The feeling of going inside a vintage looking wine cellar filled with aged wines and ports, selecting your
decade old wine from a dusty rack covered with dust and webs and relishing your taste buds with the
smooth taste and the fruity aroma, it surely gives a tingling feeling (it does to me at least)!
After getting enough motivation from movies, its time that you have your own wine closet and a wine
bar made with used wine barrels at the other end for a romantic date.
If you are planning to try your hands on preparing a homemade wine, then there are certain things that
need to be known. The storage conditions, temperature to be maintained and the correct method to
prepare wines, I have answers for all these questions. Roll down for a quick history.
The Tradition Of Flavoring Wine In Oak
The red-colored beverage made by fermentation of grapes has evolved with time, culture and diet. This
culture started in Europe with the expansion of the Roman Empire that gave rise to many wine
producing regions. It gave a boost to many grapes varieties and cultivation techniques that paved the
way for several wine taverns throughout the empire.
With time the production of wine refined and improved wherein they learned several new ways to
prepare and store wine for better flavor. One of them was aging wines in an oak barrel.
Once Upon A Time...
Over a millennium ago, while expanding their territory, Romans traveled with weapons, food and not to
forget the wine. Since the wine was preferred over water as it provided the necessary calories to the
troops and also to fulfill an urge for intoxication.
They carried their wine filled clay amphorae to long distances but as they moved to Europe, carrying it
became difficult. That’s when they noticed people using wooden barrels made by oak for carrying wine.
With this, wines started to be stored in oak barrels as it was soft, waterproof and gave a rich flavor to
The Romans added cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and even butter to make their wines richer. Now,
the same ritual of aging wine in oak barrels and other used barrels continues where people love the
older wines rather than the younger ones.
The Modern Wine
With a wide range of wine available, people have huge choices and distinct tastes that make it famous
globally. Even today, winemaking has turned into an ever-larger market with technology to maintain the
temperature with the right proportion of love added then and now!
This doesn't end here. The used wine barrels have a huge demand which makes even more preferred
and a must beverage for all occasions.
Making your wine at home
1. Using organic grapes or good quality grapes for your wine can give a distinct taste.
2. Smash all your grapes and collect the juice along with the grape skin in a glass jar or a used barrel.
3. Add honey for sweetness and yeast for fermentation.
4. Make sure you cover it and place in a warm place with a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit
5. Stir the mixture for 3 days after every 4-5 hours till you see bubbles while stirring.
6. As the bubbling process slows, strain out the solids and use an airtight container or an airlock to
release the gases and avoid oxygen to enter.
7. After aging for a month, transfer it to a dark colored bottle for further aging and make sure that you
cork it immediately.
Make sure you are using clean equipment and place it in a dark room to retain the color. Taste the wine
at regular intervals to confirm that the process is going on.
10 Things to Remember when you Mellow Wine at Home:
Wine coolers or an electric aging unit can be helpful in storing wine at any corner of the house. Follow
these quick tips for top quality wine.
1. Aging it in the dark
Store your wine at a dark, undisturbed place where the temperature ranges between 45-65 degrees
Fahrenheit. If the temperature increases, your wine may get cooked and may not taste well.
Also, keeping it in a dark area may help in giving a rich red color to the wine. Use dark colored bottles to
prevent sunlight from entering into it and will reduce chemical reactions.
2. Aging it in a cool place
Rather than storing your wine in the fridge, prefer an underground basement that might be cool.
Prevent storing it in the kitchen with varying temperatures that may hinder the aging process.
A simple solution would be buying a wine refrigerator; it has the perfect temperature that enhances the
aging process. The ideal temperature for aging wine is 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Aging wines at a proper length
Before getting into winemaking, research the time required for aging wines. Proper aging imparts subtle
flavors to the wine, excess of preserving can spoil the taste. Vintage ports, dessert wines taste good
when aged while white wines don't.
4. Aging without UV
Ultraviolent rays can initiate chemical reactions that may give unpleasant taste and odor. Fluorescent
bulbs emit UV rays, thus choose incandescent bulbs. You want best for your wines, right?
5. Aging at the right humidity level
The humidity levels for the aging of wines need to be around 50%-80%. Damp air can dry the cork,
allowing air to seep inside the bottle that might not allow proper aging. Keeping a pan of water or a
dehumidifier at the storage area can fix the problem.
6. Age without shake
Even a slight vibration can affect the aging process. It is advisable to let your wine age on its own.
Constant movement can affect the sediment in older wines and prevent them from settling that might
not taste well. Leave your wine on its own! Try being a little patient.
7. Aging wine bottles at a proper angle
Arrange your bottles horizontally. The wine rack is designed in such a way that the cork remains moist.
This perfect angle also prevents the oxidation of the wine.
8. Age using equipment
For a hassle-free experience, buy a wine refrigerator that may help in controlling the required
temperature. Wine coolers are a smaller version of refrigerators that can be dumped at any corner of
your house. Hope you enjoy your handy wine closet!
9. Aging without compromising on the quality
We all love our wines to be aged and old. Instead, of following this infamous quote ‘The older the
better’, try to age your wine for just a few years initially and experiment by adding another year to it.
This can help in improving the quality and obviously would give a sweet taste of your efforts.
10. Let it age on its own
There might be a situation where the cork of the bottle might have been pushed upwards and wine
seeping through it. This doesn't mean your wine is not worth drinking. Instead of worrying yourself, just
taste the wine and decide later!
Romanticizing with Wine
It seems many of you might have been pursued with the idea of having your own wine cellar. A