Wine Talk

Snooth User: LZel

Makeshift wine storage

Posted by LZel, Jan 24, 2010.

So I'm just starting to get into wine and yesterday I bought a decent 2007 Malbec from Chili - I kind of wanted to age it for a year or so and maybe start a small collection of wines to age. I don't REALLY want to buy a wine refrigerator but maybe I will have to if I want to age wines. I was wondering if you guys thought storing the small collection in a cooler (like a picnic cooler) in a closet would work well, or if I am running risk of ruining the wine?


Reply by whitealec, Jan 25, 2010.

If you only intend to keep your wines for a year, on average, then you are probably OK as long as there aren't large swings in temperature over the year. If you buy wines that you want to age for longer periods of time, you take on more risk by not storing them in a properly controlled environment (55-60 degrees temp with 60-70% humidity). As an alternative to laying out cash for a wine refrigerator you might want to check out any commercial wine storage facilities in your area.

At the end of the day a constant temperature is more important than a perfect temp (55 degrees) as long as the temperature doesn't exceed 75 degrees. Also, as you probably already know, your regular refrigerator is a lousy option as both the temperature and humidity are too low for storing wine long term.

Hope this helps.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jan 26, 2010.

Whitealec is pretty much spot on.

I can't add much but will say that having proper store, be it a wine fridge or a cellar or off-site storage, can change this hobby in many ways. Some good, some less good. Just a something to consider before one dives into wine storage.

Reply by WJTronoski, Feb 9, 2010.

Reading this, I'm curious in what ways does having a proper store change this hobby? I have been considering a cellar, not right now but perhaps down the road. I'd like to understand the pros and cons better.

Reply by GregT, Feb 10, 2010.

Well, I just wrote a long rant about aging wine in the thread under screwcaps. So take a look at that because it tells you some of the things that will happen. You don't age wine so it's the same in 10 years as it is today. You age it because you hope it develops into something very different that is impossible to obtain without age. If you like the way wine tastes and feels when it's very young, then you won't care to age it. But if you've had a wine that's got 20 years or so and it's something you like, your approach will change.

And FYI, the regular fridge isn't too cold for your wine In fact, colder isn't a bad thing at all. It slows down many reactions, the growth of bacteria and yeasts, and keeps the wine drinkable. Very cold temps might slow the aging down to a point at which your wine in 10 years hasn't moved much at all from today, but it won't hurt the wine. The problem people have with a fridge is that it's dry and it shakes as you open and jostle things. But I've kept bottles in the fridge for a long time. Better there than in a place where the wine is too hot.

The pros to having a proper cellar are that you have a good place for your wine rather than a makeshift less-than-perfect place. There are no cons in having a cellar that I know of, other than the fact that you pay a little for electricity to keep it cool unless you have a really good passive situation. And of course, you end up buying a lot of wine.

Reply by chadrich, Feb 10, 2010.

I do think off-site storage would in fact change things for many of us. Of course the primary enjoyment is in drinking the wine.

But for me there's a visual and tactile experience of going into the cellar, looking at the bottles, selecting what to drink, arranging things, etc.

And there's a tie-in (at least for me) to collecting things. I'm a wine collector in the same way some people are stamp collectors (well, except that I will eventually drink my older wine, while I guess one wouldn't ever mail a letter with their upside-down-airplane stamp). Nonetheless, if I had a stamp collection that was stored in a bank vault somewhere, I'd miss the ability to look at it, show it to friends, etc. That's one of the critical satisfactions that come with collecting something, in my opinion.

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