Wine Storage

Capitol Cellars is pleased to offer storage solutions for our discerning customers.

Wine storage lockers

For those looking for storage, we rent wine lockers in our climate-controlled “cellar.” These lockers can hold up to 30 cases of wine in the perfect condition to age gracefully. Locker dimensions are 36” deep, 36” wide, and 44” tall in an environment with stable temperature and humidity.

Looking to build your own cellar? Call us for recommended professionals and to order the incomparable WhisperKOOL cooling and humidifying units for optimum cellar climate control.

Why is proper wine storage so important?

The proper storage of wine is critical for long-term aging. Organic and biochemical compounds give each individual wine its taste, aroma, and color. Over the years, these compounds change and new compounds are formed, and this process constitutes the “aging” of the wine. However, improper storage can drain the life out of your fine wines, and you may end up with bottles of very expensive vinegar.

The California Central Valley is one of the most challenging places to store wine in the country because of the extreme temperature fluctuations (up 40 degrees in a day) and extremely arid climate. Simply put, this is not the best place in the world to store your wine in the garage, living room, or closet! Experts agree that the principal enemies of proper wine storage and aging are light, heat, air, and vibration.

Light tends to age wine prematurely through photochemical reactions that speed or distort the normal aging processes. For this reason, colored glass is used for most bottles. Light also usually means heat, and because heat accelerates virtually every kind of chemical reaction, it can be a very destructive force on wine. Although the optimal temperature for wine storage is between 55 and 60 degrees, it is the consistency of temperature that is even more important. Thus, wine is better stored at a constant 65 degrees than in a spot where temperatures regularly fluctuate between 50 and 60 degrees. In general, wine will age quicker in warmer temperatures.

Any liquid that comes in contact with the atmosphere can absorb oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, etc., and dramatically change its chemical make-up. When wine comes in contact with air, generally the oxygen oxidizes the ethyl alcohol, creating acetic acid (a.k.a. vinegar).

Wine should therefore be protected against air at all costs (aside, of course, from when it’s being drunk). Thus, bottles are usually stored on their sides, in order to keep the cork wet and tight in the neck. If the atmosphere is kept humid, however, the cork will not dry, shrink, or become more porous. The most commonly suggested level of relative humidity for wine storage is around 70%.

If you have an open bottle of wine that you would like to store for later consumption, the refrigerator is the best place. At a usual temperature of 41 degrees, the chemical reactions leading to spoilage (primarily oxidation) will be markedly slower than if kept at room temperature (usually around 73 degrees).