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Wine, Wine, Everywhere!

By Michael "Ty, the Wine Guy" Taiani

Not long ago, in one of my previous articles [Procrastinating (Spring/Summer 2010)], I made it known that in most cases a wine is ready to be consumed and enjoyed at the time of its release into the market though some do require a breathing (decanting) time of an hour or so to improve the wines overall attributes.

Question: What if you acquire more wine than you could quite possibly consume in a reasonable timeframe of say, a month or two? Perhaps you take advantage of buying wine by the case, with savings of 10, 15, or 20%? Or perhaps you received a gift subscription to a wine club offered by one of the Hudson Valleys wineries, providing monthly shipments of bottles atop your normal purchases? Or perhaps, like myself, you are entwined in the wine trade and receive wine shipments from all over the world on a weekly basis. Yikes!

Regardless of the manner in which the bottles add up, the problem is the same the need for greater, proper wine storage. Last summer, when my wine bottle collection equaled more than one thousand bottles, I knew I had a real situation to contend with. Luckily for me, my home provided both the space and the subterranean environment cool temperatures and moderate humidity to provide an adequate place for a long-term wine storage system. But what if youre not as fortunate?

Well, fear not. The upward demand for wine storage systems has created a thriving supply of products and manufacturers, some even local. High-quality storage solutions can be designed for those in need of them. And if temperature and humidity are an issue, they can easily be corrected with the implementation of proper cooling and/or humidity units. Times have changed. The era of the estatemansion wine cellar is a thing of the past, remarks Michael Babcock, president of (in Rosendale, Ulster County) and founder of the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest. We can design and transform any storage space, whether a subterranean basement or the simplest of closets.

But before you call on the professionals there are a few basic wine storage facts you should be aware of:

Wine should be stored at 50° to 60°F. For a wine to remain stable, it is recommended that your wine cellar maintain the same temperature and not fluctuate more than 5°F. With each temperature variation, outside air could seep into the bottle causing wine to loose its freshness. As for whites, they need only be chilled below 50°F prior to serving.

Maintaining humidity of 6070% is of prime importance. Low humidity can cause the cork to dry out and crack, allowing air into the bottle, and thus spoilage. High humidity can create mildew or rot on the cork and that can find its way into the bottle.

Bottles should always be stored on their sides. Cork, when in contact with the wine, maintains its integrity as it remains expanded.

Know and/or educate yourself about the wines in your collection. For example, would your 2010 25th Anniversary Cabernet Franc from Millbrook Vineyards require cellaring; and if so, for how long and why? (The answer is up to five years, by the way.) Dont forget to ask at the winery or your wine retailer to determine which wines youve purchased are ready to consume and which are not. If theres still a question, you can consult the many internet web sites that offer information about nearly every wine produced, often including the winemakers notes.

Remember, not all wines require a holding time, but for those that do, youll find them in all price ranges. In fact, most fall in a more moderate price range between $15 to $40.

What I often like to remind my clients is that wine is a highly sensitive product, requiring ideal storage conditions at all times until it is consumed and enjoyed. So if you care enough to care about your wines, then creating an environment to do just that (and protect your investment) is paramount. The $25 on-the-kitchen counter wine rack just doesnt cut it, ever!


Michael Taiani Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), aka Ty the Wine Guy, is a food and wine consultant and marketer. Assisting people with food and wine is his passion.

Hudson Valley Wine magazine Summer 2014 issue

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