Storage & Service temperatures

26/08/2020

Whenever you read about 'ideal' storage conditions for wine they always start with the same description which is, in short, "anything but a yacht"...

A dark space, at a constant and cool temperature, free from vibrations and with a stable humidity level... Good luck finding that on board!

A set-up of professional wine fridges is obviously the ideal but if you have limited storage options available then just do the best you can! Here are a couple of other ideas;

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1. Prioritise the purchase of wines intended to drink in the near future rather than planning long-term. Keeping fewer wines for ageing on board will mean you can prioritise your storage spaces more easily and will also keep your risk of spoiling wines to a minimum. Ensuring a healthy stock rotation is the real key here. When you re-stock wines, employ a first in-first out system to avoid keeping bottles on board for too long.

2. Look in to storing some of the rarer and older wines in a land based cellar - be that a villa or a professional wine storage facility. Even if this space is not professionally maintained, if it is a cooler, more stable temperature and not constantly rolling and vibrating then this will be a substantial improvement!

3. Purchase a small wine fridge that can be used to store the highest value / most at risk bottles of wine under more optimal conditions.

At the very least try to ensure that your wines are stored horizontally, in a dark area with a constant temperature. Wines should ideally be brought to service temperature just prior to serving but for larger dinners or events, always prepare more bottles than you think you'll need, just in case!

Storage

Ideally your entire wine collection (including rosé and sparkling wines) should be stored in an area that is kept to between 12-15° C.

Get as close to this as you can but, perhaps more importantly, ensure that the temperature in this area is as stable as possible. Constantly fluctuating temperatures outside of our ideal range can be far more harmful than having a constant temperature just above or below. It is estimated that wines stored under fluctuating temperature conditions can age 3 even 4 times faster than those cellared at a stable temperature!


Service

The most important factor here by far is client preference! Regardless of the generally accepted "correct temperature", the job of any wine is to be enjoyed by its consumer. If you enjoy your Sassicaia chilled then so be it - pop it in the fridge and enjoy!

The basic principles to bear in mind are;

1. The cooler the wine, the less aromatic it will be - the warmer it is, the more aromatic it will be.

2. Low temperatures can accentuate acidic, bitter and tannic characteristics - warmer temperatures will minimise these characteristics.

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