. If you’re like me, you don’t plan on collecting wine; it just happens. Eventually, you’ll have enough wine to fill a small room and, with summer approaching and temperatures rising, you’ll begin to worry about storing that collection properly. After all, you have a lot invested in those liquid assets. During my time working with a wine accessories company, I heard a lot of questions from customers about wine storage and thought it might be helpful to post some of the most common questions and answers here in a FAQ. read more…

Duh: Natural Corks Greener than Synthetics

2012 April 27

Various types of wine closures

I’ve never been a big fan of synthetic corks. Even after just a couple of years, they seem to be more difficult to remove than natural corks and they’re just one step away from screw-top closures in my book. I never believed that the potential faults of synthetic closures—oxidation in synthetic corks and reduction in screw caps and glass stoppers—where significantly less than TCA faults with natural cork. Those were reasons enough against synthetic closures. Now I have even more reason to dislike them.

A new Italian study conducted by the Milan Politecnico and funded by Labrenta, an Italian producer of beverage closures, has found that natural corks have less of an environmental impact than their synthetic counterparts. Using data from 2010, the study conducted in November 2011 has made it possible to estimate the amount of CO2 emissions generated by the production of synthetic closures versus natural cork closures. By comparing the entire product life cycle of both types of closures—from obtaining raw materials to its eventual disposal—researchers found that synthetic cork production produces more CO2 emissions than natural cork production. That doesn’t really surprise me. An older study made by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 2008, comparing the full life cycle environmental impact of natural cork, aluminum screw tops, and plastic corks, also shows that natural corks have significantly less overall negative effects. read more…