Long Term Storage

I am often asked what is the ideal temperature for storage of wine. I could spend hours discussing temperature and wine storage. In short, the "perfect temperature" for storing wine historically arises from local custom. Local custom was, and in many instances still is, dictated by the passive temperature of the local passive cave or cellar. Do not be fooled into thinking that every passive cave or cellar is at the same temperature. They can vary considerably. So what is the “perfect temperature” today?

It is known that the colder the temperature, the longer the wine takes to evolve. In an
article by Alexander (Al) J. Pandell, Ph.D., published in The Alchemist’s Wine Perspective ©, Dr. Pandell speaks of several “energy barriers”, affected by temperature, which a fine wine must overcome over time to age. He estimates that a wine will age 1.5 times faster if stored at 59 versus 55. Assuming Dr. Pandell’s analysis is correct, instead of taking 20 to 30 years to mature at 55, it would take the same wine 13 to 20 years to mature at 59. Keeping in mind that temperatures with this range all sustain healthy development of wine in the bottle, the question really becomes when, if at all, do you want to enjoy the wine at its peak of development?

Most professionals will utilize temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with the vast majority (myself included), opting for a temperature between 55 and 60 degrees. Anyone who tells you that THE ideal temperature for storage is 50, 55, 60 or any other number within that broad range is expressing but an opinion, and perhaps a bit of self-aggrandizement, which should be weighed in light of the considerations above.


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