Why Age Wine?
You’ve waited in anticipation
for that special occasion to open up your "good" bottle of wine you purchased a year ago. You invite a few of your good friends over to celebrate. With pride, you serve this special wine to your friends only to find out that it went bad and tastes like vinegar!
How can you prevent this?
Well, to start off, each wine must age a certain amount of years to get the best taste
possible. Every wine is different. Low-quality wines won't last nearly as long as high quality wines of the same type. Also, wines from good years last much longer than wines from poor years. Sulfites play a big role in wine aging. They’re natural preservatives found in all grapes. Sulfites allow the wine to "last longer", which let’s it age and develop all of those complex flavors we all love and enjoy. So if you buy a ‘low-sulfite’ wine, it will ripen and age quickly.
White wines such as White Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Beaujolais age quickly ranging from 0-5 years. Red wines such as Merlot, Bordeaux, Cabernet, Zinfandel can age 1-12 years. You can store both reds and whites in the same temperature environment, but serving your wine is
How do I properly store and age my wine?
There are 3 critical factors needed for proper aging and storage …Temperature, Humidity,
and Darkness in a stable & vibration-free environment.
Temperature is the most important factor in wine aging.
The ideal temperature for storing wine is 55-58 degrees. The experts say wine develops most harmoniously if stored in this temperature range with little or no fluctuation.
An excellent storage temperature would be 55°F with a fluctuation of plus or minus one degree. This scale is used throughout Europe and most of the world. The 55°F or 13°C makes historical sense since wine storage in France is typically in caves and the natural underground temperature is around.
“Aging” wine is a result of chemical reactions that take place over time. The
55-58°F range is the best temperature to make these changes occur. The effects of temperatures fluctuating over 60°F causes your wine to age faster, thus interfering with the proper chemical reactions and will have an undesirable effect on the bouquet of the wine.
The main purpose for humidity is to prevent the corks from drying out. The ideal humidity should be 50-70%. Most temperature and humidity controlled wine cabinets are equipped with cooling units to keep this humidity level. A standard refrigerator is too cold (around 40 degrees) and the humidity level is so low that it can dry out the corks. If the corks dry out, oxygen can leak through and damage the bouquet of the wine.
If you keep your wines in a dark closet space, you may want to place a temperature gauge inside to test out the temperature fluctuations. The best place is to store them is in a temperature-controlled environment such as a wine cabinet or wine cellar.
The second factor is Darkness.
The storage area for wine must be dark because ultraviolet (UV) light will damage wine by causing the degradation of otherwise stable organic compounds found in wine. The UV light can deteriorate the essence of the wine since these organic compounds play a big role in the aroma, flavor and structure of the wine.
Keeping your wines stored in these conditions will give them the proper home to grow and retain the value of your collection.