Anybody who has any prolonged exposure to the wine industry has heard of the term “wine cellar” and likely knows that such cellars have played a pretty crucial role in the industry for centuries. Some of you reading this may even have your own wine cellars, where you store your favourite wines in an effort to age them to perfection ready for consumption at a dinner party or just to enjoy for your own pleasure at some point in the future.
But what about those of us who just buy bottles of wine with the sole intention of drinking them, without placing any real thought into how we store them and why so many people choose to go the cellar route. Why are cellars so important and what sorts of benefits do they offer they make them more suitable for storage than a simple kitchen cupboard of refrigerator?
Those are questions that we hope to answer here as we take an in-depth look at the benefits that wine cellars bring and why you should consider storing your wine in one.
The main reason cellars have been so popular over the years relates to preventing the spoilage of wine, allowing it to be stored for longer periods of time before it starts to lose what makes it so special in the first place. Remember that wine is a perishable item. Though you can age a wine, it is still made using fruit and is thus subject to the same issues that other forms of produce face in regards to spoilage, even if it typically takes wine a lot longer to reach that sort of state than it would a simple piece of fruit.
A wine cellar offers the perfect storage location for those who want to preserve their wines. With proper maintenance, the cellar ensures the wine is not exposed to the heat that can change the complexion of the wine or the light that will, over time, lead it to spoil. Maintaining a constant temperature and humidity level within a cellar ensures these issues don’t affect the wine, plus a cellar will also prevent the wine from being exposed to the daily issues caused by home living, such as the vibrations of a washing machine. In short, a wine cellar is perhaps the safest place to store wine to ensure it maintains everything that makes it a worthy purchase in the first place.
The Place for Collectors
There are few things in the world that inspire the level of ardour in collectors that wine is capable of drawing out. Ask a true connoisseur why he or she loves wine and you can prepare yourself for hours, if not days, of discussion on the subject. Naturally, any collector worth their salt will want to display what they have found in a suitable location, rather than bung their wines away in a cupboard somewhere, and that’s an area where the wine cellar plays a pretty instrumental role.
With an organized cellar, a collector not only has a place to show off their wine collection to anybody who wants to see it, but can also arrange the various bottles of wine so they always know where they need to look to find a particular vintage. In essence, the wine cellar is as much a part of the wine collector’s toolkit as a decanter or a corkscrew. It is an indelible part of the collector’s personal makeup and a physical expression of his or her love, passion, and respect for the wines they collect and the people who make them. Simply put, a wine cellar ensures a collector actually has a respectable place to store their wines. This is particularly important if the collector aims to sell wines at auction later on.
You may have heard it said before and it is actually true – under the right conditions a wine cellar can actually improve the quality of the wines stored in it. Again, it all comes down to the controllable elements we spoke about previously. Things like temperature, light, and humidity all play roles in the way a wine ages, so much so that even when they don’t contribute to spoilage that still change the way the wine tastes compared to a wine that has been stored in the proper condition.
As such, those who wish to drink their wines in the way the producers intended them to will tend to want to store their wines in the ideal conditions to ensure it matures as it should. It is remarkable just how massive an effect proper storage will have on the aroma, flavour, and overall complexion of a bottle of wine. Sadly, it is an effect that few are privy to, outside of those who have stored the same type of wine in both a cellar and elsewhere to find out just how big the differences actually are.
You may not consider a wine cellar to be a cost-effective venture. After all, the upfront cost of having one created alone may outstrip the value that it provides to the average drinker. However, collectors will argue that having a wine cellar opens up so much potential to save, or even earn, money in the long run.
Consider this example. Say there is a bottle of wine that retails as a sole unit for 100 euros. The average buyer will typically purchase one bottle of this wine, often because he or she does not have the space to store multiple bottles, meaning they pay the maximum price for it.
A collector with a wine cellar, however, has the option of buying that vintage of wine wholesale, often by the crate. One of the big advantages of buying wholesale is that producers will slash the price to encourage bulk buying. So, a bottle of wine that costs a person without a cellar 100 euros may end up costing 90, 80, perhaps even 60 euros per bottle for those with cellars who can buy in bulk. Over time, the wine enthusiast is going to find that increased storage space helps them save money by virtue of volume purchasing alone.