If you were to do a google image search of wine cellars you’ll see all kinds of grandeur, from modern, bespoke Spiral Cellars to mediaeval-looking dungeons fitted out with cast iron racks. For all this variety there are basic elements that all good cellars share: consistent temperature, darkness and reasonable humidity. As we all know, wine cellars are generally underground because this is the only place these conditions occur naturally. In an urban setting, it’s not so common to have access to an underground cellar and if you’re in a high-rise flat or apartment, there’s no chance. So how do you make sure your prized bottles don’t go off?
It’s not as hard as you may think keeping your home wine collection in good condition through the years. It can be as simple as keeping them in a closet far away from your water heater and make sure you don’t let your flat get too stuffy or over heated. In the UK this isn’t generally a problem apart from a few days in the summer, so as long as they aren’t exposed to dramatic changes in temperature they should be safe. In the rest of the world, there is an invention called air conditioning that is very fashionable!
"It’s not as hard as you may think keeping your home wine collection in good condition..."
If you are going the closet route, be sure to make sure it’s not one with a door that is baked by sun as this will raise the temperature inside quite a bit. Also a good idea is to place a sponge humidifier to help keep the corks healthy and prevent oxidisation of the wine.
For a longer-term solution you can go a step further if you have the space to invest in a mini-fridge. The ideal temperature for a wine cellar is about 13° C so don’t make it too cold or your wine won’t develop properly. Use a thermometer to establish the setting that gets you to the right temperature and then fill it up with your bottles while leaving space for a sponge humidifier.
You can always splash out and go for a climate controlled wine fridge where the only limit is how much you want to spend but for those looking to improvise, these tips will do the trick to make sure your wine gets to the table in the best possible condition!