We’ll say it plain and simple...Dirty bottles are UNACCEPTABLE...all bottles must be clean and ready to sanitize when you bring them to package your wines. We’re pretty strict about this because dirt hides and or carries germs and bacteria that we don’t want in the store simply because they could potentially infect the hundreds of customer orders that are constantly on the go in our building.
Our recommendation, to keep this task down to a minimum effort, is to simply rinse the empty bottle with hot water after you finish your wine. Letting the hot water sit in the bottles for up to a minute also helps soften the glue on the labels making them pretty much dry strippable with a little care. When rinsed and label removed simply store the bottles upside down so no dirt or contamination can get back inside...simple as that.
As the old saying goes...fine wines take time...and finding the best place to store your wine is crucial since proper aging will make a significant difference in the final results. Unfortunately not all of us are blessed with ideal wine cellars in our homes so understanding what your best conditions are is important. The basics are: as cool as possible and stable temperature, dark and with as little moving about as possible. For example, unheated areas in a condo, on the floor in the closet or under the bed for example, and away from direct sunlight. Storage lockers are often as close to ideal as possible, just remember to camouflage it or risk someone else deciding to relieve you of your treasure.
Wine ages best in a consistent environment and at temperatures around 10-15ºC with enough relative humidity to keep the corks from drying out. There are many components to a good wine and they all age at about the same rate in this ideal temperature range. While perfection is the objective great results are still possible in less than ideal conditions. Packaging is also a consideration. Red wines fade in colour as they age while whites darken. Dark bottles for reds and clear or light amber for whites help ameliorate this tendency as they either protect or expose the wines to light which will tend to fade the wines over time. How long your wines will last is directly related to their storage conditions. Clients with ideal conditions report keeping wines for 5 years or more while many condo dwellers find their shelf life quite limited. Talk to us about your situation and we can guide you accordingly.
As a rule of thumb it's generally accepted that white wines are served chilled and reds are served at room temperature. While this is true here’s a bit more information to guide you. In general the lighter the body of the white the cooler the serving temperature...too cold and the flavours and richness of heavier whites like oaky Chardonnays are lost. Conversely lighter reds like Pinot Noir and Chianti taste brighter and more pleasant if slightly chilled and remember, when the rule of thumb was created people lived in stone castles without central heat so a warm room temperature was more like 18ºC not the 20-24ºC we commonly find in homes today. In general however you should feel comfortable drinking your wines at temperatures where you get the most enjoyment from them.
“Wine a bit, you’ll feel better.”