Oenologie - Comment commencer sa cave à vin ? - Les Grappes

How do you start your wine cellar?

Do you have space to store a few bottles and want to start a wine cellar? This article will help you to lay the foundations of the constitution and management of a wine cellar. Whether you have the space to store twenty or hundreds of bottles, the concerns will be the same: the choice of wines, the management method... Les Grappes offers you a few tips to easily start a wine cellar and make it an ideal cellar! This is your chance to get started!

The Ideal Cellar

Before starting the constitution of your cellar, we propose to you to seize the criteria essential to the realization of an ideal cellar.

The cellar is first of all a room in which to store the wine. It must be suitable for optimal storage conditions: a room with a stable temperature between 12°C and 14°C, with a humidity level in the surrounding air of 75%.The room must be protected from vibrations, bad smells and light. It must also be well ventilated. The respect of these criteria allows the good conservation of the wine, which will therefore not be altered neither by heat, light, smells...

Next, the ideal cellar is a varied and lively one. From the very beginning, a cellar must contain diverse wines, representative of a wide range of tastes, types of wines, terroirs... it must be complete. But the difficulty and the stake of the cellar is that it must be alive. It must adapt to new discoveries, to discoveries, to originality... it is therefore up to you to keep this cellar alive as you drink.

Finally, a cellar is an investment and must be managed with moderation. The investment in the cellar should not exceed the value of your bottles. It should be a pleasure above all!

Starting point: defining your project

The first step in the constitution of the cellar is to evaluate its potential. In this way you will be able to define the scope of the project.

To do this, you must consider the space you have available: how much space does it have? What type of cellar is it? How to organize it? It is also necessary to study the quality of the storage place to evaluate how many bottles can be stored and under what conditions. For example, if you store your wines in the kitchen, next to the hobs, the storage potential will be different from that of a cellar in the basement. Indeed you must take into account the temperature, humidity and luminosity of the place in the constitution of the cellar. Thus you will be able to define the space you have and which will be able to accommodate the bottles in the best conditions. You will thus buy according to the available space. This stage will thus enable you to define a first choice of wines: according to the available space and the qualities of conservation of the cellar, you will choose rather wines to keep or rather wines to drink young.

Then you have to define the budget of your cellar. The idea is to fill your cellar from the beginning. This initial investment is generally between 300€ and 500€. The initial investment determines the quantity and range of wines that your cellar will have. But your cellar must be alive and evolving according to discoveries and trends. Thus the budget is not fixed, it may evolve to adapt to your taste.

Choose the wine

The cellar is the result of a selection of wines that should lend themselves to a variety of occasions. It must therefore present a wide range of products, which are suitable for all occasions, all gastronomic marriages ... For this, think about providing your cellar :

- wines to be drunk young. Perfect for an aperitif.

- of wines that you will keep for many years

-wines of various styles and ranges. They will be able to lend themselves to festive meals, to accompany different dishes.

Diversity is often what makes a good cellar. To build up this diversity, proceed to a classification of the wines according to different criteria :

You will have a category range of wine: it is generally linked to the price of the bottle. It is within this category that you separate wines to be drunk young and wines for laying down. This classification is important: if you only have bottles of wines for laying down, it would be a shame to have to uncork one for a small aperitif with friends...

Then you can organize your cellar according to the type of wine. Here you can distinguish between the wines according to the taste criteria. So you order your wines according to their acidity, or their smoothness, their tannin content. By proceeding in this way, you build up the diversity of your cellar. A complete cellar is a varied cellar, which offers wines that can harmonize with all dishes. This is why it would be ideal to have all these categories of wines in your cellar, and this applies to white, red and rosé wines! If you vary the types of wines, you will have a variety of wines from different regions. Enough to diversify your cellar and make it complete.

It is advisable to have 40% red, 35% white (divided between dry and sweet white wines), 10% champagne, 10% rosé and 5% natural sweet wines.

Of course, you should also be guided by your taste. But don't forget to think about the guests with whom you will be sharing your wines, whose tastes may differ from yours.

A good organization

A successful cellar is a tidy cellar, in which one can easily find oneself. To achieve this ideal, it is enough to be well organised from the start and to keep its rigour. So, from the very beginning, take care to classify and label your bottles by showing the category or region to which they belong.

You can also keep a cellar book. You will indicate the number of bottles you have for each wine, the food and wine pairings, the ideal ageing... This booklet will allow you to find yourself in your cellar, but also to manage the stock as you drink it.

You must also organize your cellar, manage its space. Thus the arrangement of the bottles must follow a logical order, while following the optimal conditions of conservation. Therefore, avoid cardboard boxes: they fix humidity and diffuse musty smells. Also avoid wooden crates, they have a dry atmosphere. Instead, prefer to store bottles in racks, organized by type and category of wine. Often, white wines are placed close to the ground, red wines above. The wines for laying down are at the bottom, to leave the wines to be drunk young at hand.

Here, all our advices are at your disposal. Once you have bought your most precious bottles, the desire to drink them right away is tempting, but wouldn't they be more delectable in a few years? Put your bottles in a wine cellar and let them mature a little ... they will be better !

Marie Lecrosnier-Wittkowsky for Les Grappes...

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