Cellar ageing for wines
As a storage area for wines, the cellar must comply with a certain number of criteria to allow a wine to remain in good health and evolve in perfect conditions.
Wine is a living product which breathes through the cork. If the atmosphere outside the bottle is too dry, the cork must draw humidity from inside the bottle to maintain its hydric balance, at the expense of the wine itself. It is therefore of paramount importance that the highest level of humidity possible be maintained inside the cellar and to ensure that humidity levels do not fall below 70%. In the absence of sophisticated equipment, a bowl of water can be placed in the cellar and regularly refilled if the cellar is too dry.
The cellar’s atmosphere must be renewed because stagnant humidity produces smells of stagnant water which are harmful to wines that soak them in. As an aside, it is useful to point out that a wine cellar should only be used for the purpose of storing wine. Never store vegetables or fuel there for example that may pass on their smells to the wine.
Wine is light-sensitive and the presence of light causes it to evolve prematurely and negatively. It is always preferable to keep wines in a dark place (and above all, no strip lights in a cellar!)
Wine thrives in the kind of temperature found in an underground cellar, i.e. approximately 10-12°C. However, most importantly, variations in temperature should be no more than 5°C between summer and winter and room temperature should never exceed 17 to 18°C.
Finally, the bottles must be laid on their side, either in their original case or, better still, on shelves.