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Enemies of Wine

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October 31, 2008 / Manila – Much consideration is placed on purchasing fine wine from the countless selections in the best wine and gourmet stores.  However, enjoyment of wine goes beyond choosing the right vintage. Too often that not, right storage and serving of wine are taken for granted.  For example, most red wines are served too warm, while most white wines are served too cold. When experts say to serve red wines like Bordeaux and Burgundy at room temperature, they mean European rooms of 150 years ago, which is about 62F to 65F. On the other hand, white wines should be served at about cellar temperature, ranging from 52F to 55F. To understand more about wines and its proper storage, let us examine the factors that affect wine.

Enemy No. 1: Heat
The ideal storage temperature for wine is generally accepted to be 55F. Not coincidentally, the 55F mark is the natural temperature of underground caves in France, where most wine storage occurs. Science has determined that wine stored at temperatures greatly higher than 55F will experience an increased aging rate, resulting in the maturation of wine over a very short period of time. The greater the temperature increase, the faster the wine ages. One study suggests that a month of aging at 91F is the equivalent to between 4 months and 18 years of aging at 55F, depending on the type of wine. Wines exposed to extreme heat will expand, causing the cork to push up from the bottle and leak from the top. The industry term for heat damaged wine is “cooked”.  Signs of heat damage may include visible discoloration along the length of the cork after opening, or wine being visible on the top of the cork while still in the bottle, or a brick colorization in red wines when oxidation occurs.

Enemy No. 2: Light
Invisible ultraviolet light negatively affects the aging process in wine. The industry term for a wine that has been over-exposed to ultraviolet rays is “lightstruck”. It is believed that lightstruck occurs when UV light reacts with sulfur compounds found in wine, such as dimethyl sulfide. Delicate wines like champagnes are most susceptible. Excessive exposure to light is thought to contribute to the presence of unpleasant aromas of wet cardboard. Light damage is the reason why many winemakers use colored bottles and why wine should be stored in a dark environment.

Enemy No. 3: Vibration
The primary drawback to vibration is that it disturbs the sediment in wine bottles. However, vibration is another way that energy is introduced into stored wine. Over time, this “extra” energy could speed up the chemical reactions occurring in the bottle, potentially compromising the aging process.

Enemy No. 4: Humidity
Wine experts recommend that wine be stored in an ideal humidity ranging from approximately 60% to 70%. Too little humidity causes corks to dry, allowing oxygen to enter the bottle and cause oxidation in wine. Conversely, too much humidity can invite mold and mildew, which can destroy wine labels of fine vintage.

Proper Wine Storage
Traditionally in France, wines are stored in caves or cellars to protect them from the enemies of wine. Yet, maintaining a wine cellar nowadays in the modern home may prove to be difficult especially in our tropical climate. A more logical and practical choice is wine storage.

Working with those who know wines best – grape vineyards and sommeliers, Sub-Zero has created a true wine preservation system, not just a cooler. Sub-Zero Wine Storages provide a near ideal environment for wines to live in. Two independent storage zones, sealed and digitally controlled, maintain the perfect temperature; while dual evaporators, one for each storage zone, maintain steady, moderate humidity to protect your wine investment. These features let you set the ideal serving and storage temperatures suitable for your wines. In glass door models, aside from the UV-resistant glass that shields wine from harmful rays, Sub-Zero has gone a step further by adding argon gas between the double panes of glass for more insulation, enhancing energy efficiency while helping maintain steady temperatures. For protection against vibration, Sub-Zero’s quiet, well-insulated compressor lets wine rest undisturbed. Also, its beautiful cherrywood-fronted shelves cradle the bottles and glide out smoothly, providing access without rattling the bottles. In the end, nothing should ever come between you and your wine investments.

Sub-Zero has five wine storage models with capacity ranging from 46 to 147 bottles. The wine storages also allow design flexibility with stainless steel finish, integrated, framed or overlay designs to better suit your taste. Sub-Zero is exclusively distributed by Focus Global Inc. Visit the Showroom located at Pioneer corner Reliance Streets, Mandaluyong City. Showroom hours are Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10AM-7PM and Sundays, 1PM-6PM. For inquiries, call (632) 634-8587 or email corporate@focusglobalinc.com. You may also log on to www.focusglobalinc.com.


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