Factors that could put your wine collection at risk
One of the most rewarding motives for collecting wine is the ability to enjoy your collection over time. Once you have started buying wine in significant quantity, it is important to establish a risk-free storage plan. Wine, like any perishable food item is sensitive to its surroundings. The two natural enemies of wine are heat and air. They have a harmful effect to your wine if not managed properly. Fortunately, the alcohol content in wine does act as a preservative.
What are the 5 common threats that can compromise the quality of your wine collection at home?
- Malfunctioning temperature control of a wine fridge
- Power outages affecting humidity and other controls
- Theft or disappearance
- Water damage from flooding
- Accidental bottle breakage
When storing wine, here are the Top 4 elements that must be present at your wine storage area:
- Constant cool temperature. Ideally, your wine storage area should be between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (approximately 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit) with minimal temperature fluctuation. If you can’t find a spot that is cool, at least make sure it has near constant temperature. Note that in a warm country like Singapore, the higher the temperature the wine is exposed to, the more susceptible they are to be affected. Also, the more the temperature fluctuates, the more likely your bottles will be subject to ullage*.
* Ullage is the amount of wine lost due to the expansion and contraction of the wine during widely varied temperature fluctuation.
- Moderate humidity. Your wine needs to be stored in an area that has between 65 to 75% relative humidity. The cork which is used as a stopper in most wine bottles today requires humidity to maintain its condition and seal. Too little humidity causes the cork to become brittle and difficult to extract, eventually leading to cork failure. For this reason, it is best to store your bottles lying on their side. The same way humidity in the environment outside the bottle acts to keep the cork moist, having the wine in contact with the cork during storage will act to keep the interior of the cork moist.
- No light. When wine is exposed to UV rays for long periods of time, they are negatively affected. In particular, the short wavelength radiation that light gives off can cause damage to wine with regard to their sensory characteristics, colour, and overall stability. This is the reason why wine bottles are coloured either green or brown so as to provide some protection against UV radiation. It is advisable to store your wine in darkness, if possible.
- Leave your wine alone. You should leave your wine to lie in storage without much contact or movement until you are ready to drink them. It is best to allow all of the sediment in the wine to collect on one side of the bottle, allowing you an easy way of decanting the wine cleanly.
Finally, ensure your wine collection is properly covered. Most home contents insurance policies are not designed to provide cover for losses relating to wine. Chubb’s Masterpiece policy is designed specifically for each client’s needs and provides comprehensive cover for your wine1. Consider having a risk management consultation conducted. During this consultation, the risk manager will assess the storage conditions (whether in your home wine cellar/fridge or in a facility) and can provide recommendations to mitigate most risks.
1 For useful tips on how to insure your wine collection, read Insuring Your Wine Collection with Masterpiece.
If you would like to find out more on how you can get an adequate coverage for your wines, leave your contact details via the 'Contact Me' button below and our representatives will get in touch with you.