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Wine Wise - Storing Your Wine

( Originally Published 1933 )

Having selected your wine carefully, the next problem is that of storing it so that it will keep well and improve with age. This is the real test of your ability to build a cellar. "Any fool can buy good wine," runs the adage, "but only a wise man can keep it."

In most families, bottled wines are consumed soon after they are purchased, but even so, if you are buying wine by the case, you should fix up a "cellar" either under your house or in your apartment, if you are a city dweller. If you cannot arrange a proper place in your home, it is better to leave the wine at your merchant's and take home a few bottles at a time.

If you happen to live in a detached house, the cellar problem is a comparatively easy one to solve. A corner of the basement, where the temperature remains the same throughout the day, may be fitted with racks and bins, and your wines may be stored there. But if you are an apartment dweller, the problem is more serious because of the lack of space and the difficulty in finding a uniformly cool place. However, even in apartments, closets can frequently be arranged with racks and if they are away from steam radiators and other heating equipment they can be kept at a satisfactory temperature by the use of insulation board, with which a closet may be lined very easily.

A wine cellar preferably should be underground. It should be dark, dry and well ventilated and should have the same temperature through the winter and summer. The best temperature is about 58 degrees Fahrenheit. The main thing in fixing up your "cellar" is to have a place of uniform temperature. It is not that moderately warm temperature is damaging to the wine, but that constantly changing temperatures found in most homes which are warm by day and cold by night keep the wine troubled and in turmoil. The wine is unable to stand these constant changes without deteriorating.

Those who are in a position to build a real wine cellar beneath the house where it will be cool all of the time will be assured that well because the temperature Wine should not be stored in freeze. If an existing cellar is be taken that wines are not store their wines will keep will not vary much. a place where it will made over, care should d too close to a furnace.

Bottled wine should be stored in bins or in racks where the bottles can lie on their sides so that the inside of the corks will be covered with wine. If possible, have enough racks or bins so that the bottles do not have to be piled upon each other. This enables you to remove the bottles without disturbing the others and without setting in motion the sediment which may have accumulated in the bottom side of the bottles as the wine has aged.

The idea that a wine cellar should be a musty, cob-webby place in which to age wines is an antiquated one. In the old days wines were brought up in cob-webby bottles to impress the customer with the idea that the wine was very old. Wines, like any other food, should be stored in a dry, clean, sanitary place free from cobwebs or any other kind of dirt.

If wines are bought in cases a good way to store them in the cellars is to turn the cases on their sides so that the corks are kept moist. The cases then serve as bins from which the top bottles of wine can be easily removed.

Bottled wines are packed twelve quarts or twenty-four pints to the case. The "little nip" is the half pint. For many years it has been the custom to wrap white wines in white tissue paper and red wines in red tissue paper so that the householder can select a red or white wine from his cellar without disturbing the sediment.

The wine user who is unable to fix up a "cool cellar" in his house or apartment should make an arrangement with his wine dealer to keep the main part of his stock in the wine merchant's store. Then the customer can have a few bottles at a time and place them horizontally in the closet so that the corks will not dry out.

Port and Sherry and other sweet wines are all better if aged in wooden casks, but dry wines after they have reached a certain age should be taken out of casks and put in bottles. Dry wines are better if bottled at the wineries. Sweet wines, being highly fortified, can be shipped in bulk more easily without danger of going wrong.

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