While there’s nothing wrong with buying a bottle of your Louisvale Wines favourite and enjoying it on the spot, you might be looking at starting your very own wine collection. Wine can be a little finicky to store, especially in South Africa’s hot, dry climate, so here’s some pro tips from our expert team on keeping your budding collection happy and at the peak of perfection.
What Damages Wine in Storage?
Wine has 4 enemies, namely:
While the first and third are the key issues for the local climate, it’s worth keeping an eagle eye on the others, too. Heat is particularly problematic, because it speeds up the ageing process, but does it unevenly too. So instead of getting your wine ready quicker, it just loses flavours and gains some odd chemical compounds instead.
A little oxygen is needed for wine to mature, but if it gets too much, it will make the wine near undrinkable. This is why wine is stored on its side- you need the liquid in contact with the cork to stop it shrinking and drying out. The ideal storage temperature is 13 degrees Celsius. While having a beautiful wine rack on display is tempting, we almost never get those sorts of lows in South Africa. While a wine will be fine at standard room temperature for about 6 months, any more and it will set the wine back a ton.
Uv light is also a big no-no, and will leave you with a nasty smell (and taste). Delicate wines, like our Cape Chardonnay, will go dark brown and unappealing, too. Reds are a little more tolerant. Vibration is the little cousin on the damage scale, but it will still stir up the sediment you want to settle in the bottle, and create an unpleasant texture, although the taste will be just fine.
Storing Wine Properly
For short-term storage, wines you want to hold onto for less than 6 months, all you need to do is keep it away from the factors mentioned above and keep the cork moist. So a nice bar fridge where you can store the wine on its side will be enough.
For longer-term storage, a closet or pantry works well since most of us don’t have cold basements. You can also repurpose a dresser with drawers very nicely. You may need to do something to control temperature, however! It’s smart to build a little humidity in, as with cigars, to ensure the cork stays robust and healthy.
Lastly, but most importantly, make sure you’re only storing and ageing wines that actually need it. Many wines are meant to be drunk within a year or two of the vintage, and don’t need to be held onto. In fact, some wines can deteriorate with time, so don’t feel you have to store wines long-term at all!
The Louisvale Wines team is always here to help, so if you have any other questions about designing wine storage in our hot African climate, feel free to reach out to us!