On the blogby Alfred
November 7 2019

The optimal conditions for wine storage

by Sébastien Légasse

This week, we will talk about the optimal conditions for wine storage. Without getting too in-depth, you still have to respect certain rules if you want to keep your precious bottles in the best possible conditions. Poor conditions can lead to wine defects, making their consumption dangerous or, in less extreme cases, bring down a wine from a charming experience to a totally trivial one.

Humidity and temperature, two key factors in conservation.  

Even if your bottle will be opened soon or if you have the ultimate wine cellar, you should not underestimate the climatic conditions of our daily lives. Forgetting a case of wine in your car at -20° or +30° will leave its mark on the liquid. The freezing point varies according to the alcohol content and, for a wine with 13%, it will freeze at around -5° and -6°. You may have experienced this tragedy before by wanting to cool a bottle faster, not to mention the famous beer lost in the freezer on Christmas Eve…

In your dedicated bottle storage area, make sure that temperature changes are not abrupt.  A slight variation according to the season is not very serious, as long as you stay in an interval between 10° and 15°. In warmer temperatures, the wine tends to age faster. In colder temperatures, the cork will harden and this lack of elasticity will make it less waterproof, hence a possible contact with air which will oxidize the wine. It is especially important to avoid contact with air, which is why you should keep your bottles lying down.  The cork will be less likely to dry out in this way. As for the screw caps, the bottles can be kept in the upright position without any issues! You should also know that there is the possibility, for some of the finest wines, to change the cork (re-corking). Sometimes in the form of mobile clinics or directly at the Domain, experts remove the old cork, check the quality of the wine, fill it with the same vintage if the liquid level is low and then replace the cork with a brand new one. A back label is then affixed to inform of the date of the cork change. From then on, the bottle is ready for another 30 years!


The light, this unsuspected enemy.

You may have heard the expression that a bottle tastes like light. These aromas of “wet dog” or “boiled cabbage” are caused by an interaction between light and wine. Red wines are a little better protected than whites and champagnes because of the phenol contained in the tannins. The solution? Get a glass cellar specifically designed to cut harmful wavelengths or use red lighting, as it won’t affect your precious nectars. Fluorescents are to be avoided at all costs!

For more information, I invite you to read one of our blog entries dating back to 2015 that specifically talked about the effects of light by Guy Doucet: https://alfredsommelier.com/en/what-are-the-impacts-of-light-on-wine-conservation/


Vibrations and odours

An oil tank and or vegetable cellar are not good companions to your bottles. The cork stopper, allowing an exchange of air, could possibly transfer unwanted flavors to your wine.  As for vibrations, they can affect the preservation capacities and the taste of your bottles, in connection with the sediments present.

By respecting these basic conservation tips, you will optimize the aging of your bottles and reduce the risk of being disappointed when its is finally time to open one!

Here are some suggestions for this week:

Juvé y Camps Brut Cava

Sparkling rosé wine, 750 ml

Code SAQ : 12276848 | Regular price : 23,65 $


Emile Beyer Riesling Grand Cru Eichberg 2016

White wine, 750 ml

Code SAQ : 13992408 | Regular price : 59 $


Alain Voge Saint-Péray Fleur de Crussol 2016

White wine, 750 ml

Code SAQ : 14114359 | Regular price : 70 $


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