A review of affordable wine storage systems

Collecting wines is one of the greatest pleasures of life – but the prospect of looking after and storing fine wine can sometimes seem a complicated and daunting process. Ideal Wine Company reviews the affordable wine storage systems, perfect for any wine collection.

It doesn’t have to be. Not all wine is suitable for long-term storage – many are best consumed within a few months or years of the vintage – however some wines will improve with age. Here’s our guide to how to store your wine at home – without having to invest a huge amount of money.

Ideal Wine Company wine storage
How can wine storage systems make storing wine easier?

Why store wine anyway?

There are two key considerations that you need to bear in mind when storing wine. The first is that you will be protecting your wine, while the second is that you are attempting to age it. The first consideration – merely protecting your wine – is most probably the most important aim of short term storage. The second, aging, is obviously only a factor if you’re looking to store it longer term.

Affordable options

So, what are the options? For short term storage, we recommend keeping things simple. For most wines that will be consumed within a few weeks or months, there is no need to worry too much about factors like humidity, vibration or temperature. Try to keep it at around 12C – but the most important consideration here is maintaining a relatively constant temperature. That means that the places people usually store their wine – in the kitchen, in the garage or in a shed – are completely unsuitable due to the fact that there is usually a broad temperature differential depending on the time of year – hot in summer, and extremely cold in the winter.

Finding a happy balance

A clean basement then is your best option – and we’d highly recommend you invest in a wine storage system to keep the bottles off the floor. You have a few options here too – wire racks are cheap, but can bend, while hardwood racks are odour-free and strong enough for the job. Try and avoid softwood systems as they can warp in the damp atmosphere. If you don’t have a basement, then under the stairs – or any cupboard away from the outside walls – is a great alternative. Remember again that a nice constant temperature is by far and away the most important consideration. There are plenty of plastic storage solutions that work well in these smaller spaces.

Longer term

If you’re looking to store bottles of wine at home for longer, but aren’t able to invest in an expensive wine cellar, then a wine storage cabinet is a viable – but still relatively costly – option. Once again, the idea is to maintain a constant temperature, away from light, in which to store your wine – fundamental principles that you’ll need to bear in mind when it comes to wine storage, however much money you’re looking to invest.

You can find out more about storing wines at home on our website.

What Happens To Wine As It Ages

We’ve all heard that old saying, “wine gets better with age.” Have you ever wondered why over time, the aromas, flavours and colours of wine undergoes complex changes, turning into something entirely new? To provide some insight, Ideal Wine Company explains what happens to wine as it ages?

Constantly changing

Industry expert Anne Krebiehl MW recently explained the wine aging process to Decanter. She described wine as a kaleidoscope, where the same components continually form new images. At varying speeds and combinations, the different elements of wine connect, disband, break down, hydrolyse and then reconnect again, creating constant changes in our favourite tipple over time.

Developing tastes

With this process, no wine will taste the same at any two points. When it comes to how different tastes develop, we know that they emerge due to the above described process, but little else. We still don’t understand, for instance, why hints of herb, petals, mushrooms honey, stone or earth may suddenly appear in a wine, or how fresh flavours can evolve to evoke dried or even candied fruits.

Aging reds

But we do know something about how age can alter a wine’s character. Take red wines like the Chateau Haut Brion 1996, a beautiful Bordeaux you can buy from Ideal Wine Company, for example. Over time in the “phenolic compounds” in these wines de-nature, creating long chains. This reduces the wine’s surface area, decreasing its astringency, allowing reds to become smoother over time. Sometimes, these chains also become so large, that they create sediment in wine.

Changing colours

The passage of time can also have a dramatic impact on the shade of wine. New whites typically possess a straw hue but as the days roll by, they become increasingly golden, before turning amber. Meanwhile, red wines are often crimson or purple at first. However, as they age, these products transition into fantastic shades of garnet and vermillion, reflecting their changing flavour profiles.

Going off

Does this mean that wine always tastes better with age?  Not necessarily. The higher quality the wine, the more likely its taste is to improve with age, so it’s always wise to buy fine wines. But wines can go off  when they’re exposed air, breeding bacteria that kick-start oxidisation. This is a big problem for wines with corks, which have little holes that let air inside the bottle, facilitating oxidisation.

Wine storage

So basically, it is key that as a wine collector, you learn how to store wine, so that it can benefit from, rather than suffer under, the aging process. It is wise to create your own wine cellar, with the appropriate temperature and ideal humidity for wine storage. Also remember to store wines with corks in them on their side, so the liquid can block these little holes, ensuring air cannot seep inside.