by Jamie Relth - Central Coast Magazine
Many things in life are said to be "like a fine wine" - to get better with age. But the axiom is not as simple as it sounds.
The process and care that go into preserving wine, enabling that simile to ring true, is often overlooked or underestimated. Many keep their wine on a rack in the kitchen or on shelves in a closet, patiently waiting for that magical transformation of aging to occur. In truth, many more elements contribute to a beautifully mature wine than just the passage of time.
Wine storage of many forms has existed in cultures throughout history. Most well-known are the caves and cellars first made popular in European villas and manors, which naturally maintained the conditions necessary to properly store wine: stability of humidity (50-70 percent), temperature (55-60 degrees), darkness, and stillness (no vibration). For modern houses, however, there are plenty of options for above-ground, stable storage that fits right in with interior decor, without such a major architectural project. The ultimate, "new generation wine cellars" can fit into anys space or budget - whether it's an added room, built in under the stairs, or in a freestanding cabinet - and add an element of sophistication and style to any home.
Ben Argov of Le Cache Premium Wine Cabinets says, "As appreciation for wine has increased, so has consumer knowledge of proper serving, storage and aging techniques. These trends have resulted in double-digit sales increases of wine storage rooms, cabinets and coolers." These units range, he says, from "purely utilitarian to highly aesthetic." John Bartz of Grotto Custom Wine Cellars & Cabinets confirms the latter, observing that wine collecting and storage are evolving, and in the process becoming more fashionable and more functional. "We're seeing a lot more cellars becoming showpieces for their homes," Bartz says. The wine room is becoming more of a place to gather and entertain guests, he explains, and more of the younger generation are requesting that cellars be designed into the floor plans of their homes. "Customers are asking for more art work, more premium woods, and more lighting" in their wine rooms, Bartz claims, bringing style and flair to what would be merely storage.
In fact, according to some sources, the emphasis these days lies more on the details and nuances of storage than on the wine stored. Some of those families so excited to buy a new house with a built-in cellar find themselves at a loss when it comes to filling them. Their solution is either to buy complete collections online or hire consultants to purchase the "right" wines for them, so that they have a full wine room overnight. No matter how the collection begins though, the point is that more people are collecting and seriously investing in both the wine and the racks.
Kari Leber from Vino Cellars & Accessories concurs, saying "I see people of all ages collecting wine. Usually they start storing in the closet and then soon realize that their bottles no longer fit in that space or their closet isn't cool enough." And by cool, we're sure she means the elegance as much as temperature.
But in all seriousness and practicality, if you do use a closet or garage to store your wine, it's worth it to test the conditions. Leber suggests to place a temperature and humidity gauge inside and see how much the temperatures fluctuate. But if your "practical" storage space falls short, Leber reminds us that your wine will take the blow: "If placed in a warm area, your wines will age faster... If you lack humidity then your corks can dry out and crumble. If you have too much humidity (over 75%), condensation can build up on the bottles and ruin the lables." Evidently, providing proper wine storage is more like creating a suitable, stable, and sensitive environment for a very fragile creature. Thanks to the feats of modern engineering and wine-consious designers, you can now buy equipment and storage installations that will control that climate for you, protecting your investments and insuring great taste, in the glass as much as in the home, for years to come.
Whether you decide to keep in in the closet or display it in a full-blown wine room, be wise and plan ahead to protect your wine investments. Afterall, we do live in a world class wine country - it is only smart to collect local wine when it's young and save it for when it has matured and accrued interest.
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About Le Cache Premium Wine Cabinets
Le Cache has been building premium wine cabinets since 1991 and has sold thousands of cabinets worldwide. We are committed to building high-quality products, offering straightforward pricing and delivering excellent customer service to our customers.