Storing Your Fine Wine Collection
Creating the ideal conditions for the storage of a fine wine collection may seem daunting, however, if you follow these basic rules, you will have created cellar conditions suitable for a world-class wine collection.
Keep wine away from the light.
Both natural and fluorescent lights can be harmful to wine. UV rays can penetrate the bottle and cause the wine to be light struck. This will accelerate and destabilize the aging process, negatively affecting the wine's aromatics.
Maintain a constant temperature of 54°F.
Wine is temperature sensitive. Under ideal conditions, wine should be stored in a temperature controlled setting at 54°F and should experience temperature fluctuations of no more than 3°F a day, or 5°F a year. Older reds are especially vulnerable to fluctuations in temperature.
Store bottles on their side
Bottles should remain on their sides to maintain the cork's integrity. An upright bottle's cork will become dry and result in spoilage through oxidation. While oxidation is desirable in a freshly opened bottle, this will destroy a wine in storage.
Avoid all unnecessary movement and vibrations
Bottles should remain undisturbed during storage. This includes unnecessary agitation resulting from nearby vibrations from any machinery (i.e., generators, washing machines, etc.), unstable shelving, or human traffic. Disturbances can destabilize the aging process.
Maintain humidity between 60-75%.
In maintaining the humidity in this range, you'll keep the cork in ideal condition to avoid spoilage through oxidization or evaporation.
Avoid storing noxious or exceedingly fragrant to avoid permeation of the cork.
While many people opt to modify part of an existing basement to accommodate their wine cellar, they should be aware of what else resides in the same, or adjacent spaces. Seemingly benign odors, over the long run, can seep through the corks and affect the bouquet.