We have recently joined a wine club and have started purchasing red
wine in 12 bottle cases. The dates that we can keep these wines vary -
We have got bottles which can be kept ranging from 2005,2006 through
to 2008 and even 2010.
I have put up wine racks in the garage but now am wondering if this is
ok in the garage. I live in the midlands in England. Any help any one
can give will be helpful....
Garages generally aren't very well insulated. With the cold weather
coming up I'd be a little worried about frost and the cold. Wine does
not like wildly varying temperatures like you'd get with no insulation
of any type. Do you have a room in your house where you could switch off
the heating? I'd be inclined to use that, and keep the wine covered to
limit light exposure.
Thanks for the advice- I could find some places in the house over the
winter months for the bottles - If I left them in a wooden wine rack
for example which covers most of the bottle , would this be
sufficient to limit the exposure to light? I wouldn't put them in
I more-or-less agree, except to say that high temperatures are at
least as bad ones, and that most people say it is the night-to-day
variations that cause the damage.
So it depends a lot on how well-insulated your garage is. If it is
part of your house, it is maybe not so bad. In wine terms you are not
really planning to store for too long anyway - if you were laying down
for a few decades you would have more cause for concern.
You garage probably does not have large windows, but you should not
have direct sunlight on your wines.
The colour of the wine is not important BTW.
I held back on answering this, in the hopes you might get answers from
elsewhere. Never mind.
So, what you might call medium term.
As others have said, apart from freezing (30) short term variations are what damage wine most. The
problem with a garage, is that the _outside_ walls will be inadequately
insulated. So this will not give much protection against diurnal temperature
So, the first thing to do is to get a garden maxi-min thermometer and chart
what the diurnal swings are. If they are >~2C you need to do something about
it. I leave a relatively wide margin, because the thermal inertia of bottles
is relatively hugh and so will tend to level out these swings. To see what I
mean, get another maxi-min and over a week period, measure the swings inside
the case and outside. That will give you an idea of what you're dealing
with. If your garage roof is uninsulated, slap a good layer (20 cms) of
fibreglass insulation overall. That will greatly reduce variations.
The next thing to concern you is the mean temperature as it changes
annually. You can live with a relatively high (5-8C) swing from late summer
(max) and late winter (min), but if it's greater than that, you risk giving
your wines premature senility. Not very serious, but sad.
Lastly, what's the mean, year long? In the midlands, assuming an unheated
garage adjacent to your house, I'd expect it to be around 15C so taking
annual swings into account, say 11-19 would be what I'd expect. I think
that's a bit high, to be honest, though it's hard to see what you can do to
reduce it much. If your garage has a concrete floor, uninsulated, it ought
to be a decent cold sink, and by insulating from sources of heat, you might
be able to bring down the temperature a bit. I think an idea mean annual
temp would be around 8 (winter min) rising to 13 (summer max) giving a mean
of around 11.5. If the garage were free standing then I'd expect the mean to
be lower but the swings higher. Again, insulation and perhaps a heat sink
I hope I've given you some factual guidelines. You alone can make the
measures to see how your garage stacks up. For the short term, a year isn't
going to do much harm unless you get hard frosts.
Wine racks are pretty and give easy access to individual wines, BUT For best
short term temperature stability, stack bottles as tight as possible. Cases
So, stack your cases tight together, but in one layer, so that you get the
max cooling effect from the concrete floor. Then put a good thick layer of
loft insulation all round. If you can get thinsulate, so much the better.
Two or three layers even better. The ideas is to protect the area _inside_
the insulation from swings and variations. That will give you a short to
medium term solution.
Once you know where in the garage the coolest area with the least variation
is to be found, you should think about contructing a "box" within the
garage. Again, the most important things are 1 insulation 2 Heat sink. So if
you can, build a brick or breeze block "box" with an insulated door and -
especially - ceiling. Inside/outside the box, put as much insulation as you
can afford. Then put up your racks by all means.
If you have serious doubts about the garage, what are the alternatives? Do
you live in a house with a cellar? Do you even have the possibility of
constructing one? How about under the stairs? That's usually at the centre
of the house, and if it's against the floor, it could be reasonably cool.
Vibration is the risk here.
Hope all this helps a bit.
I agree about making an insulated surround for your wine. However I would
not use wine racks at all but go to an agricultural drain supplier and see
if you can buy some seconds of land drains. These are clay based and take a
bottle very nicely. They can be stacked on top of each other between the
walls of your outer container or box and the better wine put towards the
bottom and midlde of the stack. I have foun this a good way to keep wine
with minimal variation in an outbuilding in the North of England. (Location
classified!). A max/min thermometer will confirm variation but, provided it
does not get too hot, you can be too purist about keeping conditions.
Salut/Hi Timothy Hartley,
Agreed, up to a point. The OP said he'd already got the racks.
For me, wine storage is in two main categories (with a bit of overlap).
1. Aging (dodging the issue of the length of time). If you look to see how
chateaux and domaines do this, they stack their bottles tight. There is a
little air circulation, but the ratio of wine/volume is as high s possible.
Why? To keep the thermal inertia high and reduce light penetration.
2. Storing of wine ready for drinking. Here a wine rack is fine and your
clay drains are perfect. I have BB&R double depth racks made to measure for
my old wine cellar in the UK. Hold more wine, but a pig to get a wine from
the bottom back. I also have single racks and use a similar sort of idea to
yours. Concrete chimmey modules big enough to take just about 3.5 bottles
across. I fixed them double depth which allow 6 bottles interleaved top to
top. I can get 4 good rows which gives a total of 2 dozen in a "hole".
These are clay based and take a
Agreed. However, which of my suggestions re permissable temp/variations did
you feel was too purist?
did > you feel was too purist? >
None - I did not express myself well perhaps. I simply meant that people
can get too worried about temperature variation when for most wine kept for
a reasonable period of time the difference made by moderate variations is
not going to be vast in my experience. I think decent levels of humidity -
not a problem in England most of the time are at least as important as very
precise temperature control. My father has a temperature controlled wine
store and it is difficult to see a lot of difference between wine kept by
him in that and a bottle of the same wine and vintage which I have kept in
my land drains or in wooden cases stacked in an insulated outbuilding.