It is one of the greatest pleasures to be able to choose a bottle of wine from your own basement cellar, possibly one that you have been saving for a number of years, pop the cork, and share it with good company. You may marvel at the changes that have been brought on by maturity, and as an added bonus, you can boast about the price that you paid and congratulate yourself on getting such a good deal on it!
However, wine is a dynamic substance, and the manner in which it is kept has a direct bearing on both the rate at which it matures and the quality of that aging.
It is necessary to maintain a steady temperature, humidity, darkness, and quiet in the surroundings, in addition to having enough ventilation and being clean.
When constructing a wine cellar in your basement, there are several factors that need to be taken into mind, including the following:
Because wine cellars usually end up being too small for their owners’ needs, I would suggest that you design the biggest cellar you can fit into and manage, but this depends on how much extra space you have in your basement.
The first thing that is absolutely necessary is to set up a storage space that has a consistent temperature, no light, and no vibration. This is the bare minimum.
In broad strokes, one meter of ground is similar to three feet of polystyrene, which measures 100 millimeters (four inches). Therefore, if you are attempting to choose between an above-ground structure and an underground cavern, you must be prepared to dig quite a ways if you go with the latter option.
Your cabinet, indoor area, or outdoor building has to have enough shading, adequate insulation, and the absolute minimal amount of air circulation possible both in and out.
The goal is to maintain a temperature for the wines in storage that is between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius (50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit).
Temperature swings of up to one degree per week are acceptable for wine storage, but swings of more than that should be avoided. Seasonal temperature shifts do not affect wine quality.
Wines that are exposed to temperatures higher than 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) have the serious risk of deteriorating very quickly.
Wines that are kept in settings that are less than optimal will mature at rates that are substantially different from those that winemakers have in mind when they advise storage durations for their products. If you have a hygro thermometer in your basement, you will be able to get precise information on the temperature and humidity levels that are present there.
Although a well-constructed above-ground cellar or a well-dug underground cellar will require the minimum of additional temperature control, depending on the climate where you live or the position of your cellar, it may be necessary to use a cooling device that will provide complete temperature stability.
A wine cabinet that maintains a consistent temperature is still another option. Be aware that the estimated bottle capacity provided by certain manufacturers might be deceiving, and that the racks may be less than what you want, even if some of them can carry as many as 800 bottles. The bottles used for champagne are far more opulent than those used for Riesling.
Consider the finished wine to be your most effective ice block. The temperature swings experienced by wine may be minimized by increasing the bottle density.
If the ideal temperature ranges cannot be maintained in your cellar, you may want to think about storing your long-term wines at a facility that is specifically designed for that purpose.
The natural cork seal’s worst enemy is a climate that is very dry. As a completely natural seal, a natural cork is squeezed and pushed into the bottle before being inserted.
Because of the low humidity and the broken cork, the wine leaks out of the bottle, which increases the ullage, and air naturally moves into the bottle.
It is essential to maintain the cork in a good robust state and prevent it from shrinking by maintaining a humidity level that is moderate. Bottles with caps that screw on do not need to be stored in humid environments.
Even while the wine itself will not be affected, the labels may get moldy if the humidity level is too high. Although a humidity level of 70 percent is considered to be optimal for your basement, a level ranging from 50 to 80 percent is also appropriate.
A bottle of wine exposed to light will age faster than it would otherwise. This issue is more likely to occur with bottles that are clear, although ultraviolet light may get through even the darkest tinted glass.
The wine that has been exposed to ultraviolet light will be ruined since this kind of light causes the breakdown of ordinarily stable organic molecules, particularly tannins, which are present in wine. These chemical molecules contribute not just to the scent and taste of the wine, but also to its structure. If they weren’t there, your wine would have a dull and lifeless appearance.
Therefore, your wine will experience negative and permanent alterations if it is exposed to UV radiation.
Because they are more susceptible to the effects of light than other wines, sparkling wines need special attention.
Lay It Down!
Keep your wine bottles on their sides rather than vertically so that the wine can remain in touch with the cork. This will prevent the cork from drying out. It is possible that air will be able to enter your wine if the cork dries up and shrinks. Place it in your storage space with the label pointing upward. This will be beneficial in three different ways:
You won’t have any trouble identifying the wine. In order to examine the contents of your cellar, it is not necessary to shake any of the bottles.
The sediment will collect on the side of the bottle that is opposite the label, which will make it simpler to read.
There is a lower risk of harm occurring to the label. If you are putting wine away for investment purposes, a broken label can lower the value of your collection.
Building a home wine cellar in your basement is one of the best methods to keep wines in storage and maintain their quality over time. Before beginning any project, it is essential to acquire the knowledge necessary to successfully construct a wine cellar in your basement. The significance of doing so cannot be overstated. It will be easier for you to prevent complications in the building of the wine cellar later on if you plan things out beforehand.
If you follow the advice given above, you will be well on your way to constructing a cellar that will not only allow your wine to mature to its full potential but also be the object of your friends’ envy.