Golden Rules for Wine Preservation

Set out below is a list of practical rules and advice on the conditions required by the refrigerated wine cabinets, cellars, refrigerated cellars... for the correct preservation of the wine.

Crianza (aging wine), as a living being, evolves slowly and without any problem thanks to the cellars built by man to this end, in which the wine reaches its maximum expression. Today, the majority of the population is centred in large cities where there is a shortage of houses or premises with a basement or cellar in good condition, i.e. isolated from natural light, free of vibrations, with a relatively low temperature and where the relative humidity level is moderately high (around 70%), not forgetting other factors such as the absence of draughts.

To solve this problem, various alternatives to refrigerated cabinets arose - refrigerated wine cellars - until, after two years of research and study, in the middle of 1998, OAK's  presented its solution to the market, OAK's Wine Cabinets, which in addition to cooling the wine, used a vibration-free cooling system unlike the solutions found on the market and which were basically based on compression systems.

Below is a list of the basic conditions for the preservation of red wine which is more delicate and demanding than rosé and white wines and champagnes, with the exception, of course, of certain Crianza white wines in barrel.

TOTAL ABSENCE OF VIBRATIONS

Vibrations are very harmful to red wine, not so much so to other wines, since they produce the so-called wine fatigue. For this reason, vibrations should be completely avoided, especially those that are produced on a regular and continuous basis. Therefore, systems that produce vibrations, even if they use vibration reducing systems, are inadequate. This type of refrigerated wine cabinet may be used for other types of wine.

On the other hand, there are external vibrations which do not make it advisable to place the refrigerated wine cabinet where regular external vibrations are produced. In order for these vibrations to be produced on an occasional basis, systems that absorb and reduce the vibrations should be installed. For this, OAK's  uses solid oak shelves.

TEMPERATURE

This should be relatively low given that the speed of the chemical reaction increases with temperature, leading to premature ageing after a certain temperature is reached (depending on the wine in question) and a change in the colour of the wine. By contrast, an excessively low temperature produces tartaric sediments. Being pragmatic and after analysing scores of opinions of wine experts, we can say that for crianzas /reservas, the balanced/correct temperature for storing the wine is between 14 to 16 ºCelsius (57 to 61 ºFarenheit).

On the other hand and more important than the above is that there are no sudden changes in temperature of 1 or 2 degrees Celsius (1.8 to 3.6 ºFarenheit). For this reason, in systems such as some of the so-called multitemperature systems (that have a range of temperatures in one single cabinet body that go from 2 ºC (35.6 ºF) to approximately 17 ºC (62.6 ºF) ), the opening and closing of the doors could displace the different air pockets and easily cause fluctuations in temperature of more than 2 ºC (3.6 ºF), damaging the quality of the wine. In keeping with the above, it should be indicated that the systems must be able to cool slowly and progressively the first time they operate or when the system has remained unconnected for a certain period of time.

RELATIVE HUMIDITY

The maintenance of adequate hygrometric conditions is quite important. In fact, both too much and too little humidity entails problems. For this reason, an adequate range for preservation would be between 65% and 75%.

A low relative humidity (less than 60%) causes the bottle cork to dry out and contract permitting the wine to have destructive direct contact with the air. On the other hand, excess humidity (over 80%), could result in mould and as a result, bad odour and bacteria that are damaging to the wine, besides seriously damaging the bottle labels.

CONTINOUS/CONSISTENT AIR CIRCULATION THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CABINET

To avoid air pockets forming at different temperatures and guarantee that the temperature and humidity is consistent throughout the wine cabinet.

POSITIONING OF THE BOTTLE

It is essential that the inside of the cork also remains damp. Therefore, it necessary for the cork to be in contact with the wine and as a result, the wine must be stored horizontally. Moreover, a slight inclination permits the sediments to deposit at the bottom of the bottle. Therefore, ideally, the bottles should be in a horizontal position with an inclination of approximately 5%.

On the other hand, the wine should not be unnecessarily disturbed when it is resting. It is more advisable to use individual bottle racks and to avoid moving several bottles (especially bottles of more mature wine) and disturbing the wine when taking out only one bottle.

NOTE: The conditions specified in points 1,4 and 5 are only obtained, in their entirety, with the OAK's  vertical bottle shelving system for our wine cabinets.

ABSOLUTE DARKNESS

This is advisable and deep down, ideal, since natural light encourages wine oxidation, a phenomenon known as the "taste of light or oxide". For commercial and/or aesthetic reasons, the market has demanded cabinets with glass doors. These must have an anti UV filter since UV rays are very harmful to the wine. Moreover, it is advisable for these cabinets to be placed in sites where there is no direct exposure to natural light. Lastly, we would like to indicate that light is particularly damaging to the colour of white and sparking wines. In addition, white wines are normally in transparent bottles.

INSULATORS

Insulators are crucial in order to reduce leaks of heat or cold. They act as a thermal barrier thus permitting the cooling performance of the refrigeration system. Worthy of mention is expanded polyurethane which provides fireproof, thermal and acoustic insulation.

OPTIMAL DURATION OF THE WINE IN THE WINE CABINETS

This begins with choosing the right place to shop. Therefore, great care must be taken when buying wine in shops that do not have the bottles refrigerated since the life of its wines will have been cut short.

Below, purely as a reference, is a table containing the average duration of red wine for its consumption in good condition and bearing in mind, always, that the concentration of tannin will be greater or lower depending on the type of crianza. The greater the concentration of tannin, the longer the wine will last and more time will be required for the tannin to soften.
 

Type of grapes  Years - Denomination of Origin
Cabernet Sauvignon 20 - Rioja / Duero / Bourdeaux ...
Pinot / Merlot / Tempranillo / Graciano 18 - (Reserves and Great Reserves of most of Spain)
16 - Navarre, Penedés, Bierzo
Garnacha / Cariñena... 13 - La Mancha, Barberá, Somontano
10 - Valdepeñas, Tarragona, Yecla
Monastrel...  8 - Priorato, Jumilla, Extremadura, Utiel

WINE SERVICE TEMPERATURE

Wine bouquets flourish at the right temperature and the majority of experts agree with the following temperatures:
 

Fine of Bordeaux / G. Spanish Reservas 17-18 ºCs 
Spanish Certain reservations
Borgoñas / Oportos añejos / Rhône
Spanish raisings
16-17 ºCs 
16 ºCs 
14/16 ºCs 
Current Bordeaux  
Red current French
Red Light Spaniards
12/14 ºCs

CHOICE OF REFRIGERATED WINE CABINETS Avoid those that create vibrations (such as those that have compressors), avoid those that can suffer sudden changes in temperature in short, chose refrigerated cellars that meet all the above conditions and then enjoy your wine!

Remember that this description coincides perfectly with the OAK's Wine Cabinets  manufactured by Organisation A.K., S.L. (Made in Europe) Further details may be obtained in the section "Description of OAK's Wine Cabinet".

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