Make Time for Wine
Whether your wine cellar is the charge of the butler or sommelier, the overseeing and maintenance of a fine wine management system requires a certain set of skill, knowledge and expertise. How and where the wine is stored, bottle history, vintage, provenance, travel and purchase details are rudimentary of course, but also a knowledge of which wines are to be stored and which are ready to drink.
The best wine management team build up a knowledge of wine regions, variations and have an expert eye for which wines are best paired with which dishes. Working closely with the kitchen staff over menu plans, recommending the best wines to complement individual courses and the tastes of your guests.
- Keeping wine stored at a consistent temperature is crucial, so make sure wherever the wine is stored, either in a cellar or cooler unit, it’s ready and reliably even. Normal cellar temperature should be fine, but the recommendations are 10-12 degrees for whites and 12-15 degrees for reds (Celsius).
- Wine needs to be in a fairly dark, slightly humid environment so avoid direct lights or windows letting daylight shine on the bottles.
- Keep stored bottles lying flat, so the wine is always in contact with the cork.
- Keep the labels visible so you can easily see, at a glance, what’s what without disturbing the bottles.
- The longer you can leave the bottles untouched, the better.
- Store the wine in a logistical order so you can find what you're looking for. Whether by grape variety, country, area, vintage, producer or alphabetically.
- Include labels on your wine racks - that helps too!
- If your employer’s preferred wine is a ready to drink, it’s best not to buy large quantities of it. It may peek soon and when it does, it’s advisable to go for a new vintage.
- Keep a catalogue of wine purchases, what, where, when, price paid and when recommended to drink. That will become your sacred wine-log book.
- If you’re purchasing wine bottles and planning to store them for a few years, buy 2-3 identical bottles, so you can test one before serving the others.
- When buying expensive bottles for storing, ask questions such as: tasting notes, travel history, storage history from producer to retailer and cork problems.
- Knowledge is power - follow your favourite wine producers and brands on social media, read up and gather as much wine-knowledge as possible.
- When the time comes to test a bottle, think ahead - lift the bottle and leave to stand for at least 24 hours, you’ll need to carry out the decanting process with precision.
- Decanting is recommended for most wines, for the very old bottles it’s best poured directly into the glass and don’t be surprised to see a little sediment.
- Keep wine tasting notes in your log so you remember what’s what next time.