21 Oct No Bad Wine Day At The Wine Storage Room
Auckland’s humidity isn’t just messing with your hair. It could be giving you a bad wine day, as well.
This long, skinny, adorable isthmus of ours is notorious for its saturated summer air. When balmy airflows float down from the tropics and nestle on our obliging twin harbours, humidity levels zoom towards 100 percent.
Even in midwinter, Auckland’s average humidity is a hefty 89.9 percent — the cooler temperatures simply mean you don’t notice it so much. Which is all a bit of a problem if you’re a nice bottle of wine.
“Ideally wine needs to be kept at a constant temperature, and with humidity between 60 and 70 percent,” explains Steve Allen of The Wine Storage Room.
“That’s the optimal humidity to ensure that the corks don’t dry out. If the cork gets too dry in your cellar and contracts, oxygen gets in and that affects the wine’s quality.”
Too much humidity and damp labels start peeling off or rotting — not ideal if you like to know what you’re drinking, particularly in well-stocked cellars where you may not notice the mouldering remains until it’s too late.
Allen and professional oenophile Reece Warren have seen it all too often in the consignments of interesting wines that come to them to find new owners each month via their sister business, The Wine Auction Room, and have had to turn many wines down for auction purposes as they were not in a fit state to sell.
“We’ve had unidentified bottles where we’ve had to do forensics to find out what it is.
“We can use all our industry knowledge and equipment to examine the type of glass and cork, use specific lights to see more of what’s going on inside the bottle, but there are times when you can’t decipher it.
“It’s a shame for the would-be seller, and obviously, a real shame when any wine has been ruined. Many people don’t realise the importance of controlling both the temperature and the humidity.”
So their new, purpose-built Wine Storage Room on the city fringe in Eden Terrace takes away the guesswork and minimises the risk of spoiling pricey or beloved vintages.
The advantages of off-site private cellaring — light, temperature and humidity controlled secure personal vaults for wine that you can access 24/7 — make you wonder why anyone would try it at home.
The high-spec temperature tech is provided by the same refrigeration specialists who handle the precise requirements of hospitals for pharmaceutical storage, while a two-factor security system with 24-hour, high-definition CCTV and heat sensors complements custom security grilles that were made by a company that provides prison systems.
“Every single element of the design has been dedicated to the optimum conditions for wine storage,” says Allen.
“For instance, our vaults are constructed from a combination of both perforated and solid steel, just to make sure we get the maximum airflow. We also have built-in back-up capability so that if any one piece of equipment fails, or there’s a power cut, we’ve got it covered and can maintain a constant, perfect environment.”
The Wine Storage Room’s 42 vaults range from 3.4 to 17 cubic metres: 3.4 m³ holds approximately 1,200 bottles. That’s a lot of good wine, so Allen and Warren went the extra mile to configure a bespoke wide, shallow design.
“Most wine storage vaults that we’ve seen in 30 years in the industry are narrow, so they’re stacked quite deep.
“We thought, wouldn’t it be better if you could open your vault doors here and everything is right in front of you? So you don’t have to waste time, or risk breakages, by digging around for one particular bottle of wine.”
The 42 new vaults for hire are already proving popular among wine auction clients, so now’s the time to register interest at winestorageroom.co.nz.
Scientists say Auckland’s year-round humidity levels will increase with the ongoing effects of climate change. You may not be able to sidestep that bad hair day, but avoiding a bad wine day is in your complete control.
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