Yes, wine cabinets are a good investment for anyone interested in drinking better wines, aged wines or high end bottles. Climate-controlled wine cellars ensure that your wines are always stored in the perfect conditions for maturation, and do not lose value or sensory appeal because of improper cellaring.
Are you looking to buy wines to trade? Being able to prove provenance and correct cellaring will be the main determining factors to maximise return on your investment, should you wish to sell your collection one day.
If you don’t have a wine cabinet or a proper underground cellar and store your wine in an area where temperatures exceed 20°C or 68°F, your wine will be affected within a couple of months. In particular, temperature fluctuations are terrible for your wine. The quicker they are, the more impact they will have. Two-three degrees Celsius over a few months is less problematic - 10 degrees Celsius on a daily basis will ruin even the most stable wines. Indeed, as we move into the summer months, the heat combined with these excessive diurnal swings in temperature can be the end of your wine within weeks.
Environment stress visibly affects wine in the following ways:
- Heat literally ‘cooks’ your wine resulting in unpleasant, flabby ‘spoiled fruit’ flavours.
- Sunlight and UV light strip wine of its natural fruit flavours, resulting in a wine that’s dull, flat and lifeless.
- Imperceptible vibrations accelerate the ageing process and eventually deteriorate the body of your wines.
- Dry environments dry out corks and make them brittle, allowing air into the bottle which oxidises the wine, creating off-odours and turning it brown (like apple slices when exposed to air).
- Lack of ventilation can cause mould to grow on the corks and labels.
Are you just beginning your wine journey and not yet ready for your first wine cabinet? Don’t keep the bottles in the food fridge, where they can pick up off odors. Even worse is keeping them above the fridge, where vibration and heat from the fridge itself will provide terrible conditions. Instead, keep them laying down in boxes under your bed or in a closet with no wall to the outside. The wines have a greater chance of surviving though be aware, they will age much quicker, but it is a good back-up while you gear up for your first wine cabinet purchase.
So, in summary, a proper cellaring solution is a must in the long run. As much for re-sell value as for your own enjoyment, it is important to care properly for your bottles as they age.