Whether your wine collection includes an award-winning Chateau Lafite 1787 (valued at over $156,000) or a Screaming Eagle Cabernet (which you would have paid $500,000 for), a vintage bottle can easily be the most valuable item in your home. Of course, great wine isn’t always about price. Collectors may also have more reasonably vintage wines they are saving for a special occasion — be it an engagement, graduation, or promotion. When you invest in wine then you know that the bottles are just the tip of the iceberg. You will also need to ensure that temperature, humidity levels, and light are just right so that your bottle is in tip-top condition when you feel the time is right to savor its contents.
Ensuring the Temperature is Right
Vintage wines should not be stored in a standard fridge. Normal household fridges are meant to be cool and dry but wine should be kept at between 45º and 65º Fahrenheit. A dedicated freezer for your best wines is key so if you can only invest in one small freezer, make sure to keep your most expensive bottles in it. Ideally, your wine fridge should be kept in a separate area, to ensure it isn’t opened and close frequently or used for other items.
It is important to keep wine corks humid since if they become dry, air can find its way into the bottle, thus oxidizing your wine. Store your bottles in an area that is humid and moldy, on the other hand, and wine can also be damaged. Another way to prevent corking is to store wine horizontally. This will keep the cork wet and stop air entry altogether. Side storage is particularly important in the case of vintage wines because they are usually kept for longer periods before being consumed.
Preventing Mold Growth
Vintage wines should be cleaned like a precious antique: with care and regularity. If you are an art lover in addition to a wine collector, then you know that vintage items need to be cleaned at certain times of the year. Like wine bottles, antiques should be kept in mold-free zones, since mold can destroy textiles, furniture, and wine. After all, mold needs four things to grow: darkness, the right temperature, moisture, and a food source —which in this case is wine. Ensure humidity levels are not too high in your wine fridge; keep them at between 55% and 75%. Anything lower may result in corked wine while higher levels may result in your cooler developing mold. You can also use natural moisture absorbers such as baking soda if you see signs of condensation (such as water droplets forming).
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