Your personal cellar doesn’t have to be large, and all of the wines in your collection do not have to be intended for ageing. It’s just as meaningful to have a collection for drinking and enjoying! Pick wines that commemorate trips you’ve taken or restaurants you’ve enjoyed, or those mark memories you’d like to revisit. Consider also leaving bottles at the homes of friends or family so you can look forward to drinking them together.
Storage 101: Keep bottles horizontal so the corks don’t dry out, which can cause seepage and premature ageing.
Temperature: Storage temperature should be stable, because changes in temperature can cause the cork to expand and contract, letting wine seep out around it. The ideal temperature should be under 20°C (68°F). The natural ageing process of wine is slowed at lower temperatures.
Refrigeration: Don’t put wine in your regular refrigerator unless you’re chilling it for immediate consumption. If you don’t have a wine cellar, you can use a EuroCave or wine fridge to keep your bottles at the right temperature. Humidity: Humidity should be between 60 and 68 percent. At higher humidity, labels will peel off the bottles, while at lower humidity, your corks can dry out, leaving the wine vulnerable to the effects of oxygen.
Labels: Note the condition of the label to see if the bottle has been stored well. Labels cannot be expected to be perfect on very old bottles, and a pristine label on a very old bottle may lead you to question its authenticity!
The Neck: Wine is very sensitive to heat and humidity so you’re looking at the bottle for signs that it has been exposed to extremes of climate. High fill level (ullage) of wine at the neck of the bottle is a positive indication, while a lower level of wine may point to problems, and decreases the value of old bottles.