Beginners Corner

Snooth User: jsncruz

Wine Storage in a Hot Country

Posted by jsncruz, Feb 17, 2012.

Hi all, I would like to receive some advice and comments.

I'm a newbie wine collector with the grand amount of 32 bottles (yes, I'm just starting) and storing my wines properly is a big concern of mine. I have some bottles that I would like to age until 2016, but I live in one of the hottest cities around the Philippines (Manila). I live in a condominium and I'm fortunate the passive cooling of the building is quite good.

I store my wines under the kitchen sink where the average temperature is about 24-25 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Farenheit?). Fluctuation-wise, it never goes cooler than 23, and never gets warmer than 26. I don't have any other option, really.

I store my screw-cap wines upright, and corked ones on the side. Vibration is a perennial problem as we get earthquakes quite often too. Any and all advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thank you, Snooth community!

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Replies

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 17, 2012.

I wouldn't plan on story wines too long at that temperature. Three or four years will end up being nearer 10 at lower temperatures. As has been discussed in other threads, you also run an increased risk of problems like brett when we're talking mid-70s storage.

For stuff you want to drink within a very few years it can work. If you want to grow your collection over time, though, you should come up with a more longterm solution.

Any family or friends with cellars?

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Reply by shsim, Feb 17, 2012.

You could invest in a good wine fridge especially if you have some good wines to age for awhile! Or find if there are places that store wine properly for you around your area. It might be rare in Philippines as is the same for Malaysia.. we just dont get wines to age there. I agree with dmcker about the temperature problem, it wont be good to age with that tmeperature range. You might also want to get a bottle chiller to get the wine to the right temperature before drinking? Wnes drank at the right temperature can be pretty different... I did not believe it at first... but I tried an experiment and it is kind of true!

you are near a subduction zone, that means plenty of shaking! Cant do anything about mother nature. You could try to damp whatever storage you have? I wonder if that is worth it though. I know buildings are built (in earthquake areas) such that they are allowed to shake so there are less stress on the building and if the building is taller, they should have a mass damper at the bottom.. but im not an expert..

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 17, 2012.

Yes, you'll need a better solution for storage!

It might eat up a few months budget, but you should get an active cooling unit (fridge) for your wines...It's better than improperly storing the wines you do buy.

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Reply by clifhenry, Feb 17, 2012.

As a general rule of thumb, if you're going to drink a white wine within 2-4 years of its production date, you shouldn't have a problem of any real concern; the same holds true for most reds (within 2-5 years). Any longer aging/storage palns than that, you should think about some sort of refrigerated unit, and they dont necessarily have to be big or expensive, at least not until you know how serious you're going to be about your new hobby.

Also, don't fret too much about the occasional vibration; remember, wines travel all over the world in cars, trucks, trains, ships, etc., and it does them no lasting harm. This won't be a factor of any significance unless you're dealing with wines of significant age and/or value; when you get to that point, you'll have had enough time and experience to know when to worry and when not.

In short, stop worrying and enjoy.  

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Reply by shsim, Feb 17, 2012.

Hello Clifhenry, so it is alright to not think about refrigerator unit for that time frame and temperature range? I was also thinking about wine storage at this point as I was worried about summer (San Diego).

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 17, 2012.

To get started, and with collecting/storing i'd recommend getting at least a Cuisinart 16 unit cooler, especially if you're in a warm weather climate. You can get them at Crate & Barrel for under $200.00

I have one that's been working well for nearly 3 years and another 2 years.  It keeps the wines at ideal temperatures, and great serving temps for reds.

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Reply by clifhenry, Feb 17, 2012.

Shsim, if you want to make that investment in refrigeration at this time, that's fine. Just don't feel that you have to do it right away, for the reasons I mentioned. I've spent my entire life in and around the wine industry, and I've had thousands of wine of all shades and colors. Many of them were stored under less than ideal conditions, including my own when I was very young, but I learned early on that common sense rules in wine as it does in most areas of life.

Prolonged exposure to light, heat, cold, too much or too little humidity, etc., will harm any food product over time, some sooner than others. However, if you exercise caution and only hold your wines for relatively short periods of time before drinking them, moderate temperatures (and fluctuations within those ranges), some casual light, and the occasional handling/moving/shaking, etc., is not going to do grievous harm to a healthy bottle of wine. On the other hand, one that starts off with problems in its chemistry is not going to be happy, even under the best of circumstances. There are many dozens of professional winemakers scattered around the worls who have learned that the hard way.

Again, relax and enjoy your wines. Don't make the mistake of overcomplicating the hobby/lifestyle; it's supposed to be fun. 

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Reply by shsim, Feb 17, 2012.

I will keep that in mind! My friend was convinced I was not doing my wines justice with them being on a rack in my storage closet so I got a little concerned about it. Thank you for your advice! And I agree! relax and enjoy some wines! At this point, I am definitely not ready to make an investment with my budget as a student...

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 17, 2012.

Hi all, and THANK YOU for taking the time to respond to my concern.

No, I don't have family or friends who have any sort of cellaring options, not anyone near in any case. My parents have a mini-cellar, but they are in Florida, an uncle who has a huge cellar is almost two hours by plane away. This worries me because I'm actually serious with this, and I've been scouting for good bottles that may keep 10-12 (even longer) years from now. I'm thinking future family events and celebrations and the like. I'd love to have a good bottle to open when those things happen.

As for the price of a wine fridge, $200 seems reasonable, but that's still quite a chunk of my monthly earnings. Will definitely need to save up for that so that I can get one a year from now :) By the way, we have no Crate and Barrel here; just departmental stores and specialty appliance stores. Time to hunt!

When I do get a fridge though, is it okay to store the wines for aging there and still keep my day-to-day wines in the kitchen-sink-cupboard-method? The wines I have for storage are 2004 vintages, and my usual dailies and weeklies are 2008 or younger.

Again, thank you to all who replied!

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 17, 2012.

Clifhenry's advice is spot on. Don't sweat the small stuff. For the immediate term your under-the-sink solution is fine.

But it's not, as I said above, for the stuff you want to store for 10 years or more. So start looking for longer-term solutions now, as your schedule allows (no stress needed). The ideal solution will always be passive, not active. But if you have no friends or families with houses that have or easily can have cellars, and don't want to pay for commercial solutions (I lucked out in having as a close friend a merchant with a large cellar--he lets me use a corner of it just for sharing an occasional bottle or three with him--which I would do anyway!  ;-) ). This helps in the large city where I currently live in a condo, not a house. Until you find any such solution, then active is good for the longer-term stuff, but remember to buy the largest capacity you can afford. It's a universal law of physics: wine storage space fills in an instant, long before you planned.....

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 18, 2012.

Man, that storage space provided for you is some blessing!

So I've been browsing around online catalogs for appliances stores here in Manila, and the average wine fridge costs something like PHP 20,000 (roughly $500). Am I seeing this correctly? Haha..

I've decided that once I get a nice storage solution, anything I acquire that's special or for the mid- and long-term will go in it, and as dmcker and Clifhenry said, the dailies will have to remain under the sink :)

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Reply by Luciana Zotz, Feb 18, 2012.

you can keep your dailies under the sink but don't forget to cool also the red ones before drinking cause 23degrees is not a nice temperature for them.

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 18, 2012.

Hi Luciana! Yes, I chill the bottle before serving the wine :) Thank you for dropping by!

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Reply by Luciana Zotz, Feb 19, 2012.

You are welcome. Good luck with your brand new cellar!

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 24, 2012.

Is PHP 77,000 (roughly $1,930) a reasonable price for a 120-bottle wine chiller?

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Reply by shsim, Feb 24, 2012.

Hey Jason,

It depends on the brand and what features they have... The prices for 120 bottle wine fridge probebly can cost between 1000- 3000 or more here. Look for a good trustworthy brand if you want to make the investment... what brand were you looking at?

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Reply by jsncruz, Mar 6, 2012.

There's Vinotemp, but I've recently found a 43-bottle Fujidenzo for about $500. Is this a fair deal..? The 100-bottle one is $1000 (Fujidenzo too).

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Reply by shsim, Mar 6, 2012.

The price seems about right.. but really do check out the features and what others have said about it (reviews etc).. I have not heard of Fujidenzo but that does not make it a bad brand! Ask around and check the warranty etc and return policy just in case. Honestly there are alot of ways to store your wines and i agree with what clifhenry said. As long as it makes sense for you!

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Reply by shsim, Mar 6, 2012.

Vinotemp is decent btw!

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Reply by JonDerry, Mar 6, 2012.

Yup, love my Vinotemp 48 capacity cooler. I was also able to take out about 5 shelves (15 x 750 of space) in order to store a case of mags, versatility's definitely a plus.

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