Ageing certain kinds of wine can be a great way to improve the value, but many wine collectors overlook the importance of precisely controlling the ageing process to produce better results. Although you could just throw your bottle in the home cellar and forget about it, unless you have the environment fine-tuned for wine ageing, chances are you'll be losing some of your collection's quality potential year after year. With that said, here are 7 tips that will help you properly age your wine:
1. Use a Professional Wine Storage Facility
Rather than investing an excessive amount in the construction and maintenance of a state-of-the-art wine ageing cellar in your home, it makes more sense to take advantage of professional wine storage facilities like Octavian Vaults. These services provide top-notch storage and documentation and are therefore recommended for serious collectors and investors who want to protect/preserve their collections. It’s best to use a facility that’ll take care of you and your wine.
2. Know Which Wines Age Well and Which Don't
While most people subscribe to the common misconception that all wine gets better with age, the fact is that only certain types will benefit from the process. Wine types that are improved by ageing include Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Vintage Ports. Wines that are not improved by ageing include Sherry, Vermouth, Rosés, Moscato Spumante, and any kind of Nouveau.
3. Temperature and Humidity Are Paramount
Ideally, you'll want to store wine at a consistent temperature of about 55 degrees and a humidity level of about 70%. Any sudden or sharp fluctuations in temperature or humidity could have a profoundly negative impact on the quality of the wine. Maintaining high humidity is important to keep the corks from drying out, which would let air into the bottle and spoil it.
4. Keep It in the Dark
Exposing wine to light can alter the ageing process by causing oxidisation. This is why most wine bottles are darkly coloured and most cellars are kept in places like basements where there are no windows to let any sunlight in.
5. Practice Careful Transportation
You can have the best wine ageing facility in the world, but if you're not careful about how the bottles are transported you could be hurting the quality of your fine wine in transit. While the effects won't be noticeable immediately, you'll be sadly disappointed during future wine tasting sessions. Thus, arranging careful transportation is something that needs to be considered before buying fine wine.
6. Keep Bottles on Their Side
Keeping bottles on their side instead of upright allows the wine to saturate the cork, which keeps it from drying out. As mentioned earlier, if the cork dries out then it will let air into the bottle, which will spoil the wine.
7. Using an Electric Ageing Units
Finally, perhaps the best way to age your wine at home is to invest in electric wine ageing machines. These devices operate much like refrigerators, but instead of maintaining just temperature, they also control humidity, light, and other factors.
Most Home Cellars Aren't Good for Ageing Wine
In closing, while storing wine in a home cellar is certainly convenient, in most cases it doesn't provide the ideal environment for the wine to age properly. Thus, since buying fine wine is usually not a nominal investment, it may make sense to also invest in storage and ageing services to protect the value of your investment.