You may decide to build a wine cellar, but you’re unsure which arrangements will work. It would be best if you had coolers, racks, and bottles that should look organized. You can know more about racks on this site here.
Whether you’re holding on to the red wines for years or you’re just starting your first collections of bottles, knowing what you should do in the cellar can significantly help. A well-curated selection of over a hundred bottles and their stacks will be the keys to a successful collection. To get your collection started, look into the best wine clubs so you can get a few bottles of wine each month.
Wine Cellars 101
A well-organized collection can prevent you from opening the bottles too late or too soon. Another thing is that you can allow some gaps in your collection, especially if you’re eyeing a specific bottle. If you have gaps for the best offerings, you can make better decisions when buying. Another advantage of leaving a gap is you can select good champagne for special occasions faster.
About Corks and Bottles
When the cork first hits the bottle, the wine should be aged on the side where it’s on. The cork should often come in contact with the wine to prevent dryness and to maintain its moistness. Since dry corks shrivel faster, you should avoid this from happening by keeping the liquid tilted to the stopper. Anytime that ad cork shrinks, the rapid effects of oxidation can almost immediately be felt, and it will destroy the contents in just a short time.
Another thing to do is to screw the top wine cellar well aside from the cork. This way, you wouldn’t need to make the extra effort of getting them on their side.
Some of the collectors in the industry may have gotten large format bottles. These are the norms in any connoisseur’s collections because wines may remain stable when placed in 750 ml or larger bottles.
Humidity and Temperature
You need humidity of 55 to 75% when it comes to cellars. The constant temperature that should be maintained in the room is about 55 to 59-degree Fahrenheit.
It’s crucial to block all the windows and lights that may come into your cellar. Darkness is very important in aging because the sun’s ultraviolet rays are known to spoil some excellent bottles of Pinot Grigio or Merlot.
If you’re planning to age your wine for over a year, it’s essential to invest in an excellent cooler to help you down the road. You can install through the wall wine cellar cooling units that are made for basements. A refrigerator, facility, or wine cooler that is exclusively made for wines can be your best friend.
What Should You Store?
The bottles that you may see at your local grocery stores may be designed for early consumption. If you’re looking for drinks that you can age in several years, you should be looking for the following traits:
- Moderate or Highly Acidic Wines – The high acidity feature is essential. As the contents begin to age, they will lose their acidity and develop blends of flavors over time. The acidity must start higher than the normal range.
- Those with Higher Tannins – The red wines with higher tannin content should be stored in a cellar for some years. The polyphenols contained in the tannins are the ones that will stabilize the flavors and colors so that the owners can enjoy their drinks better.
- Balanced Levels of Alcohol – One of the catalysts of the molecular breakdowns in many white wines is alcohol. This is why you should look for bottles that have balanced levels of this substance. However, this may not be true to all as this does not usually apply for Amarone Della Valpolicella, so ensure that you ask for more information about this.
- Sweet Hints or Notes – You need to store ones with a sweetness that is similar to jam. The sweetness acts as a kind of preservative, and these are the reasons why dessert wines age well.
Tips to Organize your Cellar
No two cellars are perfectly similar to each other. There are bound to be some differences, and your arrangement should depend on your personal preference, size of the area, and collection of bottles. The following are the tips that may be helpful to you:
Respect the Grid
The grid system is developed to help you locate the prime bottles for consumption, and you should be able to find them with ease. Tracking the bottles should be accessible regardless of the size of your collection.
You need to assign a letter and number on each row and column. This is similar to that of a spreadsheet where you also take note of the labels on each row and column. With this system, you’ll be able to find the exact location of the specific bottle, and there are no delays during celebrations.
Place the Valuables Out of your View
The temptation is going to be a problem for many owners. You need to place the bottles that you intend to mature for a more extended period of time in an obscure place. This is helpful so you won’t be tempted, and the shelves should be somewhere that’s out of reach. The ones that you intend to consume earlier in somewhere accessible.
Do Organizations According to Styles
It’s best for those who are just starting with a few Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, or Zinfandel to build everything according to their styles. Group the whites, reds, sparklers, roses, and dessert accordingly so you can find them easily.
Arrange by Price
If you’re random in buying and you’re whimsical, you should not expect that your cellar has housed a more extensive collection, do organize by price. This is especially helpful if the cellar contains more than 200 bottles already. This is a great starting point if you’re in the stage where you’re experimenting, and you’re trying out the regions that are more to your tastes. Naturally, the most expensive bottles should be kept for special celebrations to make the experience more unforgettable.
Medium-sized collections containing over 150 bottles of wine should be organized by variety. Group them according to the producers so that they can work well. With this method, you can quickly get a Riesling or Grenache whenever you’re craving a bottle.
The explosion of aroma and wine blends can vary, and connoisseurs know the more dominant features of specific bottles, which can be easier for them. You may even allocate a separate section for blends in your cellar. Some decide to organize according to vintage so there will be lesser confusion.
Now that you have an idea about how you can arrange your cellar; you may want to take a visit to these places where you’ll find the rarest collections that were curated for decades by connoisseurs. These wines can be tasted in Michelin restaurants or 5-star hotels, and they are always worth a trip. Look for more info about Michelin star systems here: https://www.performancefoodservice.com/get-inspired/understanding-the-michelin-star-system.
Largest Collections for Inspiration
This Moldovan wine producer has one of the most extensive cellars in the world. It was founded in 1969 to preserve and store the most high-quality wines found in the world. The entire complex holds over 2 million bottles, of which 20% are white and 50% are red. The grapes used include Muscat, Pinot, Codru, Cahor-Ciumai, and Milestscoie.
Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo
This one is an inspiration for the underground cellars in Bordeaux, France. It’s located in Monaco and features 3-Michelin starred restaurants. The hotel provides the best everything in the world, and this includes a few barrels of wine. The wineries are very exclusive, and it’s only open for private tastings.
The rocks in the cellar provide the perfect conditions of 11 to 13-degree Celsius with humidity of up to 75%. Some areas are considered museums because they have Chateau Gruaud Larose 1865, discovered by looters during World War II. There’s also the Chateau Bel Air Marquis D’Aligre 1850 and other vintage and rarest wines located in the cellar. There are even memorabilia of bottles that were carefully kept as a remembrance of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace’s wedding anniversary in the cellar.
This steakhouse has over 750,000 bottles, and it’s a member of the Restaurant Hall of Fame. The restaurant was opened in 1956, and everyone was amazed by the collection that the connoisseurs have curated over time. Bern’s steakhouse has a significant focus on California and French wines. The rarities included in the 1845 Chateau Gruaud Larose. Many diners can check over 200 options to pair with the duck confit or Chateaubriand carpaccio.
The Graycliff is an 18th-century mansion that’s located in Nassau, Bahamas. It has been converted into a hotel, and it’s the house of the first five-star restaurant in the Caribbean. The accolade includes Graycliff’s collection of over 275,000 wine bottles to date which is considered colossal by today’s standards.
Marques de Riscal’s “Cathedral”
You wouldn’t want to go anywhere else with Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants, spa, and hotels at your service. This is why guests find many reasons to visit the Marques de Riscal City of Wine, one of the largest in Spain’s Rioja region.
The establishment comprises three buildings, and it was founded in 1860. The guests can view the “Cathedral,” which is considered a private collection and a vintage one. The original Bodega 1860 is also one of the three buildings, and the first harvest was in 1862. The following years have produced some excellent samples and rare bottles that are not accessible for everyone.
This restaurant is located in New Jersey, and it has been a recipient of the Restaurant Hall of Fame. This is famously situated in the Crystal Springs Resort, which is a four-star hotel with over 100,000 bottles in its private collection. It has gained an excellent reputation that is carefully built for the past decades. The hotel is popularly known for its seasonal New American cuisine.
However, one of the biggest attractions is the maze of a cellar room that comprises nine areas. There are more than 5,100 labels that are focused on California, Italy, and France that guests can tour. Private bookings are available for the Bordeaux exploration and other areas in the room as well.
Brush Creek Ranch
The Brush Creek Ranch comprises about 30,000 acres in Wyoming, and it has recently debuted in “The Farm.” This is a state-of-the-art cellar that consists of the brewery, distilleries, restaurants, and various food dimensions. The head sommelier is hoping to grow their collection to 100,000 in their subterranean spaces. The ranch is an ode to Bordeaux wine and contains covetable and larger arrays of bottlings in larger formats.
Don Alfonso 1890
The hotel of Don Alfonso is located in a quaint Italian town that has a population of 3,000. However, the collection is more significant than life and worthy of boasting as they are rare in the world. The labels being offered are more than a thousand where the affinities lie in Tuscany Piedmont and Campania. They are also known to have a massive stash of Brunello di Montalcino, perfectly paired with specialty dishes in a Michelin-starred restaurant. A sucking pig with tamarind can be one of those.
There’s a New Orleans restaurant that’s owned by Antoine Alciatore that opened in 1840. He laid the groundwork for cuisines like French Creole. While the venue initially damaged Hurricane Katrina, the entire team took the matter into their hands and built the restaurant again slowly but surely. The 165-foot alley is the house to over 17,000 bottles and counting, where the emphasis lies in delectable French finds.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
You may want to imagine the perfect views of San Diego Bay and the relaxing atmosphere that it creates. But when you couple it with a prime rib-eye and an excellent collection of over 10,000 bottles from Del Frisco’s, you wouldn’t want to look anywhere else for vacations. The wine director has a penchant for wines from Brazil and Lebanon with rare finds, including Penfolds Grange.