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What is a wine cellar?

Wine is a complex organic fluid that is easily spoiled over time if not stored correctly. It is affected by:

Get the wrong values for any of these factors and you will spoil the taste.

Above: degrade your brain the middle class way

If wine is stored properly, it will improve with age, become mature and richer in taste. If your wine collection is worth hundreds or thousands of pounds, this is essential and usually done first before staring a wine collection. And I don't mean your Laithwaites or Virgin Wine boxes under the stairs - although they don't usually last long!

A wine cellar is a place where the temperature and humidity are carefully controlled to optimum levels. It is also a way of storing your wine without damaging the rest of your building. A wine cellar has an active system to control the environment.

A wine room is a passive system, where an underground basement or cellar is used as it has a stable, lower, temperature. A smaller version of this is the wine closet. (Out of the closet, you drunkard!)

Temperatures for wine storage

7 to 18 degrees Centigrade is fine - apparently a French cave is about 13 degrees C so that is ideal. Variations have to be gradual. 10 to 14 degrees and wine will age normally, slowly bringing out the taste. Most wines have a best year for imbibing, which you should know, so you don't keep them too long.

What is needed for a successful wine cellar?

Active wine cellars

See also

Passive wine storage >