Talking about wine cellars, most people would think of romantic images of a hidden and dusty room full of vintage bottles.
In reality, wine cellars take many different forms and come in all sizes. Some are full of rich wood, some modernistic stainless steel. Some contain dozens of bottles, some hundreds. But one thing is true for all wine cellars: if they aren’t properly maintained or organized, they are just not a good investment.
Here’s how you can maintain your wine cellar.
1. Always Keep It Cool, Just Not Too Cool
The number one enemy of wine? Heat
Temperatures higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit cause your wine age quickly. Temperatures higher than that and your wine will be “cooked”, giving your wines with flat flavors and aroma.
But if the temperature in your cellar is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, can indeed help prevent your red wine from getting spoiled but it can dry out the corks. When this happens, air seeps into the bottle and ruin your wine.
Make sure to regularly check the temperature of your wine cellar. It should always be between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. No Lights Please
Light, particularly sunlight, is a problem for long-term storage. The UV rays can prematurely age wine and cause it to degrade.
This is also why most manufacturers use colored glass bottles. They act like sunglasses to the wine.
Meanwhile, light from bulbs won’t cause damage to the wine, however, it can fade labels which makes it harder to organize. Consider going with incandescent bulbs instead of fluorescent bulbs, as they emit less amount of ultraviolet lights.
If you have a growing collection, then you need to organize it.
First, you need to establish a separate wine section for everyday wines that you will drink. These wines need to be close to the door in order not to disturb the rest when grabbing a bottle.
You can then organize by varietal, bubbly or gifts for to make it easy to find the perfect bottle.
After that, you need to organize the longer-term wine storage.
We recommend organizing the bottles by them by the time needed to age. This will help make sure you don’t open a bottle too early, that you don’t forget about a great bottle in the very back, and that you don’t disturb your investments when grabbing an everyday wine.
4. Clean As Needed
Wine cellars, unlike what most people think, should not always be dusty with spider webs everywhere.
Modern wine cellars need to be cleaned regularly in order to keep them in top shape. This goes double for your wine fridge. Every so often, make sure to unplug the cooler—removing the wine and shelves—then wipe down the inside of the cooler with a cloth and address any buildup of frost.