Perfect ways to start your wine journey
I began collecting wine when I started my career as a wine critic in December 1981. My father, who collected wine his entire life, gave me a couple of bottles of Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) Georges De Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the early 1960s.
I had just started as an associate editor with the American wine magazine The Wine Spectator and I dutifully placed the bottles of California red in a dark corner of a closet in my apartment. I didn't have a wine cellar or temperature-controlled wine refrigerator, but it was still my first experience in collecting wines. I continue to collect wines today with wine cellars in Hong Kong, the United States and Italy.
Collecting wine isn't really about amassing large amounts of wine. It can be about that, but it's more about putting wines aside for future drinking. This can mean drinking them in a few days or decades in the future. Some people also buy wine for investment, which can be highly profitable when done correctly, but the main reason I collect wine is to ensure I have particular bottles for special moments to share with family and friends.
And it's also fun and entertaining to follow a wine's evolution as it ages in the bottle and understand the changes while drinking the wines. It's equally satisfying discussing vintages and perceptions of wines as they age. It remains one of the great pleasures in the criticship of wine.
Good storage is essential to wine collecting, which is the main reason I was happy to be asked to be the brand ambassador for the LG SIGNATURE Wine Cellar. The design and technical capabilities of the LG unit for protecting your coveted wines are top of the line and the unit is equally beautiful to look at.
Like all home storage units, it can be adjusted to maintain wine at optimal conditions, which I consider between a constant temperature of 59 to 64°F with a humidity of about 68 percent. What's key here is that these two factors do not fluctuate much and that the changes are gradual, if they occur at all.
For example, I have an underground cellar in my house in Italy with a few thousand bottles and the temperature changes naturally between 54 to 64°F during the year with some air conditioning in the hot summer months. Humidity is about 65 percent.
Another point is that the wines should be kept in the dark. Wine does not like light, particularly those in clear bottles. Substantial and continued exposure to light can pre-mature wines. It is also important during storage to keep bottles of wine horizontal to make sure the corks don't dry out.
Keeping bottles of wine on their sides is also the most efficient way to save space while storing wines. Don't forget to keep your wines in a stable and vibration free place. I like to think that wine storage should emulate some of the great old winery cellars I have visited in Europe where bottles are kept in a damp, dark and cool area on their sides for centuries until finally opened one day to give an amazing wine drinking experience.
Acclaimed as "one of the world's most powerful wine critics" by Forbes, James Suckling is now the ambassador for the newly launched LG SIGNATURE Wine Cellar.
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