Useful advice for building a home wine cellar
wine cellar – Wine is made to be drunk. Some people believe that collecting bottles is meaningless , that the ideal would be to carry that collection in our taste memory. However, it is very nice to have a collection of prized bottles at home.When we like a particular wine very much and believe that has the potential to age in bottle, we can take home several bottles and uncork them in different periods to notice their evolution. For this it is necessary to consider certain basic principles that will make your wine cellar an optimal place of storage.
You must choose a wooden cabinet or drawer ideally, that you can locate in a dry, cool place, where it does not suffer abrupt changes of temperature. Avoid direct contact with light, with strong odours and vibrations.
Consider the following factors to build your wine cellar:
- Temperature: it must be constant. The abrupt changes of temperature negatively affect the wine, transforming it and causing it to age more prematurely. Ideally, install a temperature meter and check that it stays below 20 ° C. Ideally, you are a looking at a range between 12 C and 18 C
- Lighting: light accelerates the oxidation of wine and negatively affects its taste and visual characteristics. If you have to have light in a cellar at home, it must be artificial light, dim and only on when required.
- Moisture: This is one of the most important factors in the storage and conservation of wine. It must be controlled at a medium level, approximately 70%. The excess of humidity could favor the conditions so that fungi in the cork develop, which would finally negatively affect the wine. On the other hand, an extremely dry environment could dry the cork and cause the wine to eventually oxidize.
- Vibrations: They should be avoided at all times in your cellar. Consider your wine as a fragile living being that must be maintained in very peaceful conditions. Excessive vibrations may cause fatigue.
- Ventilation: it is recommended that your cellar have a ventilation system that guarantees the circulation of air inside. This would help to purify and release the environment of possible bad odours that could have been developed by the external environment.
The good news is that many Quebec homes have the criteria described above. If yours does, then you can create a “passive wine cellar,” i.e., one that requires no mechanical temperature- or humidity-control systems.
However, in other buildings, such as multiplexes, it can be harder to meet the conditions for satisfactory wine storage. In some smaller apartments and poorly insulated dwellings, it can be quite difficult. In those circumstances, a simple wine fridge can be a practical solution to ensure bottles are always at the ideal temperature for drinking.
If you want to ensure optimal conditions for wine aging—for instance when the natural environment in your home fails to provide them—you’ll want to invest in a quality refrigerated cabinet. The flip side is cost. A reliable wine cabinet could be an expensive proposition.
To make an informed decision, you could consult diverse consumer review reports or visit any specialized wine boutique of your choice.
Vibrant South African wines!
If I can think of a new world producer that it is making some really exciting wines that would be South Africa. Not long ago, I assisted in a press lunch hosted by Wines of South Africa where I had a chance to taste a selection of wines from some of their finest producers. Below my favorite picks currently available at the SAQ
Here are some interesting facts about South African wines ( Source: Wines of South Africa)
- Currently, South Africa exports around 450 million litres of wine
- Vineyard area comprises over 100,000 hectares of land
- South Africa is committed to sustainable viticulture
- South Africa is the 9th largest producer of wine in the world
- Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted variety in South Africa
In South Africa, viticulture takes place south of the equator at a latitude of 27-34°with a clement Mediterranean climate. The Western Cape is cooler with suitable conditions that are ideal for growing a classic range of wine grape varieties. The traditional winegrowing areas along the coastal zone are rarely more than 50 km apart from the ocean and benefit from coastal conditions such as cool sea breezes. The temperate climate features warm summers and cool winters with frost rarely an issue
In South Africa, the grape varieties grow are generally international and include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah for red wines and Chenin Blanc (or ‘Steen’), Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay for whites. Pinotage is also popular and was created in the 1920s by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault. This native variety gave rise to the Cape Blend, which is generally made from Bordeaux varieties along with a small percentage of Pinotage.
The last few years have seen amazing developments in the South African wine industry. South African winemakers strive to produce honest, elegant wines, more reflective of the terroir, with lower alcohols and less intervention is slowly gaining traction.
Recommended South African wines:
Mulderbosch Steen Op Hout Chenin Blanc 2017. SAQ # 12576921, $17.95
Aromas of white nectarines, pear with cantaloupe as well. On the palate, vibrant with a good acidity and floral aromas. Crisp finale. Perfect wine for light Asian style fish dishes.
De Wetshof Estate Chardonnay Limestone Hill 2017 SAQ # 12862564 $17.30
Ripe nose of peach and pastry cream. On the palate, a smooth texture with pleasant aromas of yellow apple, grapefruit and quinine. Would pair well with veal cream based dishes.
Boschendal Lanoy 2016 SAQ # 13621471 $15.00
An easy going red that display fresh fieldberry fruit with spices such as cumin and touch of dark chocolate. On the palate, very elegant with subtle tannins and a lingering finale. Excellent wine for your weekday BBQ’s.
Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2015 SAQ # 13123595 $23.35 ( The 2015 vintage will arrive in November at the SAQ. The 2014 is currently available)
A fantastic Bordelais blend that has more in common with a left bank Bordeaux than a South African wine. Powerful aromas of blackcurrants with licorice and tobacco. Round, fresh with fleshy tannins and a long finale. Buy a few bottles when it arrives and put it in your cellar.