Says Miele’s Liam Gawne: “Although any good quality wine conditioning unit should provide the ultimate safe storage for all types of wines, it is important to remember that only a small percentage of wines that are on the market actually benefit from long-term storage. The majority of available wines are best enjoyed within a few years of release.” Whether you are interested in storing wines for short-, medium- or long-term enjoyment, he notes that a good quality wine conditioning unit, such as those from Miele for example, will be able to provide optimum storage conditions for any type of wine.
Liam provides the following guidelines on what to consider when storing your wine collection:
Keep your cool: One of wine’s biggest enemies is heat – any temperature over 21°C will have the undesirable effect of unnecessarily speeding up the aging process, resulting in flat aromas and flavours. Ideally, wine needs to be stored at a constant temperature of between 7°C and 19°C. Different types of wines are ideally stored at different temperatures:
- Full bodied reds: 17°C to 19°C
- Light- to medium-bodied reds: 12°C to 16°C
- Dry whites: 8°C to 12°C
- Sparkline and sweet wines: 5°C to 8°C
Miele wine units for example, are fitted with up to three temperature zones, which can be separately controlled. This allows you to simultaneously store up to three different types of wine under perfect conditions.
Constant and steady: For optimum wine storage conditions, you need to be able to keep the climate as steady and constant as possible. Avoid rapid, extreme or frequent temperature swings, as this will result in cooked flavours, and the expansion and contraction of the liquid inside the bottle can end up pushing the cork out or causing seepage. Miele’s wine conditioning units for example, boast DynaCool dynamic air-cooling technology, which comprises a fan that circulates the cold air to ensure uniform temperature and humidity throughout the entire unit. This guarantees constant and perfect storage conditions for your wine, and the constantly maintained humidity levels of around 50% also prevents corks from drying out.
Turn off the lights: UV rays can cause chemical reactions in wine causing them to degrade and age prematurely. As such light, and especially sunlight can pose a serious problem for long-term wine storage. This is why wine is sold in coloured glass bottles, as they cut down the penetration of the UV rays. All the doors on Miele’s range of wine conditioning units are made of tinted safety glass, with an integrated UV filter for maximum protection. Standard lighting in homes usually generates some kind of heat, which is not good for the wine or the labels – often causing them to fade and become brittle. This is why all the lighting in any wine conditioning unit should comprise LEDs. The flush LED lighting in Miele’s units not only presents the wine bottles in the right light – providing efficient and optimum illumination of the cabinet and its contents – but the maintenance-free LED lighting doesn’t heat the air in any way, allowing your wine to be stored undisturbed.
No such thing as good vibrations: It is thought that vibrations can damage wine in the long-term, as it helps to speed up the chemical reactions in the liquid. It also disturbs the sediment in older wines, preventing them from settling and making them unpleasantly gritty. In order to guarantee that your wines are stored in an extremely gently manner, Miele wine units are equipped with a specially optimised compressor that runs very quietly and is mechanically uncoupled from the housing. The Push2Open and SoftClose technology ensures the gentle opening and closing of the unit’s door, further preventing any disturbance of the wine inside.
Avoid other aromas: Another imperative for safely storing wine is keeping it in an odourless environment. Over time, exposure to foods with pungent aromas can seep into the wine through the cork and damage it. As a result, any wine unit worth its salt should have a built-in air filter to purify the air. Miele’s units for example, boast and Active AirClean Filter, which contains a combination of active charcoal and chitosan to eliminate virtually all odours inside the unit.
For more information, visit www.miele.co.za.