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.
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.
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.
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.