Sunday, July 23, 2006

Storing wine in sunny Singapore

Wine storage always revolves around three important components: Temperature, Humidity and Environment. The proper storage temperature for all wines should be cool and constant (10C-15C). Extreme heat or cold will damage the wine. Bottles should always lie on their sides so that the wine can touch the cork and constantly to prevent it from being dried up. A dry cork will shrink and allow oxygen to enter the bottle and oxidize the wine. Although in today’s bottling technology, screw caps and synthetic corks are often used to replace the traditional wooden cork and may alleviate such concerns. Finally, wines should be kept away from strong sunlight or artificial light which will heat up the wine, causing it to taste stale and old. Wine should also be kept away from any form of vibration, they should not be disturbed as much as possible.

In Singapore, the climatic condition is especially unforgiving when wine is kept in the open, even though they may be in an air-conditioned room. The coolest spot in the house is the marble floor. In the absence of a wine cooler or a refrigerator, unopened wine bottles may be “stored” by placing them (on the side) on the marble floor where the sunlight cannot reach. (Please make sure that you have some stopper to prevent the bottles from rolling off!) Using the physics of cool air sinks while hot air rises, this can possibly help to keep the wine cool and avoid too much temperature variation while it is being stored. However, the humidity is still a killer component should this be kept in a prolonged period (I must say not more than 2 weeks!)

When I first started enjoying the magical grape juice, I stored new and half finished bottles of wine in my refrigerator, and to a point that there is no space left for what it is really meant to keep - food. Finally, I decided to invest in wine coolers where I can safely keep my wine under a controlled environment and with little disturbance. Wine coolers come in different forms – standalone 30-200 bottle capacity in glass or solid door. Personally, I prefer the solid door version simply because it presents the least worries in terms of heat and light shielding. Wine coolers are affordable as most of them are now manufactured in China and Malaysia. One can get a good quality 30-bottle wine cooler starting at S$350. For someone who has a wine collection of more than 500 bottles, it is perhaps best to convert one of the rooms in the house into a walk-in wine cellar with air-conditioning and humidity control. Overall, there is no better way to store a wine than to cellar them properly.

By Cher Lim
Wine Treasures Pte Ltd



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