Bottle Aging

Once your wine is filtered and finished, the first step to aging your wine is to put it into bottles. With the exception of oak barrel aging, the bottle is the best place for your wine to be since this is where it will live for the next few months to few years. However, once the wine is bottled there are a few more things to consider if you would like to age your wine to full potential. Listed below are some wine storage tips to ensure top quality wine.

Bottle Position

  • Store your wine upright for the first 3 days after corking.
  • After that, the wine should be stored on its side in order to keep the cork wet, if using natural or agglomerate corks. If using Nomacorc corks, the wine can be stored upright, on its side or even upside down as they do not need to be kept wet by the wine. 
  • Do not constantly turn your wine. Red wines will sometimes leave residue on the inside of the bottle which is fine, great winemakers of the world want this. Leaving the bottles as still as possible will allow this residue to settle properly. Even white wines, on rare occasions, may drop 'wine diamonds'. Carefully decant your wine if necessary.

Temperature

  • Cellar temperature of 10-15°C / 50-60°F is ideal but a little warmer or cooler is okay although the wine will not age as well in the long run.
  • Temperatures in excess of 25°C / 77°F will negatively affect the wine.
  • Temperatures below 7°C / 45°F are too low for the wine to mature properly.
  • Your wine should be stored where the temperature is as consistent as possible. Do not worry about gradual or minor fluctuations but severe temperature shifts in short periods of time are not good for your wine.

Storage Area

  • Store your wine in a cool, dark place away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
  • Do not store your wine directly on a cement floor. Put a thick piece of wood under your wine storage boxes.
  • Do not store your wine on heated floors.
  • Humidity should ideally be 65-75% if using natural or agglomerate corks. A humidifier or dehumidifier can be used if necessary. An air conditioner can be used to keep a room cool (18-20°C / 65-68°F) but it will pull moisture from the air which will lower the humidity. Nomacorc or other synthetic corks do not require humidity to stay sealed.
  • If keeping bottled wine in boxes, do not stack them in such a way that you have to ‘dig through the pile’ to find the one you want as this will disturb the wine.

Aging

  • A few reasons for aging your wine; reduced acidity, softer tannins, greater complexity and enhanced aroma.The bottom line is: wine is better with age!  
  • Usually, a minimum of three months is required to show significant improvement. The full aging potential of each wine depends on a variety of factors such as the quality level of the wine, type of wine (red or white) and even the varietal or blend that the wine is made from.
  • The chart below can be used as a guideline to age your wine to its potential.

 

Aging Guidelines*

Wine Minimum Maximum
     
Eclipse
reds 6-9 months 3-4 years
whites 2-4 months 2-3 years
     
Selection Original, International & Limited Edition Series
reds 3-6 months 2-3 years
white 1-2 months 1-2 years
     
Selection Specialé
Ports 3-6 months 2-3 years
Sherries 3-6 months 2-3 years
Icewines 1-2 months 1-2 years
Sparkling Wine 1-2 months 1-2 years
     
Vintner's Reserve & World Vineyard Collection
reds 2 months 1 year
whites 1 month 1 year
     
Island Mist & Twisted Mist
All Varieties immediate 1 year

 

*Remember, no one can predict exactly when you are going to like a wine the most, so when you are bottle aging, taste the wine in routine stages (e.g. 3 months, 6 months, 9 months etc. of age) and when you feel it’s ready to enjoy - enjoy!