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Temperature and Air Quality

When storing your fine wine, temperature can be its best friend or its worst enemy. A temperature of between 13 and 14 degrees Celsius is ideal for a wine's maturation, but only if it remains constant.

Fluctuations in temperature during storage can cause expansion and contraction of the wine, which will damage the integrity of the cork and allow air to seep in. Once your wine comes into contact with air, the irreversible process of oxidation will begin to ruin your wine.

Temperatures higher than 13 to 14 degrees Celsius will increase the chemical reactions inside a bottle. Your wine will not have the luxury of the slow and controlled reactions that would otherwise have given it a fantastic complexity. Even short periods of time spent at the incorrect temperature can leave a wine's fruit component hollow or flat, giving it an unpleasant aftertaste. Wine stored at home cannot escape these inevitable fluctuations. Studies show that wine, even when stored at a steady room or ambient temperature, will mature eight times faster than it would in the correct temperature. This is why wine is increasingly stored in temperature controlled, commercial facilities.

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Temperature damaged wine invariably loses its colour, aroma and flavour. And, subsequently, its value. A brick red-brown colour is an indicator of oxidation damage due to heat. Since sherry is an oxidised wine, another indicator of heat damage in wine is a sherry-like taste.

Where you choose to store your wine should be well ventilated, to avoid musty smells, which can penetrate the cork and affect the quality and flavour of your wine. If keeping your wine at home for any length of time, you should never store it near fruit, vegetables, cheese or anything else capable of fermenting.

With these elements that are so difficult to control, it is hardly a surprise that most wines struggle to reach their full potential. And, most importantly, less than perfect storage conditions could put to waste all the consideration and care that has gone into the making of the wine.