Basic Factors that Affect Ageing
There are many reasons to age wine. It may be a habitual routine, a suggested procedure, a curiosity, or due to a busy schedule! Cellaring time allows all the elements in a wine (fruit, acid, oak, and tannins) to integrate and develop a delicate balance, and optimize the wine’s ageing potential. Follow these guidelines when aging your wines to ensure optimal aging.
It is very important to monitor the cleanliness of your bottles when making your own wine. When you are finished drinking a bottle, rinse them right after and store them neck side down in a wine box to allow some of the moisture to exit the bottle. This will minimize the possibilty of mold forming on the inside of the bottle. Many times when one bottle from a batch of wine smells “off” yet the rest of the batch is fine, its more than likely because they were not rinsed and cleaned properly before filling. If you see any mold particles in your bottles we would recommend you to recycle them. We have many brand new bottles available for purchase. Sanitization is key!
Constant exposure to light produces chemical reactions in wine that cause it to deteriorate. Ultraviolet light has the greatest effect, and white wines and champagnes are the most vulnerable. Try to keep the cellar dark when not in use. Red wine is more affected by light then white wine, that is why red wine is typically stored in green tinted glass.
A relative humidity of 50-70% is the acceptable range. Insufficient humidity may cause corks to dry out, lose their elasticity and thereby allow air to get into the bottle. Too much humidity (over 70%) can cause mould to grow on corks. At its extreme, that can destroy a wine.
A temperature of 12-15°C is ideal for allowing the wine to age steadily without risking premature ageing or oxidation. A constant temperature is key to steady ageing.
We use 2 different types of corks at Cork it, Agglomerated and Synthetic. Agglomerated corks made from chips of natural cork that are bonded together. They are suitable for wines for up to 1 year of ageing. Synthetic corks are made from plastic compounds designed to look and “pop” like natural cork. They are especially great for long-term storage of 1-5 years. They eliminate problems such as leakage and random oxidation, and are commonly used by commercial wineries.
Sulphites help to preserve the wine from spoilage and oxidation. If ageing beyond 6 months, add ¼ tsp of extra sulphites (sulphite dissipates with age and is important for the long-term health of the wine).
Tartrate Crystals or “Wine Diamonds”
Some of our customers notice little crystals forming in the bottle from time to time. These “Wine Diamonds” are naturally occurring and they are one of the main acids found in wine. They are harmless and contrary to popular belief, it does not indicate a flawed bottle of wine. In fact, tartrates are routinely found in high quality commercially – produced wine. Some say that is actually a sign of quality. The process of tartrate crystal formation is very hard to predict, but tends to occur more frequently in pure varietal juices.