Intro to cellaring + My cellaring setting
There is a difference between "Cellaring Wine" and "Wine in the cellar"
My basement cellar is a hybrid of the two. I like to pickup interesting wines that have piqued my interest, even if I have a specific date on when to open it. I also like to pickup a bottles that I think have ageability but don't break the bank. My 2015 Costco Barolo are a great example of the types of wine I have down here! Sure I want it to be amazing in 5-10 years, but if it doesn't work out as I hope, the initial investment wasn't too much.
In the Summer I keep it in the room with the AC and have a vent blowing directly on it. I also have a dehumidifier that I have set to 75%. In the Winter, I'll move it to a separate room.
This stand is a Champagne riddling rack that holds a ton of wine! I found it on craigslist for about $80 and it was an absolute steal. I think it looks cool, stores bottles so the cork interface is on the wine, and has decent enough storage capacity for my needs.
The next area to discuss is for my immediate consumption and super long term. I have stacked these two fridges, the top has 8 capacity and the lower has 38capacity. The top is useful for having the wines set to the perfect serving temperature. The lower is kept between 52-55C since I store both whites and reds in here. In theory, I could use the upper fridge for my whites and the lower for my reds, but I like the mental accounting that is provided by saying "These are the next 8 bottles I plan to consume" and keeping them in the upper smaller fridge.
Note: The location of the fridge is close to a window that gets afternoon sun. I am looking to move this fridge because of this reason since it actually changes the temperature by 1-2deg each day.
Here is a great link for the different types of cooling mechanisms to keep wine chilled and how you can help save money through energy by having the correct wine cooler for the job.
Have you heard of the concept of "mindfulness" or "Mindful eating"? I'm not a preacher of meditation, but having purpose with what wine to consume builds anticipation and provides focus to prepare to enjoy the expression of the grape to its fullest.
The next stop on our tour of the wine storage, the bubbles drawer!
"In victory you deserve Champagne, In defeat, you need it" - Napoleon Bonaparte
Every day you have little victories and little defeats and...
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense" - Emerson
So drink bubbles to more effectively forget any blunders and absurdities of day and cheers to your most exciting future!
Bubbles drawer in full action! https://youtu.be/0rt_beH-W68
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Lastly, we will discuss display bottles! Storing wine bottles on top of a cabinet is not the best idea. I choose to store consumed bottles that I think were noteworthy so I can be reminded of how awesome they were. I also keep cheaper wine up there that I will consume soon but that adds a little artistic flare. The problem with wine on top of a cabinet is that it isn't temperature controlled and for my specific situation, the halogen lights get wicked hot! Never let your wine get above 80F is a good general rule to live by, this location isn't ideal for that, but it does look cool!
Now for the nerdy details! I'm not going to re-invent the wheel here, I'll just post the great articles I would look through when considering how to start my setup!
Step 1: Is your wine worth cellaring? 99% of wine is meant to be drunk young. Pick wines that mean something to you, a personal connection to the wine carries with it the ageability of the story as well as the wine. Generally, don't age something that has a MSRP of $30 or less.
What to look for in structure to indicate ageability: https://winefolly.com/tips/deciding-how-long-age-wine/
+High Acid can protect the wine from oxidation
+Higher alcohol levels protect the wine
+Complexity! The wine needs to be complex to start to increase with age.
Step 2: How long should you age? Cellar Tracker is a great app! It allows you to put your collection into the app and gives you expected best dates for each bottle.
Red Wine Aging Chart: https://winefolly.com/tips/red-wine-aging-chart-best-practices/
White Wine Aging Chart: https://winefolly.com/tips/white-wine-aging-chart-best-practices/
Step 3: DRINK THE WINE! I think as humans, we are drawn to collect things. Understand this tendency and be vigilant to actually drink the wine you age! Have a notebook and write down your tasting notes as to what you experience as well as to why this bottle is in your collect. When you drink a bottle you've previously consumed, go back to your notes and see how well your wine literacy and communication has improved over the years. Enjoy your successes in life and continue the wine journey!
Other good articles:
Built to Last: https://winefolly.com/tips/collecting-age-worthy-wine/
How to start a wine cellar: https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/how-to-start-a-wine-collection/