A personal wine-cellar can be a precious reserve of wines with which to make their own experiences as a taster. Some might argue that a winery in the house is not ‘essential, considering that the wines can be purchased from time to time when needed. Of course, but there is some contraindication.
The wine must be treated carefully, must not be shaken, must be brought to the right temperature gradually, sometimes it is necessary to decant it in a carafe: arriving home at the last moment with strokes of bottles inevitably traumatized by transport does not allow to dedicate to wine the attention it needs. What is possible instead if the bottles are available. But that is not all. Making a wine-cellar also means being able to exercise with continuity ‘in tasting, mature with their bottles, grow and improve with them, repeat the taste of the same wine after some time, perhaps comparing with friends, the notes of the previous tasting. All things very useful to the apprentice taster and in fact impossible if we have to turn every time to the enoteca.
Let’s see at this point what are the environmental conditions that allow proper conservation and evolution of bottled wine. Let’s talk about the great enemies right away. The thermal excursion is the first: to pass often and abruptly from cold to hot and vice-versa means to weaken the wine and the cap. The optimal wine storage temperature ranges from 12 to 16 degrees, but the condition is equally acceptable if the environment remains constant around 20-22 degrees. An underground room would be ideal, in the absence of this, having to keep the wine at home, let’s put it in a fresh and well ventilated room, or internally coat an old wardrobe with polystyrene: it will guarantee the bottles a good insulation with respect to the external environment .
This solution also protects the wine from one of its enemies, the light, which can quickly decay it, both by the strength of the rays and by the heat it produces. So, pay attention to the bottles kept in good exposure, maybe under a spotlight: they will certainly have suffered a lot. Another danger to be avoided is the aggressiveness of vibrations which, besides separating the wine, tend to lose elasticity to the cork, with a consequent lower seal guarantee. With regard to the cap, the bottles must be kept in a horizontal position: in this way the cork remains moist, and is therefore less permeable to air.
In the case of very old wines, it is good to check the state of the cork and the level of the wine from time to time: in case you can replace the deteriorated corks. Having a room to be used as a wine-cellar, very useful are the small shelves available on the market, usually in wood: they take up little space, have a good capacity and are also quite cheap. As for the arrangement of the bottles, it is a good idea to place the white wines at the bottom on the shelves, where the temperature is colder, reserving the higher, warmer levels to the reds: in this way the wines are kept at temperatures closer to those to which they will have to be served.
Instead, the wine’s friend is the humidity, so much so that, if the environment has a high rate, the bottles can also stand up. In the case of very damp rooms there is some problem with labels that can be damaged. If the environment, on the other hand, is very dry, it can be avoided by installing an imidifier: it is the ideal solution, but certainly rather expensive, the same function can perform very well a lot of sand always kept moist.
Another important element is cleaning. The wine-cellar must not become a warehouse or a closet: do not make a dispensation of food supplies, let alone keep bins of gasoline or kerosene: the cork absorbs smells very easily, then transmitting them to the wine.
Once you have created a suitable environment, it is about choosing the bottles to accommodate you. Is there a perfect wine-cellar? An ideal selection for everyone? Certainly not. The ideal winery is ours, the one we have built with our choices, adapting it to our tastes and also to our eating habits. An advice then to those who start: attention to the fashions and advice of the “expert” friends.
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