Back to school – Cellaring 101!

Hello ,
We get a lot of questions about how to handle wine, and they mostly concern how to cellar it and how long to keep it. It really is worth knowing a few key facts about this subject, as there are few things more irritating (and even embarrassing) than presenting a prized bottle to expectant guests (particularly if you have raised expectations!) and finding it a bit of a disaster. We thought we might share some hard won experience with you. However cellaring wine is academic most of the time – it is a pretty amazing fact that in Australia the average time from purchase to consumption of every bottle sold is a lofty 20 minutes!
This week we release a lovely young Coonawarra cabernet from the outstanding 2012 vintage – Angoves are a famous, family owned winery and this, their top of the line red, is rich and smooth with lovely drying tannins – it is drinking well now but do try and keep it (after reading these cellaring tips!) for say 6 months before getting into it. We also release a delicious riesling from the Clare Valley, grown in perhaps the best vintage in that area for a generation – 2012.
Joining our $10 Fonty’s Pool merlot as our “Bargain of the Week” we have another special from the famous Salitage winery – for only $8 a bottle you can indulge in the 2009 Chardonnay Verdelho - from a great vintage, it is soft, delicious, and easy drinking with a nice, clean finish. 

Angoves Coonawarra 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

From a fantastic vintage in one of the worlds great wine areas, this wine is a cracker. With fully ripe fruit overlaid with fine, dry tannins it is smooth and has excellent balance. A drier style that will live for years but it is already drinking beautifully as the lovely fruit continues to integrate with the fine-grained tannin.

Spurs Wine Company 2012 Clare Valley (SA) Riesling

2012 in South Australia is now regarded as the best vintage in decades. James Halliday recently stated that “Clare Valley’s riesling will be absolutely outstanding, one of the greatest years in living memory”. Reflecting the excellent year, this wine has beautiful clean, fresh fruit balanced by lemony acid that will soften and age beautifully – however this is wonderful, fresh drinking right now. Good value at $13 a bottle.

Salitage Pemberton (WA) 2009 "Tree House" Chardonnay Verdelho


From a great vintage, and now 5 years old, it has softened beautifully, and with only minimal oak treatment it is smooth and clean with just a touch of richness. Delicious, soft wine with a nice clean finish that has been one of our big sellers – with a RRP of $18 you will get a real bargain at only $8 for this week only.

Storing Wine

If you are able to hang onto your wine for more than 20 minutes, then the key elements involved in storing wine are:
  • NO vibration: Try not to store wine on floorboards that move slightly, or under stairs that are wooden etc. Wine needs to rest to let all the elements in it to integrate and form nice long chains – these are extremely complex chemical processes but suffice it to say the longer the chain, generally the smoother the wine! Being constantly vibrated disturbs this process.
  • Vinous jet lag: Similarly when a wine is transported, these long chains literally break and take a while to re-combine. If possible give your wine a few weeks to recover from its journey.
  • No natural light: This really wrecks wine if exposed for too long (which is why so many bottles have dark glass). Wine left in the sun even for a few hours is generally a disaster. Electric light is OK but long-term exposure not yet proven to be harmless.
  • Temperature: Storage at 16 to 18 degrees is regarded as optimal and drinking them only marginally warmer is the go. Thus drinking reds at “room temperature” of 30 degrees in Sydney can wreck the taste – this is why we always suggest to chill your red slightly on a warmer day (and give it lots of air).
  • Temperature changes: Most people do not have proper cellars so the crucial thing is to have a temperature that changes very slowly over time. Thus storing your wine in a closed cardboard box is great as the box is an excellent insulator. Putting individual bottles in old (woollen) socks also works really well but your family may (quite unfairly!) think that that is REALLY odd! Putting your wine bottles on display in an open rack in a heated room or near a fridge may look good but really not recommended. On top of the fridge is perhaps the worst possible place in the house.
  • NEVER warm your wine in front of the fire – you will literally cook it and likely ruin it
  • Labels: If your storage is a bit damp (great for corks) or you want to keep your labels in pristine condition, wrap each bottle in gladwrap (who said wine collecting was odd!) 
If like most people you are going to keep your wine for only a year or two, then basically all you need to do is keep it in the (closed) carton and stack that box in a cool, dark place on a concrete floor. 
If you would like to order any of these wines simply log onto our website where you can also see and select from our full range. Or ring us on
0416 178 547 and tell us what you are looking for and we will do the rest. And use those old woollen socks to keep your special wine cool and cosy!

All the best,
David and Hugh

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