The original wine cellars were actually caves. Cave is even the French word for wine cellar. So if you think about the environment of a cave: cold, dark, still and slightly humid you'll understand how to store wine optimally. Below are the 4 biggest enemies of wine that can hinder their aging process.
- Temperature Variations. The ideal temperature for storing ALL wine is 55 degrees. (Anywhere between 53 and 57 is fine). This temperature prevents wine from overheating or chilling, which would force them to either oxidize or freeze the aging process. The temperature must stay consistent. Wines in oscillating temperatures and changing environments can easily turn bad. Steady temperature is #1 when it comes to the rules for cellaring.
- Light. Having a dark cellar is extremely necessary. UV rays can easily damage wine by penetrating the glass. The wine cellar room I worked in was pitch black with the lights turned out in the basement. Ideal for keeping wines for long periods of time.
- Low Humidity. The corks, which are one of the key factors in protecting the wine, need a balance in humidity. A dry cork will crumble or allow air to enter the bottle in turn oxidizing an ruining the wine
- Vibration. Last but certainly not least, stillness is essential in allowing wines to age well and continue to drink beautifully. Excessive vibration can generate unneeded heat that causes corks to shift.