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Reply to "Cellar / Aging - Can anyone help?"

Originally posted by New2wineguy:
When choosing the year to drink a bottle of wine, I have seen a differing range of years.

Sometimes a review will say that a bottle will benefit from a few more years of aging - and that is where my question will follow:

How can I store/age my bottles of wine? I do not own a personal cellar (though I have an unfinished cement basement if that may work), I do not yet have a specific wine refrigerator but that is something that I might be purchasing soon.

If I were to purchase a refrigerator, would that work similar to a cellar? And until I purchase one, what else can I do?
thanks for helping.

Welcome to the forums.
If you use the "Find" tab, and type in words like "Cellar", "Wine Cooler", "Refrigerator", and "Basement", I'm sure you will find several threads that discuss this.

As far as drinking windows go, it depends a lot on the wine and what you are looking to get out of it. The drinking windows published in Wine Spectator and other publications tend to err on the earlier side of drinking which is fine. If you let a wine age for 20 years, you will never know what it tastes like at 3, 5, 10 years of age, unless you have multiple bottles to try along the way. Some people find they don't like or can't appreciate older wines, and would rather drink them young. Many wines are made to be consumed at a younger age. You just have to learn which wines need age to show properly. You should take every opportunity you can to taste older wines, to see if you want to lay any down for the long haul. I personally love properly aged wines.

As far as a cooling unit goes, yes, it works similar to a wine cellar. If you have a basement, it depends upon where you live. For several years, I had a rack that I built myself in the corner of an unfinished basement in Michigan. I covered it with a blanket, and the temperature never varied outside of the 62-67° F degree range, usually hovering around 63, which is going to be fine for wines meant for personal consumption within 20 years or so. Several of my friends have stored top Bordeaux and Napa cabs this way for the past 20 years, and their wines have been fine. If your cellar is warmer, that could be a problem.
The goal is to keep wines at a cool (definitely less than 70° F), stable temperature, with minimal exposure to vibration and light. If you are buying wines for investment, or hope to taste a 50-year-old Bordeaux in 2055, I would suggest you build a formal cellar, to keep the wines at a stable temp of 55°. Otherwise, a cooling unit or a dark basement corner is fine.

I think humidity control is not terribly important, but an unfinished basement in most places where they actually build basements will usually be somewhat humid anyway.

Of course, these are my opinions, and anybody else on the forums that disagrees with me is simply wrong! Devilish

(I'm going to duck for cover now)
Last edited by redhawk