Spring is here – and with it all the possibilities for celebrating and entertaining with friends and family!
And if you’re one of those very sensible people who believe that a good red or white plays a vital role in any party – here’s a tip: you might want to consider how you’re storing your wine.
The bottom line is that whether you prefer to mature your favourite drop or drink it when it’s relatively young, it’s vital to keep it in the right conditions. Fluctuating temperatures, insufficient humidity and the excessive heat of an Australian summer can all be enough to spoil the delicious, rich flavours of that special drop.
Whether you’re serving wine in a casual or commercial context, the last thing you want to do is accidentally serve up a classic (read, expensive!) vintage that’s turned to vinegar.
The perfect conditions for your wine
Simply put, providing a controlled environment is vital to ensure long-term deliciousness!
The optimal temperature for wine storage is between 12ºC and 14ºC. Anything cooler will restrict the natural way flavours develop and become more complex, while, conversely, temperatures higher than that risk prematurely aging your wine.
That means, for example, you should be wary about keeping wine in your kitchen, whether it’s at home or your business. Storing it adjacent to an oven and stovetop is an obvious no-no, but even your fridge will produce a lot of heat during a compressor cycle.
You should also beware of keeping wine anywhere it is subject to direct sunlight because UV rays can damage the fruit flavours of your wine. Obviously that doesn’t give you much to room to move!
As a result, the best place will always be somewhere specifically designed to accommodate wine.
A natural underground cellar, of course, or a purpose-built walk-in wine cellar remain outstanding ways to prevent wine from spoiling and allow it to mature naturally. The best wine cellars will be located in a cool environment away from the sunlight – ideally a basement, which will require the appropriate insulation, the installation of a cooling unit and, of course, racking.
But if you don’t have the space for that kind of conversion, there remains one excellent alternative: a wine cabinet. These compact and convenient solutions are able to replicate the conditions found in the best natural underground wine cellars by controlling humidity, temperature, and UV light.
Ideal for the home, they are also a very practical commercial solution if you wish to store and serve wine in a hospitality context. In both cases, they are an increasingly popular item.
Coolers vs wine cabinet
Beware of using a regular fridge or what’s sometimes called a “wine cooler” – these will apply intense blasts of cold air and they remove ambient humidity, which will ultimately have a long-term detrimental effect on your wine.
The best examples of what is known as a “wine cabinet”, on the other hand, will feature a humidity-management system (which will act to preserve the cork), soft LED lighting to provide a darkened cavity space, UV-protecting tinted glass (protecting the wine from damaging light) and vibration-absorbing wooden shelves. A slow-cycling compressor is also a common feature, housed outside the unit on rubber shock-pads, to protect your bottles from vibrations, and ensure frequent air circulation.
With the choices on offer, decide on the best configuration for your purposes.
- The size and capacity of your cabinet is an obviously important consideration, which will be factored on the amount of available space – and, of course, the size of the parties you intend to throw!
- Meanwhile, if you’re less interested in cellaring and want something that’ll ensure your wine is ready to serve to guests or customers, consider a dual zone or multi-zone model. These enable you to keep both whites and reds at their ideal temperatures for drinking (6°-8°C for whites and 16°-18°C for reds) in separate compartments.
- Another important consideration is where exactly in your home you want to keep your cabinet. Some models can be installed to complete a seamless look in your kitchen or entertaining area – others are designed to remain freestanding. Whatever you do, be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight!
Want to win one?
Let’s face it, who wouldn’t!? The ultimate in sophisticated luxury and ultimate bragging right amongst friends and family (who’s going to be the most popular now eh!)
What do you think? We love hearing from you, so leave your comment below and tell us where you’d store your wine fridge!