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Entries in wine cellar (2)


open that bottle night 

What: Open That Bottle Night
When: Saturday, February 23
Where: Wherever!

How many times have you been gifted a special bottle of wine, or gone to great lengths to bring one back from a once-in-a-lifetime trip, only to open it after it’s too late?

Created by married wine critics Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, former contributors to The Wall Street Journal, whose column gave the everyday wine lover ratings they could relate to—such as: “delicious!”, just plain “good”, or so bad it’s “yech”—Open That Bottle Night, OTBN, reminds us that even excellent wines have a shelf life and life is too short to not enjoy them before their best use is paint thinner.

So plan a party—for this Friday, the last of the month and the traditional OTBN date—and work on the menu so the wine you’ve chosen compliments as it should. Check out these helpful hints, keep your fingers crossed, and enjoy creating a new memory for that very special bottle.

1. Encourage guests to choose their bottle thoughtfully—and be prepared with ‘back-up bottles’ in case any have gone bad.

2. Be sure to share the story of the bottle with each other—and don’t forget to include the new memory of the evening’s events and those in attendance. Remember, good times with good friends are special events in and of themselves.

3. A bottle of red that’s “of a certain age” should be stood up a few days prior to opening to allow any sediments to sink to the bottom. This will ensure the best glass possible.

4. The corks of older bottles may be brittle or more difficult to remove so use a 2-prong corkscrew—which goes around the cork and not through it—and practice using it.

5. Slow down—and give proper consideration to the bottle’s temperature and the wine’s aeration. Older wines can be fragile so don’t jump to decant them or pour them down the drain at first ‘bad’ taste. Give them time to open up, try others in the meantime, swap stories, relax.

6. Create new memories with a collection of the corks marked with the date, or a scrapbook containing the bottle’s label and details of the evening—including recommendations for the wines that were worth the wait!


how to: design wine storage

Underground cellars date back hundreds if not thousands of years—before refrigeration—but today they can simply be accessible storage for wine lovers and frequent entertainers.

Whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur (fr., to know) there are a few key points to keep in mind before building a wine cellar.

1. UV rays can break down the complex structure of wines—which is why bottles are made of protective, darker transparencies—so choose a dark space in your home such as a corner in the basement, a closet, pantry, or under the stairs.

2. Avoid extreme heat and cold—but temperature fluctuations are the worst. Find a space that’s consistently cool with a 70% level of humidity, or where the climate can be easily controlled.

3. Wine breaths while it’s in the bottle, not just after it’s opened, so avoid strong aromas in the air.

4. Always store bottles on their sides to avoid dry corks—which can lead to oxidation or outside air getting into the wine.

5. Moving the bottles or constant vibrations can disturb wines so avoid the space next to your washer/dryer. It’s best to secure racks to walls—definitely if they’re taller than 48”.

6. Whatever racks suits the overall design of the room, make sure they accommodate champagne bottles—which are larger than standard reds or whites—if you intend to stock them.

8. Think about what kind of filing system makes the most sense to you. Reds vs. whites is easy—it’s when you get down to regions, grape varieties and blends that’s a challenge.

7. Go big and include a tasting area by incorporating a high dining table or mini bar. Keep accessories nearby—including bottle openers, glasses, cork bins, napkins…

9. If you build it, wine will come to you as gifts year-round so over-build and grow into the space.

10. For the best deals to stock your cellar, sign-up for membership to your favorite vineyard or wine club. Not sure what to stock? Or for how long? Research, build, then plan a wine tasting party!