Wine Care Guide

Wine is a food. It is created through two naturally occurring living processes, the growth of grapes on the vine and the conversion of the sugar in those grapes to alcohol by yeast. Born out of life, wine

is a complex balance of carbohydrates, phenols, amino acids and other components that are easily affected by physical or chemical changes.

For hundreds of years, wine has been stored in chilled damp cellars to mature. It has only been fairly recently that we have understood what really occurs inside the bottle during the aging process - why wine becomes enriched with age and what can affect wine negatively during the aging process.

General rule of thumb for long term storage of wine is 54-57 degrees (12 to 14C). The storage temperature depends on the wine's age and how long you wish to store it. If you intend to drink your wine in a year or two, a warmer temperature 15 to 18C (60-65F) will speed the development of bottle bouquet. A 7C (18F) increase in temperature will double the rate of chemical reactions. Storage at elevated temperatures more than 21C (70F) causes undesirable changes as various reactions are accelerated, but at different rates. The result is a lack of balance in the aging process. Even fluctuations of more than 2 to 4C (5 to 10F) are undesirable.

On the other hand, if you intend to keep wine for a longer term, cooler temperatures are desired & required. Quality white wines are usually consumed sooner than red wines but can benefit by cooler storage. As white wine ages, the fruity characters disappear more rapidly at warmer temperatures.

Wine corks are made from the bark of the "cork oak" tree. As corks tend to deteriorate at about 10 years, we need to be conscious of storage conditions. Like wine, the rate of deterioration will be affected by temperature and humidity. Warm or especially humid environments cause growth of molds, which attack both the cork and the label. Insufficient humidity may cause the cork to dry and crumble, in which case it should be replaced.

When wine is stored on its side, the cork remains wet. As long as it is wet, the transmission of air through the cork into the wine is minimal. If the wines are stored on end and the cork becomes dried out, oxygen in the air will quickly cause chemical changes in the wine, spoiling it. The cork may become loose due to changes in pressure, which may cause a leakage of wine or permitting exposure to air.

The wine aging process is also negatively affected by vibration. These formations of the complex molecular structures that give wine its depth.
At Rosehill we build wine cellars that are designed to give your wine a consistent environment throughout the aging process. We insure an ideal temperature, humidity, and vibration free wine storage. California redwood is often used for the racking system because it responds well to the cool, moist environment of a wine cellar. Wood/stain with odor, off gassing or any other smalls in your cellar may be absorbed into the bottle as it matures in the cellar. Proper wine storage provided by Rosehill Wine Cellars will ensure you enjoy your wines to the fullest.

Summary of Key factors in wine storage

1. Temperature - A Constant Temperature of 50-57 degrees is considered ideal for wine to reach its peak. Maintaining the appropriate temperature while avoiding drastic fluctuations are the most essential for proper wine storage.
2. Humidity - The humidity levels should ideally be between 50-70%, no higher, no lower. Humidity levels assist corks to retain their sealing ability.
3. Darkness - Ultra-Violet light can cause oxidization of the tannins.
4. Lack of Vibration & Storage - Vibration disturbs the slow process of biochemical evolution in wine and is often fatal to finer crus. You are better to keep wine in one spot as opposed to continuously moving around.
5. Natural Ventilation Allows elimination of odor build-up or mold.
SERVING at the right temperature (excerpt taken from L'esprit & le Vin - Golden Rules of Wine Tasting.)

To get the most out of your wine-tasting, serve at the following temperatures:
Ideally, whites should be served between 8C and 12C (great whites at 13C or 14C)
Young, soft, light reds are put to their advantage when served chilled at around 12C.
Other reds should be served between 15C and 18C depending on their age and robustness.
Champagnes should be served between 8C and 10C.

 

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