Wine 101

Aging Tips

Basic Factors that Affect Ageing

There are many reasons to age wine. Cellaring time allows all the elements in a wine (fruit, acid, oak, and tannins) to assimilate and develop a subtle balance, and optimize the wine’s ageing potential.

Light

Constant exposure to light produces chemical reactions in wine that cause it to deteriorate. Avoid fluorescent lights as they emit UV light and has the greatest effect on wines; white wines and champagnes are the most vulnerable. Try to keep the cellar dark when not in use.

Humidity

A relative humidity of 50-70% is the suitable range. Inadequate humidity may cause corks to dry out, lose their pliability and therefore allow air to get into the bottle. Too much humidity (over 70%) can cause mould to grow on corks.

Temperature

12-15°C is an ideal temperature for allowing the wine to age steadily without risking premature ageing or oxidation. A constant temperature is vital to steady ageing. Reduce frequent temperature fluctuations.

Corks

Synthetic corks are great for long-term storage of 1-5 years. They eliminate problems such as leakage and random oxidation, and are commonly used by commercial wineries. Agglomerated corks, are suitable for wines for up to 1 year of ageing. Agglomerated corks are appropriate for wines that are going to be stored for less than 3 years, as they do not have the more open pore structure of natural corks that allow more oxygen to enter the bottle to promote the maturation of the wine.

Sulphites

Sulphites help to preserve the wine from spoilage and oxidation. If ageing beyond 6 months, add ¼ tsp of extra sulphites to 23L of wine. This will ensure the safety of your wine (sulphite dissipates with age and is important for the long-term health of the wine).

Movement

It is natural for wines (especially high-end heavy reds) to shed some tannin during ageing. Agitation can cause bottle sediment to stay suspended, creating a haze.