Summer Cellaring Tips
Summer’s here and the weather is heating up. While shaking off the winter cold is great for us, it’s not particularly great news for your wine collection.
In a perfect world, every wine collector would have a secure, purpose-built cellar that’s dark, stable and climate-controlled. But this isn’t possible for most collectors. So, whether you are short on space, just getting started, or still working on that dream cellar – these handy tips will help you keep your prized wine collection safe from the heat this summer.
Be boring and predictable
As the old saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. But wine is definitely an exception to that rule. Your wines have the best chance of reaching their potential when they are cellared in a stable environment with as little change as possible. This prevents oxidisation caused by the expansion and contraction of the wine and cork – which can cause your wines to mature at a faster rate, impacting the quality of your investment.
Keep it dark and cool
Wine is most comfortable when cellared around 12-15°C. With temperatures often soaring above 40°C during summer, it’s important to insulate your collection. If a wine fridge is out of the question, look out for a dark space that’s well-away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat such as the stove or oven. For added climate control, you can cover your collection with a blanket for insulation and to block out any light.
Don’t let it get too dry
Those in the know say that around 75% humidity is the magic number. Given the hot and dry climate of our wonderful continent, it’s vital to make a little effort to keep an eye on the humidity around your wine collection. Doing so will help to preserve the condition of labels and help to prevent corks from drying out. Some simple things you can do include wrapping bottles in cling film or newspapers, or leaving a bowl of water beneath your collection.
Sit or stand?
We’ll save the “cork vs. cap” debate for another day. But here’s the general rule of thumb to follow: if it’s corked, lay it down; if it’s capped, standing’s fine. As mentioned above, it’s all about preventing oxidisation – which is when the outside air enters the wine bottle. Just as maintaining humidity prevents corks from drying out, keeping corked wine angled on its side keeps the wine in contact with the cork. This ensures the cork remains “swollen” in the neck of the bottle, creating an airtight seal.
Think about when you’ll drink
All the above factors can affect the maturation of your wines – either speeding it up or slowing it down – so it’s important to take into consideration when you plan on opening a particular vintage. These quick fixes are handy if you’re planning to drink them soon. But if you’re moving towards serious long term collecting, it’s worth investing in a more permanent cellaring solution such as a quality wine fridge or wine storage service.
If your collection is growing faster than you can find space, contact our team at MW Wines to find out whether our wine storage service is right for your needs.