I buy wine an auction and when it is delivered to me, the wines from other collectors are either wrapped in plastic or put in the plastic bag (to protect the label).

Does anyone have any views if I can just store the wine in my cellar with or without the plastic bag.  Will it have any affect on the wine?  I am talking about long term storage, like 5 or 10 years.

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I have no idea whether this is actually a serious question or not, but are you serious?

First of all, five to ten years is not "long term" storage.

Second, you are asking whether it would have an "effect" on the wine, not an "affect". You want the noun here.

But how would a plastic bag over a glass bottle have an effect on the wine? Glass is impermeable, plastic probably is, so what exactly would happen to the wine?

You can leave your bottles wrapped up or you can take the bags off. If you have a really humid cellar, you will probably lose your labels to mold, so get a silver Sharpie or some light colored paint and write on each bottle what it is. If it's not too humid, then who cares if your labels are pristine?

Irontongue's question is perfectly reasonable, and I respectfully disagree with most of GregT's comments.

Five to ten years is long term storage.  80% of all wine sold in the United States is consumed within 48 hours of purchase.

It's unlikely that plastic wrap outside the bottle would have any effect, good or bad, on the quality of the wine inside the bottle, as long as the plastic wrap is clean and dry when applied, and of a type that is approved for contact with food and beverages.

Wine collectors and traders commonly wrap their high end bottles with plastic wrap (Saran Wrap etc...) to protect the labels from scrapes and scuff marks that could significantly reduce the resale value.  I don't know of any downside to wrapping bottles in clear plastic, or keeping them wrapped long term.  For example, I've never seen the Saran Wrap stick to the label and cause any damage.

I don't know if plastic wrap would prevent mold or mildew from forming on the label, but at least it would keep the label physically together with the bottle should the glue disintegrate over time.

Sharpie ink, paint, and other extraneous markings would likely reduce the resale value and I don't recommend their routine use.

Wine should be stored long term in a cool, dark, humid, undisturbed environment.  Most wine enthusiasts know that a little mold or mildew on an old bottle is not a bad thing, but a sign of proper wine storage.

The plastic is used to protect the labels during handling and transit from consignor to buyer.  I have kept them on mine just because.  No impact on the bottles or the wine if you keep it on.  I don’t think the plastic alone inhibits or promotes mold or mildew.  Removing the plastic is just an esthetic thing if you plan to store the wine in a fancy display cabinet.

Sunnylea57, always the astute collector, came across a great cellar that was being sold for unusually low prices because all the labels looked like hell - the original purchaser had wrapped his bottles with plastic wrap. S57 was kind enough to split me in on the purchase, and this '87 Dunn is the last of that lot in my possession. I've never tried to remove the wrapping, because plastic and label have basically become one entity. Was this an unusually humid cellar? No idea. The good news is, the wines themselves have been glorious.  

Bottom line: if you plan to drink the juice, who cares what the label looks like? If you plan to re-sell, figure out another way to prevent labels from coming in contact with anything that could damage them.  Store bottles in styro containers. Put each bottle in a sock. Or use those plastic net sleeves. But for the love of god, don't wrap them in Saran.  

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Agree with the latter comments above. I have a vapor barrier that always keeps my cellar above 70% humidity, to protect the corks. If I wrapped my bottles in Plastic wrap, the condensation that develops inside the plastic would destroy the labels over time, and probably result in mold growth between the capsule and cork.  Therefore, if your storage conditions are humid, remove the plastic wrap. Same holds for tissue paper- I've had red tissue paper that got wet and stained white labels.

I once off-site stored my wine. They had a controlled environment and had bought old high school lockers to use as storage units. So I had to just stack my bottle up and I put bubble wrap between layers. After a few years it became obvious that the labels were being harmed by build on moisture. However of course the wine was not harmed in any way.

May be reasons for plastic, but I remove all before I place in rack or cooler.  No  interest in resale or looks.  Just the juice.

Actually seldom have I received any bottles with wrap on them.  Even high price wines that I order, and never from Total Wine

Javachip - as highly as I think of you, we have to disagree. The OP asked about the effect, or actually the "affect" on the wine. Didn't say anything about resale value of the bottles or selling the wine at all. So I assumed he was asking about the effect on the liquid wine in the bottle, and I don't see the effect of the plastic wrap.

And we know that most wine is consumed within a few hours or days of taking it home. But if you're buying and storing wine, five to ten years just isn't "long term" unless you're only comparing to the bottles that are consumed as soon as you get them home. Five to ten years is almost nothing and in some places, wine isn't even released for five to ten years. When someone talks about long term, I'm thinking twenty years or more.

The OP is probably a one and done, but if he or she is interested, I hope they come back and give us an update.

And I hope you're doing well!!

Following up on VinT's post, here are two more examples from the plastic wrapped bottles we got. All the wines were incredible. Not a bad bottle in the lot, and they all showed much younger than anyone would have anticipated.

But the labels? Not so much. Lesson: plastic wrap is evil.IMG_2494IMG_2338

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Javachip: thank you for your response...you have restored my faith in these boards and yes, Gregt, it was a serious question.  I was going to actually leave Gregt's post unanswered but now that we have some people who are taking my question seriously, I will expand on my question.

The reason I asked this question is that some people no longer bottles wrap the label with plastic, for the exact reason Vint pointed out but instead put the entire bottle in a plastic bag.  So if nothing in the outside environment affects a wine's storage, why is it recommended to store wines in an odorless environment?  Aromas must be able to get in through the cork so will this have any affect, if I store it this way for many, many years?

I know this is a weird question but that is why I wanted to see if anyone had any views on this.  If I could google an answer to a wine question, I would have.  What I think I am getting is that people don't think there is any harm in putting a wine in a plastic bag.

And I know, it shouldn't make a difference how the label looks because it is the wine inside that counts but that is like saying everyone should be kind and patient to everyone else.  The reality is when you are drinking or collecting really expensive wines, the quality of the label does give you some idea of the storage conditions and the care the person took into storing the wine.

 

I can't say I've ever heard of anyone storing wine bottles in a plastic bag (I trust that's what you meant rather than pouring the wine into a plastic bag for storage ).  But if someone chose to do so, and given that some people warm their wine in a microwave who am I to guess what folks may do with their wine, as stated above there should be no impact on the liquid in the bottle.  But even if the bag has a perfect seal, the cork is not a perfect seal.  So I would expect some degradation to the label over the course of 5-10 years, worsening over really long term storage.

I have a decent sized wine cellar and have some extra space. One of my friends who stores his collectible wines in my cellar wraps each one with saran wrap. He does it for two reasons One already mentioned (protect label from scratches nicks but as per him equally important is to avoid wine staining from leaks/breaks/etc. Being that  I rarely flip my wines so none of the above is much of a concern and if I was gonna flip a bottle the people I would flip it to wouldn't be concerned about nicks/stains/etc either. 

I would suggest not using plastic bags (bulkier does not protect the label as well as saran wrap) and it your plan is to sell the wines then  I would suggest logging all purchases, scanning/logging receipts, tracking your cellar up time/cellar humidity/temperature and be prepared to furnish reports on the above when it comes time to sell the wine. I would imagine having the above will outweigh the nick on the label when it comes to value. 

 

irontongue posted:

Javachip: thank you for your response...you have restored my faith in these boards and yes, Gregt, it was a serious question.  I was going to actually leave Gregt's post unanswered but now that we have some people who are taking my question seriously, I will expand on my question.

The reason I asked this question is that some people no longer bottles wrap the label with plastic, for the exact reason Vint pointed out but instead put the entire bottle in a plastic bag.  So if nothing in the outside environment affects a wine's storage, why is it recommended to store wines in an odorless environment?  Aromas must be able to get in through the cork so will this have any affect, if I store it this way for many, many years?

. . .

And I know, it shouldn't make a difference how the label looks because it is the wine inside that counts but that is like saying everyone should be kind and patient to everyone else.  The reality is when you are drinking or collecting really expensive wines, the quality of the label does give you some idea of the storage conditions and the care the person took into storing the wine.

 

 OK. Most people never wrapped their wine in plastic. I don't know where you live or what you're buying, but it's a rarity, not a commonplace practice. The only people I know who store in plastic are people who have cellars carved into a mountainside that is extremely humid. Actually most of those guys make their own wine, but when they get special bottles from America or other countries and they want to keep those bottles from becoming covered with mold, they wrap them. To give you an idea of the humidity - there is usually a few inches of mold growing on everything and often dripping water. So the only way to preserve the labels is to wrap. The idea of putting it into a bag is because it's easier than wrapping individually.

As far as odors, that's just not true at all. Wine is exposed to all kinds of odors. There is no way that odors will work their way through a glass bottle or through a cork. The entire point of a cork is to prevent any exchange of air or vapor with the outside environment. The purpose of bark on a tree is to protect the tree and cork happens to be bark. If you knew how wine was transported from one country to another and the odors it was exposed to on the way, you wouldn't worry about it.

Finally the condition of the label matters if, as others have mentioned, you're interested in resale. But at my table I know how the wine was treated, so I really don't care about the condition of the label. Moreover, it's not exactly true that the condition lets you know how the wine was treated. You can mark and scratch a label accidentally when putting it into your cellar and then let it rest undisturbed for 25 years. That damaged label will tell you nothing about the storage conditions, nor will the wine in the bottle reveal whether some smelly guy was in the cellar every day.

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