If you are an avowed noncollector who never has more than one-or-two month supply of wine on hand, you do not need to worry about how your wines are stored. You can keep your bottles lying down on the rack in the den or the dining room or any other room, as long as they are not right next to the radiator or in direct sunlight. Even if they are standing upright, they will survive for a few months.
If you have decided to collect a few bottles, however - or if you discover that a wine collection is happening to you – please take heed. If your wines are stored poorly, disappointment after disappointment is the inevitable outcome of all your efforts.
Good wine storage not only can protect your fine wines from early demise, however also can give you courage to age wines that need to be aged. Without proper storage, fine wine is consumed either long before it reaches its best drinking period, or it dies a premature death in the closet, garage, or warm cellar.
The Passive Wine Cellar
You might be fortunate enough to have conditions suitable for what is called a passive wine cellar. However, unless you inherited a castle in Scotland, this is highly doubtful. If the place where you intend to store your wine is very cool – below 60°F – and very damp -75 percent humidity- all year around, you can the lucky owner of a passive cellar. It is called passive because you do not have to do anything to it, such as cool or humidify it. Usually, only deep cellars completely below ground level with thick stones or comparable insulation can be completely passive in most temperate climates.
If You Can’t be Passive, Be Bullish on Wine Storage
Most of us are neither fortunate enough to have a passive cellar or fortunate enough to be able to create one without extraordinary expense and trouble – such as bulldozers, wrecking crews, and so on. However, second best – an artificially cooled and humidified room – is still far better than nothing.
Creating your own climate controlled wine cellar; there are some key features you should be aware of for optimal conditions. A good storage area should be cool – ideally, in the 53° to 59°F range. The temperature should be fairly consistent – wide swings in temperature are not good for the wine. The area should be damp and humid – with a minimum of 70 percent humidity and a maximum of 95 percent so mold does not set in.
The area should be free from any vibrations, which can travel through the wine; heavy traffic and motors going on and off – such as washers or refrigerators – are all...