Beginners Corner

Snooth User: jsncruz

Wine Storage in a Hot Country

Original post 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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Reply by Degrandcru, Mar 9, 2012.

Hi JsnCruz,

I am living in Mexico City, which is quite warm as well and we get our share of earthquakes. I wouldn't worry about the earth quakes as long as your bottles don´t get damaged. As other mentioned before, imagine how bottles are shaken up on a seafood container to Manila. The temperature is an issue, 25 C is definetly too hot for long term storage. I have a 900 bottle underground cellar which is between 18 and 20 C on very hot days and I get concerned.

On the other hand you mentioned that $200 for a cooler would be a good chunk of your salary and wine is pretty expensive in Manila (it is in Mexico with the exception of Spanish wines, where you have a good choice and get good deals on).

You have to be aware that most wine sold is not made for long storage. The majority is going downhill quickly and drinks better young. Then there are many wines that can stand aging, but won´t get any better, so there is really no reason to age them either. Only very few wines really improve with aging and those are mostly on the (very) expansive side. I spend quite a good amount of money on wine, but only a very small part of my cellar is really meant to age. I have plenty of bottles that are ready to drink and too many that are still drinkable, but would have been better 2 years ago.

So maybe for now until your financial situation gets better a small fridge is all you need. Trust me, most bottles you can afford are ready to drink young and there are plenty of those worth drinking and learning about wine. Collecting wine for aging is a very expensive hobby; aging wine which is not meant to age is a waste of effort and money. I've been there and bought way too many bottles not worth aging. You mentioned you have some 2004 you want to lay down, are you sure they'd improve with aging or would they just stand up? I am into spanish wines and honestly all crianzas and most reservas of 04 are ready to drink. Only very few reservas and gran reservas (2004 not released yet) will improve from now and beyond. And those bottles are not on the cheap side.

So if I where you (and just not to repeat my own mistakes) would concentrate on enjoying, drinking and learning about great wines and not trying to start a big selection. Lay down bottles you really know there are worthwhile, especially with limited storage facility.

A big hug from Mexico!


Reply by dmcker, Mar 10, 2012.

Hola, Degrand. Long time no see! How is your cellar working out?

Reply by Degrandcru, Mar 10, 2012.

Hi dmcker, yes have been very busy lately, working and drinking lots of good wine. My cellar is working out very good, could be a few degrees cooler, but very stable temperature. For the wines I store (70% Spanish reds) its all I need. But as mentioned above I bought too much wine without really paying attention if its wine to lay down. None of it its over the hill yet, but I have plenty to drink within the next 2 years. Now I switched from buying quantity to quality (not that I bought bad wine, just not many to age). And the real enjoyment of a cellar is having plenty of those 2001 Reservas and Gran Reservas to start drinking in 2020...

How have you been?

Reply by jsncruz, Mar 11, 2012.

Hi degrandcru!

Thanks for the tidbits of wisdom! Yes, I've been learning that not all wines are meant for storage - it's been a fun experience to tell this statement to parents of friends who think and believe that wine (any wine) is 'better the older it gets'. I've been lucky to be involved here long enough to learn that this isn't the case.

I've also been having some words with a d'Arenberg staffer, and I've been receiving advice on wines that can age well (I love Aussie wines, especially shiraz!) so I'm concentrating this year on spending on Footbolts and Dead Arms (which would keep great for 10 years and more, with improvements of course). My little side jobs would hopefully fund a small wine refrigerator (about 40+ bottles) where I can slowly keep the shiraz wines I would like to age for the next decade or so. For other bottles, I'm slowly building a collection of 2006 Beringers and Talus cabs, as well as 2007 ones. 2006 and 2007 are sentimental years for me :)

Of course, I am hoping that by the time I have my own house, there will be a cellar underneath it! :) or at the very least, a temp-controlled wine room, hehe.

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