How to Host a Wine Tasting Party

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Wine tasting parties are a great way to bond with friends and family!

It has become a trend among collectors to have a tasting area within their wine cellar. This is because those who have tasted the wonders of wine are inclined to share their experience with their significant others. If you’re into wine and you’re wondering how to host a tasting party for your friends and family, this article can help you. 

Wine Tasting Parties – A Great Way to Bond with Loved Ones

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Store only the best wines in your wine cellar!

Your wine cellar is filled with a collection of vinos from different regions. You consider each bottle a gem, that’s why you’ve invested a lot of money in making sure that they’re stored safely and aging properly. Although you could choose to enjoy them all by yourself, you realize that the best things in life are better experienced when shared. This is why you want to host a tasting party.

Attending commercial wine tasting events can also be very intimidating. There usually is a sommelier breathing over your shoulder, making comments about your pronunciations. Holding your own wine tasting for your friends and family is a great way to learn about wine in a comfortable and less intimidating setup.

The following are the steps to hosting your very own wine tasting party:

1. Pick a Theme

Click on image for a larger view of the photo!Just like any gathering, you have to plan for your wine party. The very first thing to conceptualize is the theme of your party. Examples of common wine tasting themes include “All French, All The Time”, “Wines From Around the World!”, and “Old World vs. New World.” You can create your own unique theme.

There is no limit to your creativity when it comes to planning for tasting themes. The important thing to remember when choosing a theme is that it should have an underlying similarity that will tie all the wines you’ll be serving. This could mean similar region, vintage, grape variety, etc.

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Horizontal Wine Tasting Themes

This kind of tasting involves wines from the same region and year, but from different wineries. Horizontal wine tasting parties are common when a new vintage is released. Your friends and family can compare each wine bottle, and find out which winemaker did well in a particular year and who did not.

Vertical Wine Tasting Themes

Vertical wine tastings, on the other hand, involve comparing various vintages of wine from the same winery. Since the wines are made from the same vineyards, the only variable to compare each wine with is weather. In this kind of tasting, you and your guests can observe the effects that weather of a certain year can have on wine.

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2. Prepare a Budget

Click on the image for a larger view of the photo!Wine tastings sound fancy and thinking about how much you might spend for hosting one can discourage you. A wine tasting event is fun and planning for one should be just as exciting, but this does not mean you need to break the bank. There are many ways you can keep the costs low.

You can keep the expenses at a minimum by serving wines of different price points. This is a good way to debunk the common misconception that costly wines are synonymous with quality wines. In a blind tasting, for example, when wine labels are covered and guests have no idea what wines are being served, you’ll be surprised at how your tasters will enjoy a $10 Spanish red.

Splitting the costs of wines among your guests can also be an option to consider, in order to avoid spending beyond your budget.

Click on the image for a larger view of the photo!3. Choose the Wines to Feature

Ideally, you should limit the featured wines in your tasting party to five or six bottles. You want to give your guests time to appreciate each wine you serve. If you have more than six bottles, your tasters will tend to lose focus.

4. Prepare the Bare Necessities

You need to prepare the items that you and your guests will need during your tasting event. Number one on that list is water. Alcohol dehydrates the body and this why we suffer from a hangover the morning after having too much wine. Keep your friends and family hydrated, so they still want to attend your future tasting parties!

Spittoons and dump buckets are necessary too! Experienced wine tasters keep themselves sober taking sips of wine only and spitting them, in order to focus on the vino.

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Click on the image for a larger view of the photo!You need to have the appropriate glassware prepared. Large crystal glasses are awesome, but if you only have small glasses, they will do just fine! Plus, small glassware are easier to clean and are a lot more affordable. You do not need clean glasses for every wine. One glass per guest is enough. After every wine, have a little water swirled in the glasses to prepare for the next serving. Don’t worry about new wine being poured onto the last drop of the previous wine, as long as the new wine is heavier than the one before it. Tasting experts recommend serving wines from lightest to heaviest and driest to sweetest.

Although it’s not necessary, food can be a good asset to your tasting party. If you do decide to have food served during your wine tasting event, consider serving an assortment of munchies that loosely pair with the featured wines. Other options include fruits, cheese, crackers, and chocolates.

Provide pieces of paper and pens for your guests, so that they can write down their notes on each wine they try. After having tried all the wines presented, allow time for everyone to share their thoughts and observations about each wine.

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In most states, three glasses of wine in an hour for men, or two for women, is at or above the legal limit. Keep your pours to three ounces or less. You want to keep your guests sober because the best wine tastings are intelligent and engaging parties.

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Choosing Vintages for Your Collection: What is the Significance of a Wine Rating?

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!You scan through the plethora of options in a wine store, and you ask yourself, “Which bottle should I buy?” Choosing a vino to add to the collection in your cellar can be a challenge at times, especially if you’re a newbie at collecting. Most wine aficionados check reviews or ratings before they decide on purchasing a bottle. Who makes these reviews, and are they really that important?

A Brief History of Wine Ratings

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!You’ll hear long-time wine collectors often say, “I only buy wines that score 90 points and above.” It makes you wonder whether they can really distinguish an 89-point from a 90-point wine – they most probably can’t!

The experience that wine gives varies from person to person. The same bottle of Chardonnay that can make one person happy can make another squirm. This is because each individual has a preference. But, if wine tasting experiences are very subjective in nature, why do we have ratings assigned to each bottle? Where did all this begin?

The Davis System of Rating Wine

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!It all began in 1959 when an Enology professor at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Maynard Amerine, developed a scoring guide called “The Davis System.” In this scoring system, a number of points are assigned to ten categories. The points are then added to achieve the overall score of the wine.

The categories of “The Davis System” include:

1. Appearance.

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!In this category, the wine is observed for clarity. The maximum number of points for this is two.

2. Color.

Wine can generally be white or red, with variations of darkness from yellowish to burgundy. Two points are assigned to this category.

3. Aroma and Bouquet.

The scent that a wine gives off contributes greatly to the overall tasting experience. A pleasantly aromatic wine can get up to four points.

4. Volatile Acidity.

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!The wine is tasted to determine the strength of its vinegar content. If the wine does not smell like vinegar at all, it can get a maximum of two points. A hint of vinegar in its odor can garner a wine one point, while a strong and pungent vinegar smell can give a wine zero points.

5. Total Acidity.

The level of acidity contributes to whether the wine is enjoyable or not. Wine with less acidity can be scored with a maximum of two points.

6. Sweetness.

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!Wine is also observed for its sugar content and how its sweetness balances the acidity. Well-balanced sweetness versus acidity can get a vino a maximum of one point.

7. Body.

When the wine is tasted, it is evaluated on how it feels in the mouth – light, medium or heavy. Its alcohol content is also observed. A maximum of one point can be given in this category.

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!8. Flavor.

A rich and well-balanced flavor can give a bottle of wine a maximum of two points in this category.

9. Astringency.

Some wines are very astringent to taste, and this means a high tannin content. Too much tannin in wine will make it unlikeable. The most points for wines with the right amount of tannins is two points.

10. General Quality.

This category is completely subjective, depending on the preference of the evaluator. A wine can get a maximum of two points here.

Tips on how to order wine in a restaurant!

How the Scores are Interpreted

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!Once all of the points are summed up, they are rated as such:

17 to 20 points: The wine has no defects and has purchase-worthy characteristics.

13 to 16 points: These are typically considered as standard wines. They have no defects, but they don’t have outstanding characteristics.

9 to 12 points: These are wines that are sold on the market at very low prices. They have slightly noticeable defects.

5 to 8 points: Wines that fall within this score range are below commercial acceptability.

1-5 points: These are scores for wines that are completely spoiled.

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The 100-Point Scale of Rating Wine

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!The Davis System of rating wines was generally accepted until the mid-70s when a wine critic named Robert Parker and his friend Victor Morgenroth, realized the scoring method was faulty. They didn’t like the feeling of deducting points from a wine. So, they introduced another system of scoring, and that is the 100-point scale.

This scoring method gives 50 points to all wines just for being wine. Then on top of those 50 points, it adds up to five points for color and appearance, a maximum of 15 points for aroma and bouquet, 20 points for flavor and finish, and a final 10 points for overall quality.

This 100-point scale is most popular among wine lovers in the United States, because the scoring system is relatable to Americans. This is because the system is similar to the grading methods in our schools.

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Interpretation of the 100-point Scale Scores

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!Unlike the Davis System, the 100-point scale is more positive in its qualitative analysis of the scores. After adding the points assigned to each category on the 100-point scale, the scores are interpreted as:

95 to 100: Classic. 

Wines with this rating are considered highly recommendable.

90 to 94: Outstanding.

Wines with scores that fall within this range have superior characteristics and style.

Click on the photo for a better view of the image!85 to 89: Very Good.

These kinds of wines have distinctive qualities that are worth trying.

80 to 84: Good.

This rating means that the wine is solid and well-made.

75 to 79: Mediocre.

Wines with this rating are still drinkable, but they may have minor flaws.

50 to 74: Not Recommended.

Wines that have scores that fall below 75 points are not recommended for consumption.

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Wine Ratings as a Guide to Purchasing Wines

Wine ratings are mere numerical interpretations of other people’s opinions. And, opinions are, well, just that! They can have their thoughts about a certain bottle of wine, and you can also have yours.

When scanning through the various wines in the wine store, you can use the wine ratings as a guide on which wines are most recommended. But, at the end of the day, it’s still your taste buds that matter. Don’t hesitate to try different kinds of wines and create your own rating system to rate each type.

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Top Five Fallacies and Misconceptions about the Wines in Your Cellar

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What are the common myths about wine?

There is an overabundance of myths and misconceptions about wine out there. Whether you’ve been a long-time wine enthusiast or you’re just starting a collection, identifying the false ideas from the facts can help you be a better collector. Being able to sift the truth from the fallacies will help you have a better tasting experience with the wines in your cellar.

Five Most Common Lies About Wine

Click on the image for a larger view!As a true-blooded wine lover, you need to know the misconceptions about wine. Being able to determine the facts from the lies will help you explore the wine world without any hindrance. Lies can inhibit a person from indulging and experimenting. Fallacies inhibit you from learning more about your favorite beverage. Myths, such as the one that says all wines should be aged for years, will cause a person to lose the opportunity to enjoy ready-to-drink bottles. If you want to have the best tasting experiences with the wines in your cellar, learn about these top five misstatements about vino:

Click on the image for a larger view!Myth #5: All Bottles that are Sealed Using a Screw Cap Contain CHEAP WINE!

This is complete BS! Screw caps, commonly called Stelvin closures, are used by many clever winemakers as reliable protection for their beloved vintages.

Most people like wine corks because of the idea that is associated with bottles sealed with corks. Natural corks provide a classic pizazz to your wine tasting experience – a certain flair that no metal cap could ever give.

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Click on the image for a larger view!Although corks are lovely to look at, they may also carry a harmful chemical compound called TCA. Have you ever heard of the term “corked wine?” This means that your wine is tainted and smells like wet cardboard. This condition is caused by TCA contamination. Not so lovely now, right? Metal caps may not appear as romantic as natural cork, but they make sure that you don’t get corked wine.

Some people insist that capped wines are cheap wines. Of course not! In fact, a lot of the biggest German and Austrian wine producers are now using Stelvin to seal their bottles. Winemakers in Australia and the United States are also beginning to follow the trend. This is no surprise at all because prudent winemakers would want to ensure that their products are kept bacteria free!

Click on the image for a larger view!Myth #4: Sweet is the Same as Fruity.

Zinfandel, which is a wine known for its burst of fruitiness, is often described as a sweet type of vino. In the wine world, people often confuse sweetness with fruitiness. Although there are fruity wines that are also sweet, we cannot neglect the fact that there are a number of wines that are fruity without being sweet, and wines that are sweet but not fruity.

Our taste buds use thousands of receptors to interpret the aromas and flavors that we experience. When drinking fruity wines, our brain can interpret the aromas by associating them with known fruit flavors, such as berries, cherries, pineapples, and mangoes. But none of these fruits are necessarily sweet – at least not like sugar itself!

Click on the image for a larger view!Myth #3: Red Wine Can Cause Headaches Due to its Sulfur Content.

This is definitely a lie! Unless you’re one of the few people who are actually allergic to sulfites, the headache you’re experiencing after that bottles of Domaine Loubejac Pinot Noir is more likely to be caused by dehydration, not sulfur.

Keep in mind that most of the wines in your custom cellar would not be enjoyable at all without sulfur! In fact, you’ll notice that most wine bottles have “Contains Sulfites” on their labels. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) or “sulfites” is one of the key elements to preserving vino. This compound is added during the winemaking process to destroy yeasts and bacteria. The main goal of adding sulfites to wine is to prevent oxidation and maintain freshness.

Sulfite-free wines have a much shorter lifespan, and need to be consumed earlier compared to wines which have sulfur added. Check the labels on the bottles in your residential cellar, so that you can determine which ones are for early consumption and which ones are for aging.

Sulfites are generally harmless. So, if you’re not allergic to sulfites but are having a headache after downing a bottle of wine, perhaps you should drink more water and aspirin to fix that.

Click on the image for a larger view!Myth #2: Smelling the Cork is a Good Way to Tell if the Wine is Bad

It is common practice for many sommeliers at restaurants to show you the cork before they serve the wine you ordered. A lot of people respond to this by smelling the cork when it is offered. This is definitely ridiculous!

A lot of people assume that smelling the cork will give them an idea if the wine they’re ordering is good or bad. This is a terrible misconception. The best way to check if a wine is spoiled is by smelling the wine itself! Cork will smell like cork and nothing else. It will not give you any information about the condition of the wine.

The reason why the cork is offered at a commercial establishment is for you to confirm that the producer and vintage are the same as the wine you ordered.

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Myth #1: Use Cheap Wines for Cooking

A lot of people purchase costly vintages to add to their residential cellar, but they would also buy cheap wines for cooking purposes. The common rationale for using inexpensive wine for cooking is that they won’t be drinking the wine per se. There’s something off with that reasoning!

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When we cook any type of liquid, we allow it to evaporate until it is reduced to its concentrated essence. So, if you cook cheap, awful-tasting wine, aren’t you just making its bad flavor stronger and more intense? If you wouldn’t dare take a sip of that $3.00 vino from the grocer, why would you put its concentrated flavor in your food? Throw away that cheap bottle of wine! Your dish deserves better than that!

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Tips from the Cellar Expert: Choosing Wine When Dining at a Restaurant, Bar, or Any Commercial Establishment

Click on this photo to get a larger version of the image!For a lot of people, especially first timers, ordering wine when dining in a fancy restaurant can be a challenge of sorts. You see their glorious collection of vintage wines displayed in their commercial wine cellar, you browse through their impressive wine menu (without having any idea how to pronounce some words on the list), and you look at their intimidating sommelier waiting for your choice. Picking a wine to order can be an unnerving task for a newbie. Our experts can help you with a few basic tips!

Dining at a Fancy Restaurant: Choosing a Bottle from their Commercial Wine Cellar

Click on this photo to get a larger version of the image!Imagine yourself dining at Gary Danko, or at Acquerello, or any fine restaurant in San Francisco. The sommelier brings you a tablet computer for you to select from a list of over a thousand wines. There are so many choices, including wines that you’ve never heard of at prices you would never have imagined! The staff is patiently standing by the commercial cellar to retrieve the bottle you choose. The sommelier hovers at the table tolerantly waiting for your selection. You feel pressured to make a decision now, and so you point at your choice and show it to him. The question is: Will your choice be met with disdain or respect?

Chill! It’s just wine! Most of the time, it’s overthinking that kills us. So, just relax and remember that regardless what wine you choose, it will still be good wine — well, most probably. Any good-standing restaurant that is worth its salt will have only the best wines on their menu.

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Course Through the Wine Menu

Click on this photo to get a larger version of the image!A long list of around a hundred or even a thousand wines can be overwhelming, but don’t let this intimidate you. Generally, wine menus are formed with a structure. Most lists have arranged wines according to either grape variety or region. There are commercial establishments that break their menus into unique categories, such as “Big and Bold” or “Light and Lively.” These groupings are there to help make selecting wines easier for you. You won’t have to wonder if the option on the menu is a white or red wine. You’ll find it quicker to find the sweet and light vinos too!

Some people can find wine menus daunting because of the prices of the bottles on the list. Instead of being frightened of the dollar labels, think of it positively: A well-priced list could mean that the wines available are those of higher quality and better taste. This, however, does not mean that all expensive wines will appeal to your taste buds. There is an assortment of flavorful vintages that are sold at a very affordable rate. A bottle’s price tag should not be the determinant for whether you should try a wine or not. Go ahead and experiment with different wines with varying prices, so that you can find one that will appeal to your preference.

Mr. Sommelier, My Friend!

You don’t need to feel scared of the sommelier because they are there to help you. Most wine stewards know their menus like the back of their hands, and this means they can give you recommendations of their best sellers and top picks.

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It would definitely help to be honest. Tell the sommelier that you don’t know anything about the options on their list. Laying your cards on the table will not hurt you. In fact, if you give the sommelier information, such as your preferences in wine (e.g. sweet, light, etc.), he or she will be able to help make a more informed selection for you.

Click on this photo to get a larger version of the image!When the server brings the selected wine to your table, check the bottle label first to verify it’s the correct wine and the right vintage. Vintages change all the time, and restaurants that have a huge stock in their commercial wine cellar can have a difficult time to keep up with these changes. If the wrong vintage is served, keep in mind that you are not required to drink a vintage that you did not order. As a common practice, the sommelier will offer the cork for your approval. No, you should not sniff the cork. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, smelling the cork will not help you recognize the scent of the wine. Cork will still smell like cork!

Click on this photo to get a larger version of the image!Before filling your glass with the wine you selected, you have to assess first if the wine is of good quality. Swirl a small portion of the wine in your glass and smell it. If the scent is similar to the odor of bird droppings or old and wet cardboard, the wine most probably is flawed. Statistics reveal that approximately 3% to 5% of the wines in a commercial wine cellar are flawed. So, don’t feel bad about sending back a flawed bottle of wine. If, however, you are satisfied with the aroma of the wine, give the sommelier a nod of your approval. He will then fill your glasses with the wine.

Click on this photo to get a larger version of the image!Don’t forget to give at least a 15% tip on the wine if you encounter a sommelier who provides good service!

Explore Unknown Territory and Conquer!

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

You might want to try “flights”, which is an experience offered by many restaurants wherein you are served with an assortment of wines in small amounts. The different wines served are usually linked by region, varietal, or whim.

Click on this photo to get a larger version of the image!Some commercial establishments offer a “chef’s menu”, which is usually a special chef for that particular evening. For every dish served, the chef or the sommelier has a wine selected from their cellar to pair with the food. This food and wine pairing experience will give a better appreciation for both the dishes and the vinos.

It’s alright if you want to stay within the safe zone of drinking only well-known labels. But, exploring options and discovering a gem of a wine can be very rewarding!


Does Your Residential Wine Cellar Really Need a Humidifier?

Click photo for a larger version of the image!The importance of a constant climate-controlled environment for proper wine storage cannot be overemphasized! Wine, unlike other beverages, is easily damaged when stored in a room that is hot and dry. You cannot invest in equipment to keep your wine cellar cool without thinking about how to make sure it’s also adequately humid. Coolness and humidity are essential factors to keeping your favorite vintages at their best quality.

The Ideal Wine Storage Setup: Correct Temperature and Humidity Levels

Click for a larger view of the image!Centuries ago, winemakers built wine cellars underground. In fact, the earliest wine cellars were caves. It is the temperature and humidity in those caves and underground storage places that builders are trying to achieve when they construct residential and commercial wine cellars today.

Most people know how important coolness is to wine storage. But, a lot of people overlook the importance of humidity in the wine room. Ideally, wine cellars should have a relative humidity of 50% to 70%. Together with an ideal temperature that is within the range of 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, this humidity level creates a cool and damp environment perfect for storing wines.

We’ve established that a humid environment is just as necessary as coolness when storing vino. But, still this question remains: Why is humidity so important to wine storage?

The Role of Humidity in The Proper Storage of Wines

Click on the photo for a larger version!After fermentation, wines are bottled and sealed. Most winemakers put their products in a glass bottle and seal it with a natural cork. This seal, provided by the cork, should be perfectly dependable in managing the amount of oxygen that enters the bottle. If the wine is exposed to too much oxygen, it can get spoiled. Too little oxygen might delay or inhibit the maturation process of the vino.

You may click on the photo to see a larger version of the image!Cork is the popular choice for sealing wine bottles because it expands to prevent leaks. But, in order for it to expand properly, cork has to be kept moist. This is one of reasons why the humidity in your residential custom wine cellar should be kept within the ideal range. If the humidity in the wine room is too low, the bottle corks might shrink. An over-shrunk cork will allow entry of air into the bottle and damage the wine.

A cellar that is too humid is not good either. Too much humidity can lead to mold forming on your corks, labels, and everywhere else in the storage facility. This is definitely not a good thing, especially if your wine gets contaminated with mold!

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I Have a Cooling Unit. Do I Really Need a Humidifier in my Wine Cellar?

Click for a larger image!A robust HVAC system is necessary to create an ideal wine storage facility. But, most cooling units have a tendency to remove humidity from the air. Many refrigeration equipment manufacturers claim that their products can manage humidity. But, most of the time, what these cooling units can really do is simply reduce rather than increase the level of humidity in the cellar.

It is very important to consider the climate in your region as well. Some locations are more humid than others. Those with a highly humid climate can offset the drying effect of the refrigeration system. But, if your home cellar is in a region that is markedly dry, you most definitely will need to install a humidifier.

Choosing the Right Humidifier for Your Residential Custom Wine Cellar

Click for a larger image!There is a plethora of humidification systems on the market that range from humidifying equipment that you can add as an upgrade to your existing cooling unit, to decorative humidifier fountains.

When choosing a humidification system for your cellar, here are the factors you need to consider:

1. Humidification Unit Capacity

When choosing a humidifier, it’s imperative that you first collect the right measurement of the dimensions of your wine cellar. The humidifying system you choose should be dependable in maintaining the correct level of Relative Humidity (RH) that is proportional to the size, construction materials, bottle capacity, and other characteristics of your wine storage facility.

Click on image for a larger view!2. Control System

Choose a humidification unit that is completely automatic. You should not need to adjust the humidistat regularly just to maintain the humidity at the right level. Automatic humidifiers self-regulate according to need. As the level of humidity in the cellar changes, the amount of moisture that the equipment produces adjusts accordingly.

3. Quality and Durability

Because of the high level of moisture in refrigerated storage structures, it is vital that the humidifier you install is made of robust materials that are rust-proof and corrosion-proof.

Click on photo for a larger version of the image!4. Check for Maintenance Procedure

Most wine storage experts recommend installing a humidifier that does not require manual filling. You can also choose to install a humidification unit that has drains to flush out minerals and other wastes. A good humidifying system is one that only needs an average of one or two maintenance checkups every year.

5. Safety

An ideal wine cellar humidifier is one with a wetted pad design. This type of humidification system releases humidity to the wine room via vapor. The primary advantage of this design is that the unit does not emit bacteria or white dust particles into the air.

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Wine Storage Expert Needed

Managing the humidity in your residential wine cellar is a crucial factor to preserving and aging your favorite vintages. This is why you need to work with trustworthy storage professionals when building your wine room.

Custom Wine Cellars San Francisco is one of the leading builders in California with over a decade of experience in constructing dependable storage facilities. Contact us today, and let’s discuss the design and construction of your home wine cellar! Click here!

Key Facts for the Novice Collector – Have the Best Wines in Your Residential Cellar!

Want a larger version of this photo? Click the image!Wine collecting – you’re a new convert to the worship of this heaven-in-a-bottle. At first, you might feel like you’re groping blindly in the dark. You started with a few wine bottles, and now you have over a hundred in your collection. But, you’ve realized being a collector is more than just adding bottles to your stock. There’s so much involved, like knowing how to serve wine, what bottles to open before dinner, and what kind of vino to order from the sommelier at a restaurant when you’re out on a date. Be a true wine enthusiast by first knowing the basics about wine!

Be a Smart Wine Collector – Know the Basics About the Bottles in Your Residential Cellar

Get a larger view of this photo by clicking on it!No one becomes a master without becoming an amateur first. Even the best wine critics began as novices. So, don’t get discouraged if you think you get confused about the difference between a Muscat and a Moscato. (Although there isn’t really any difference other than their names!)

Before you go into expert level discussions about wine, it would be wise to up your game at the novice’s stage. Gather basic knowledge first. As Maria from The Sound of Music would sing it, “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start…”

How Were the Wines in Your Home Custom Cellar Made?

Get a larger view of this photo by clicking on it!Basically, most wines are made from grapes. These grapes are grown and nourished in vineyards all over the world by winemakers. A little emphasis on “by winemakers” because only those who are experts at making wine know how to properly grow grapes. You can’t just plant a vineyard in your backyard if you want to produce your own wine! Terroir or how a grape was grown – the composition of the soil, level of exposure to sunlight, amount of rain – has a tremendous effect on how the end product will taste.

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Once these grapes have reached maturity, they are harvested, placed in containers, and crushed. Then, yeasts – either artificially added by the winemaker or naturally gathered from the grape skins – begin to interact with the sugar in the grape juice. This interaction, which is also known as fermentation, will ultimately produce alcohol.

Click on this image for a larger view!Fermentation requires patience. Winemakers ferment wine from days to years, depending on the kind of wine they’re producing. Wine producers also have to decide where to ferment wine. The two choices of containers are oak and stainless steel barrels. Each one contributes a certain uniqueness to the flavor of the wines stored in them.

Get a larger view of this photo by clicking on it!Two Varieties of Grapes

Grapes can be divided into two varietals: white and black.

White grapes aren’t literally white. They’re basically the lighter skinned variety. They can be green, yellow-green, or light orange. Black grapes, on the other hand, are the darker types. They’re never literally black, but instead are either red, blue, or violet.

Get a larger view of this photo by clicking on it!Not all parts of the grape are used in making wine. The stem and seeds are often removed because of their high level of tannins. The skin and pulp are included in the winemaking process. The pulp is the liquid inside the grape and is made up of water, sugars, and acids. The skin is the most important ingredient in making wine because it is the one responsible for giving wine its color. The pulp is colorless. The process by which the pigment from the grape skin is transferred to the wine during the fermentation of the juice is called maceration.

The Six Types of Wine That You Should Have in Your Residential Cellar

You might be the type who wants to have ten bottles of one kind of wine, but doesn’t this lack of assortment become boring after a while? Make your collection more interesting by adding a bottle from each kind of wine variety! Not only will it increase the variety in your residential cellar, but it’ll also help you explore the different flavors. In the long run, you’ll find that there are more wines that will appeal to your taste buds than you think!

The six categories of wines are:

Get a larger view of this photo by clicking on it!1. White Wine

This type of wine contains little to no red pigmentation. More often than not, white wines are made from white grapes only. There are certain instances where winemakers could make white wine from black grapes, and that is if they exclude the skins.

The most popular white wines include Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay.

2. Red Wine

Black grapes, as discussed above, have colorless pulps. They produce red wine when the grape skins are included in the fermentation process. Besides the difference in color, red wines have higher tannin content than white wines.

You may click on the photo to see a larger version of the image!Examples of the most sought-after red wines include Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

3. Rosé Wine

Also known as pink or blush wines, rosé wines are called such because of their pink color. This kind of wine is made from black grape juice. They don’t completely become red because the grape skins are removed hours after being in contact with the juice.

If you’re planning to add a few rosé wines to your residential cellar, you might want to consider White Merlot and White Zinfandel.

4. Sparkling Wine

This variety can be made from either white or black grapes. What makes them standout is their carbon dioxide bubbles. Winemakers have developed a method to effectively trap naturally occurring carbon dioxide in the wine, in order to make sparkling wine.

The most well-known sparkling wines are Champagne, Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti, and Cava.

Click on this image to get a larger version of the photo!5. Dessert Wines

This kind of wine is enjoyed as dessert because of its high sugar content. There are various ways to make dessert wines, including harvesting grapes a little later in the season when their sugar levels are higher than normal. Some wine makers, like those who produce the Italian Vin Santo, would dry the grapes on straw mats first to concentrate their sugars before they are made into wine.

6. Fortified Wines

Fortified wines are those that have had Brandy or other kinds of spirits added when they were fermented. Some popular fortified wines include Port and Sherry.

Let’s talk about making a wonderfully designed cellar for your collection! Call us at +1 (415) 800-3788!


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