The Perfect Wine Cellar

Whether you store your wine in an area of your bar or kitchen, in a labyrinthine passage beneath your home, or underground in your backyard, the conditions should be right for storage and maturation of wine. Here are some guidelines to get you started.

1. Temperature

When in an environment 70° F or higher, wine will age more quickly, and if the temperature is much hotter, it will lose its flavor and aroma. Experts often say that 55° F is close to perfect, but you can stay within a 45° F and 65° F window. And just as heat is wine's enemy, so is frigid cold. Wine shouldn't be stored in your kitchen refrigerator for more than a couple of months. The lack of moisture could damage corks and allow too much air to seep into the bottles. Consistency in temperature is key.

2. Lights Out

Wine bottles shouldn't be exposed to sunlight. UV rays can have a damaging effect, prematurely aging wine. In fact, the colored glass bottles are intentional - meant to protect wine from sunlight. Household lightbulbs pose no real threat, other than fading your labels.

3. Humidity

Ideally, wine should be stored at 70% humidity so that corks will retain their moisture, but truthfully, 50-80% humidity will keep your wine safe. If you feel it's too dry, you can place a container of water in your storage area to aid in humidity. Too wet? A dehumidifier will help.

4. Storage

Your shelving system should allow wine bottles to be laid horizontally. This way, the liquid flows to the cork, keeping it from drying out. It's also space-efficient.

5. Environment
Too much vibration is bad for wine. Avoid storage next to machines with a motor engine, such as refrigerators and washing machines, and avoid unnecessary handling or transportation. Also - make sure the area is clear of strong odors and aromas (like paint cans and varnish), which can seep into the flavor of the wine.
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