Storage should be free of vibes, light




Store wine away from light.


Buy a bottle of wine and no one will question you, but buy 12 bottles of wine and people will start to wonder.

“If you buy more than six bottles of wine, people think you’re either a licensee or you’re having a big party,” said Steve Thurlow, wine director of the upcoming Santé Wine Festival. “It’s really that we have a very strange attitude towards the storage of wine in North America.”

Thurlow explains that in Europe, it’s common to buy a dozen or so bottles when you find a wine you fancy. In Canada, however, people tend to just pick up a bottle coming home from work, drinking it within hours of purchase.

These days, North Americans are considering wine storage more often, however, and according to Thurlow, a bona fide wine aficionado with a collection of over 1,000 bottles, there are a few basic pointers to keep in mind.

First of all, wine should be stored for the right reasons and a common misconception is that all wines get better with age. “Some people think that any wine you keep will get better, but that’s just not true, I’m afraid,” Thurlow said.

The three most important things to remember when storing wine, however, is that it should be placed somewhere vibration-free, away from light and with minimal daily temperature change. A fabulously efficient way to ruin a good bottle of wine is to store it above a fridge and near a sunny window, says Thurlow. “You’re vibrated to hell because of the fridge motor, and the sunshine is not good for it because it will make it go up and down in temperature,” he explained. A good temperature for wine is no lower than 4 C in the winter and no higher than 14 C in the summer.

Thurlow insists that wine storage doesn’t have to be an extravagant affair either and anyone can build a basic cellar at home. Just find a corner in the basement and build a cupboard by adding two more walls, taking out some of the insulation from the outside walls and using it to line the ceiling and inside walls. For condo dwellers, a dark kitchen cupboard should also suffice.

Serious folks might want to keep a good record of what they have. “Sometimes I come across a wine that’s been lost in the cellar,” he chuckled. “And I think, ‘Oh dearie me, I should have drank that 10 years ago!’”

sante wine festival

  • The festival is on until Saturday. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster, or at the Santé box office at Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor St. W.