Have you opened a bottle of wine from a cabinet in your kitchen or a box under your sink and found out that its smell is not floral, fruity, or spicy? Have you noticed some discoloration? You should know that these are signs that your wine has a defect and may be undrinkable.
Let us find out the different possible wine defects and learn the ideal wine storage options that will preserve wine’s quality and desirable characteristics.
When unwanted air mixes with wine, it is subjected to hot temperatures, or is aged too long, oxidation occurs. The original vibrant fruity scents in wine become lifeless or flat, losing their aroma, flavor, and color.
This results in stale, stewed fruit and a burnt marshmallow, sherry, or vinegar-like smell. The moldy smell is caused by the TCA or Trichloroanisole in corked wine due to high level of oxidation.
The insipid taste in oxidized wine is caused by the bacteria that oxygen promotes when it gets into the wine. The alcohol in wine turns into acetic acid, causing unpleasant taste.
The color of an oxidized wine is usually a shade of brown, while other wines look dull. These are the clues that indicate wine defects.
Oxidation can happen prior to or after bottling of wine and even while it is stored at home or in a restaurant. So, next time, you will know when to pour wine down the drain or return it to the restaurant or wine store where you bought it from.
The cork of wine bottles functions as a seal to protect wine from being exposed to unwanted oxygen. How can a cork cause wine to spoil? When wine comes in contact with a contaminated cork, it will smell and taste like a wet newspaper, rotten cardboard, or damp cloth, resulting in what they call “corked wine”.
A cork is contaminated when 2, 4, or 6-Trichloroanisole (TCA) is present. This chemical compound is usually formed when the natural fungi that reside in cork come into contact with chlorides.
Chlorides are found in sanitation products used in the winery, such as bleaches. Using infected corks will cause cork taint, a wine defect that destroys the natural aromas and fruitful flavor of wine.
Maderization is a process where wine is heated and oxidized to make it taste like Madeira wine that has a nutty and caramelized character. When talking about wine defects, the term “maderized” refers to the condition of wine exposed to too much heat or very high temperatures (greatly higher than 55 degrees Fahrenheit). This usually happens in wines with low alcohol content.
There will be greater chances that your wine will become maderized when you keep it near a radiator or any heating device in your house. An under-the-stair space where hot water pipes are installed is also a bad storage place for wine.
Too much heat exposure increases the rate of wine’s aging, resulting in spoiled wine. This is why proper wine storage must be practiced to preserve wine the right way.
Ideal Wine Storage Solutions – Wine Cellars and Wine Cabinets
One of the major reasons wine gets spoiled is from storing it in a place where stable temperature and humidity levels are not present. Wine needs to be stored in an environment with temperature ranging from 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels between 50-60 percent.
The two most in-demand and efficient wine storage solutions are custom wine cellars and refrigerated wine cabinets. When choosing between a wine cellar and a wine cabinet, consider the size of your collection, your space, and your budget.
Residential Custom Wine Cellars
Nowadays, home owners in many parts of the world, including Canada, who have the right budget, invest in a residential wine cellar to keep their finest wines safe from harmful external factors.
Wine cellars are carefully designed and installed to ensure that a climate-controlled environment is provided to your finest wines, especially those intended for long-term aging. Proper room insulation and installation of a vapor barrier are the primary steps to prepare the room for construction.
In Vancouver, Canada, a team of experienced designers and installers, Blue Grouse Wine Cellars, has been building custom wine rooms for many years. With their expertise, any extra room can be converted into a functional resting place for your wines.
For them to achieve the ideal temperatures and humidity levels in their client’s wine cellar, they use efficient wine cellar refrigeration systems suitable for the storage needs and requirements of the collector.
The right wine cellar door material and seal must also be installed. Other things that must be given consideration are the wine rack material and design and wine cellar lighting. All of these can affect the stability of the conditions inside a refrigerated wine cellar.
Building a home wine cellar in Canada may not be affordable to some, but in the long run, you will realize that having one will save you money since it lowers the risk of having a defective wine in you collection.
Below are some photos of high-end wine cellars built by Blue Grouse Wine Cellars:
If having a wine cellar in your home is not possible due to budget and/or space constraints, you shouldn’t worry because there is another wine storage option that is more affordable – the wine cabinet.
Wine cabinets with a built-in wine cooling system are called refrigerated wine cabinets. Even though it is a budget-savvy option, a refrigerated wine cabinet has the ability to maintain an environment similar to wine cellars.
One of the most popular brands of wine cabinets in Canada is Eurocave. Their sturdy, high capacity and stylish products are being used by Blue Grouse Wine Cellars in many of their wine cellar projects. Learn more about Eurocave wine cabinets by clicking here.
In addition to sturdiness, style, and capacity, other features that you should look for in a wine cabinet include internal lighting, an alarm system, and vibration exclusion. Keep in mind that wine cabinets only accommodate a certain number of bottles, unlike wine cellars that allow your collection to grow in the future.
A collector’s goal is to store his wines in such a way that its desirable characteristics are preserved properly. Storing them in a climate-controlled environment is the key to achieving this. Depending on your needs and budget, make sure that your choice of storage solution can help prevent wine defects.
If you need expert advice in choosing the right wine cabinet to suit your needs, call Blue Grouse Wine Cellars at 1.888.400.CORK (2675) or visit their website at http://bluegrousewinecellars.com/.