Cool And Dark
Wine should be kept in a cool, dark place: the ideal temperature is about 10 degrees centigrade. Though cool, it must be frost free (avoid unheated garages for this reason). Humidity is important to keep the seal of corks –and thus the wine – in good condition.
Avoid Long Refrigeration
Keeping white wine in the fridge for weeks on end can deaden the flavour when you do come to drink it.
Store Wine The Correct Way Up
Always store table wine lying on its side to ensure that the corks don't dry out. Champagne and other sparklers can be stored upright – the layer of carbon dioxide in the neck of the bottle will protect the wine from contact with the air.
Keep Fine Wines In Their Original Wooden Cases
At least until you are ready to drink them. There's no safer way to store the precious bottles, and the official packaging should certainly be retained if you might want to sell at auction later on.
To prevent damp damaging labels on bottles, try sealing them with a blast of unscented hair spray.
Alternatives To A Cellar
If you don't have a cellar, try a Eurocave. These high tech temperature controlled cabinets mimic ideal cellar conditions and come in a range of sizes. Prices start at around £750 (US$1,125).
If Space Is A Problem
A compact solution for wine storage is the spiral cellar. These round cellars are sunk into the ground below your house and entered by an integral spiral stair. Bottles are then stored in a honeycomb of bins which make up the outer wall of the cellar.
Not For The Faint Hearted
For the richer or more gothically inclined, why not build your own vaulted cellar? These highly atmospheric vaults, which would not look out of place under a Medoc chateau, are perfect both for storing wine and as an impressive backdrop for sharing those grands crus.
Store Your Wine With The Experts' Many of the better wine merchants offer a storage service. This can be an excellent solution for wine that needs ageing. However, make sure that your wines are separately stored from the firm's stocks and are clearly marked as yours.
Plan For The Apocalypse
For the ultimate in secure cellaring, what could be safer than a bombproof bunker? In the event of a nuclear holocaust your wines will be safe, even if nothing else is...