Next question - Should you get bottle tags?
Given the small number of bottles you have on hand, I think bottle tags are a bit much. Bottle tags, for those of you who might be wondering, are those little white tags that slip over the neck of a bottle and allow you to print, using a fine point ink pen, what the bottle contains without you having to remove the bottle to see what it is. Picture four cardboard boxes with the tops cut off laying on their sides with the bottles laying inside waiting to be picked and taken off to the table. I can almost hearing the bottles whispering, "Take me. Take me." I think you are going to know what each box contains and having a bottle tag on each bottle is a little over kill. When you get your second set of four cardboard boxes and you now have 96 bottles, maybe then you will need bottle tags. Maybe. But I doubt it. Back in the days when I was making my own home made wine and had 20 cases of wine in wire racks on the wall in my crawl space, then I must confess, I used bottle tags. Keeping track of 250+ bottles of wine was a bit daunting. And having the tags allowed me to spend less time trying to remember what was in what rack at any given period of time.
What about temperature and humidity?
The spare bedroom where I have my wine cellar is at a constant temperature of 55°, for all but two months in the summer. I did not plan it that way. It just so happened that the room was almost always at the temperature that wine should be stored. The one thing I don't have available to the room naturally, is the right amount of humidity. One of the nice parts about living where I do, is that Colorado is a little on the dry side, as far as natural humidity levels go. The "experts" will tell you that your wine storage place should have humidity around 60 to 70%. That is on the high side if you have to live in it, I think. Today, in the middle of winter, my garage temperature and humidity gauge is reading 50% humidity and a temperature of 48° F. I am guessing that inside my house, the humidity is around 40%. One of the selling points to owning a wine refrigerator, is that the wine can be kept at a constant temperature of 55° and a humidity level of 60 to 70%.
Don't forget to diversify:
Diversify your collection between white, red and sparkling wines. Also, while the majority of your wine may come for the USA, don't forget that other countries have affordable wines too. So diversity means not just red, white and sparkling but also US, Italy, France, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, etc.
Plain or fancy?
Your wine cellar can become as plain or as fancy as you desire. Most of the better cooking and gourmet food shops online have those wooden wine racks that you can put together like Tinker ToysŪ. They consist of wooden dowel stock that have holes drilled into the sides and get put together in an afternoon. Go to www.google.com and search for "Vinrack by Modularack". Be sure to include the quote mark " on each end of the search, like I have done so you limit your search to just the words between the quotes. You will find that you can get a rack for $24.95 that will hold 12 bottles. So you will need 4 of these and it will set you back around $100 when you tack on the shipping, tax, etc. If you are setting up and want to show your friends, this might be the solution for you. If you are like me and your friends don't care where you keep it, they just like to taste it, then cardboard boxes will work just fine.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
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Jim Fortune - the Bella Wine Guy