Early examples of dried straw wines in Greece – grapes dried on straw to concentrate flavour – were noted for their ability to age due to their higher sugar contents. These wines were stored and sealed in earthenware amphorae and kept for many years.
In Rome, the most sought after wines – Falernian and Surrentine – were prized for their ability to age for decades. There are also biblical and philosophical references to the process of aging wine.
In the New Testament it is noted that “old wine” was valued over “new wine” (Luke 5:39). and Greek physician Galen wrote that the “taste” of aged wine was desirable and that it could be accomplished by heating or smoking the wine. However, in Galen’s opinion, these artificially aged wines were not as healthy to consume as naturally aged wines.
In the 17th Century, the English in particular, were growing in their appreciation for aged wines like Claret from Bordeaux. Demand for matured wine had a pronounced effect on the wine trade, creating a merchant class with warehouses and the finances to facilitate aging wines for a longer period of time.
Today, the wine cellar as we know it is a storage room for wine in bottles. In an active wine cellar, important factors such as temperature and humidity are maintained by a climate control system. In contrast, passive wine cellars are not climate-controlled, and usually built underground to reduce temperature swings.
Wine cellars protect wine from potentially harmful external influences, providing darkness and a constant temperature, since wine is a natural, perishable product. Left exposed to heat, light, vibration or fluctuations in temperature and humidity, all types of wine can spoil. When properly stored, wines not only maintain their quality but many actually improve in aroma, flavour, and complexity as they mature.
A temperature of 13 degrees C, much like that found in the caves used to store wine in France, is ideal for both short-term storage and long-term aging of wine.
Our walk-in wine cellar range, from 650 to 4,000 bottles, is designed for all wine enthusiasts, serious collectors, and hospitality sector with discerning wine lists. Whilst we would all love to have the underground cellars found in France, these are active wine cellars protecting your wine for short-term storage and also providing the right conditions for your wine to age naturally.
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