Ask a Sommelier: Storing wine

Q: I would like to build my small wine collection to cover a variety of situations and occasions. What types of wines are must-have basics of any collection? I am also thinking of purchasing modular racks to store my wine laying down, thus preventing the corks from drying out. Anything else that I need to keep in mind when it comes to proper wine storage? 

Like any other collection, a wine collection should reflect its owner’s tastes. Do not feel you should collect a particular formula. Holding a bottle of wine you hate is like keeping a pink skirt in your closet when you always wear black: it will stare at you accusingly every time you open the door. When you finally throw it out, or try it, the guilt is almost worse than the annoyance of keeping it.

Start with what you like, and select wines that will suit different occasions: good company wines for every day; good entertaining wines for once-a-month occasions, including a few more intense, complex and interesting wines; and splashy and sensational wines to celebrate those most wonderful occasions!

To be prepared no matter who arrives for dinner, include a selection of red, white, sparkling and sweet. You might also buy a few bottles of each wine, to try on several occasions, or to enjoy the same wine with a big group.

If you want to cellar wines over a longer term (more than a year or so), be sure to do a bit of homework, and ask a Sommelier or one of our wine experts about good choices. Not all wines are intended to age.

Finally, you are right to keep storage conditions in mind. Wine is delicate, and it enjoys the mushroom treatment: cool, moist, quiet, and dark. The worst possible conditions are in the kitchen, where light, vibration (especially from the refrigerator), temperature fluctuations, and humidity changes are all factors is the wine’s lifespan.

If you are looking for something a little more involved, Genuwine Cellars is  Winnipeg-based custom cellar builder who building residential and commercial cellars all over the world.

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