Private Cellar Checklist

Private Cellar Checklist

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Building the ideal cellar: 13 point quality control checklist

1. Temperature: cellaring temperature between 12ºC and 14ºC!

Temperatures much lower than this (under 10°) will excessively stunt maturation while those higher than this (above 16°) will prematurely age the wine, and not in a nice way: high 20°s will ruin a wine within days and anything near zero is very bad. Keeping the ambient temperature relatively stable is also extremely important. Ideally, you want to keep the fluctuations under +/-2°C per day

2. Humidity: Humidity of a cellar is between 65 and 75%!

Levels lower than this can cause the corks to dry out and shrink, allowing air into the bottle and causing oxidation.

Environments with a humidity level much greater than 75% will cause labels to peel, cartons to rot and bottles to develop mould. This will usually not affect the wine’s taste if corks are intact are airtight, but will definitely put a dent on potential resale value.

3. Lighting: As little as possible!

Light should be avoided, most especially sunlight, as UV light causes hydrogen sulfide compounds in wine and affects the tannins and color of the wine. Awine room certainly should not have any windows, and preferably it should be dark most of the time.

4. Airflow:

Try to avoid air blowing directly onto the bottles but make sure there is appropriate ventilation and air change (to ensure the cellar does not become stale)

5. No vibrations:

They affect the speed of chemical reactions in wine. This is however a relatively minor consideration for bottles being stored for a short time.

6. Security system:

This includes for family and friends!

7. Racking:

Ensure all bottles are laid on their side, keeping the corks moist inside with the wine.

8. Insulation:

Gaps indoors and windows need particular attention. A poorly insulated room which heats up in the day and cools down at night will soon spoil any wine.

9. Keep clean and avoid chemicals and strong smells:

Wine should not bestored where there are chemicals in the air (e.g. next to open paint cans) orstrong smells (e.g. in a cheese cellar). Keeping the cellar clean prevents otherbad odors and pests from developing.

10. Central heating:

Has been known to ruin many collections

11. Cellar records:

Keep accurate records of what’s in your cellar

12. Insurance:

Ensure your home and contents policy covers your wine

13: Turning the bottles:

An old wives tale! It’s best to leave wine alone.


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