Ola again!

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Ola again!

Postby CraigW » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:03 pm

Hey folks,

Been a while since I contributed to this board... To be honest, the level of conversation was quite a bit over my head so I took a hiatus, absorbed as much as I could at work in the past few months, and now feel as though I can at least speak the language.

This board is such an incredible resource, I'd be a fool not to check it often.

The latest winatomy in my life:

- just bought my first Bordeaux futures last week, a number of 2005's to have and to hold with my wife, drinking one or two each year until somewhere around 2035 (when I'm 56)
- signed up for the WSET program held here in my hometown of Calgary
- managed the logistics and organized the backroom for the first ever International Value Wine Awards here in Calgary, with guys like Gismondi, Aspler, Tobe, Phillips, Stimmell, and Lawrason judging more than 750 entries and 3100 bottles
- sampled 89 Krug, 96 d'Yquem, Leoville Barton, Pontet Canet, d'Angludet, Gruaud Larose and others all this past Tuesday
- and finally, I am within two months of taking posession of my first house, brand new, and am looking at my options for a cellar; either a room I develop in the basement or a cabinet I will buy when I move in.

Which brings me to my first pertinent question:

In reviewing some of Environment Canada's climatological data, I have concluded that Calgary's relative humidity is around 71.2%, which, from what I've heard, is within the desirable range for which corks will not dry out and mould will not grow.

Additionally, in my new house we have a drum humidifier that should appropriately moderate humidity to take care of the hardwood floors. That said, the humidifier is likely not aimed at or in consideration of the undeveloped basement, but there should be some spinoff as air and humidity likely circulate throughout the house.

The basement should do an equitable job of moderating temperatures as well, and so long as I develop a wine cellar room at the opposite end of the basement from the furnace system, I feel as though I won't have too much trouble obtaining and maintaining a 12-14 degree C ambient temperature.

So the question is, does this make sense to anyone regarding wine storage? Is there something I'm missing, am I over simplifying or underestimating? I know we'd all like to have sealed walls, with a cooling unit installed on its own thermostat, but that's not always financially feasable. Should I go ahead and build a room, or invest in a Vintage Keeper or similar free-standing unit?

Thanks for your input!

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Re: Ola again!

Postby James Roscoe » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:10 pm

Welcome back. You might want to watch your back w/ that little "joke" at the bottom though.

I kinda doubt the wine talk has gone over anyone's head. Maybe in between the "legs". Stick around.
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Re: Ola again!

Postby CraigW » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:17 pm

funny, my wife said that too....

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Re: Ola again!

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:18 pm

Hey Craig
Welcome back.
I'm sure you will get many more comments regarding the viability of a passive cellar but it sounds like you have perfect conditions there. If you truly can maintain 12-14..or even up to 16, you should be in good shape. And it sounds like humidity (or lack thereof) will not be an issue for you either. You can get an inexpensive thermometer/humidity device that keeps track of max/min and monitor your cellar before commiting to loading it up with wine, but from what you've said, it should work out fine.
Last edited by Bill Buitenhuys on Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ola again!

Postby Howie Hart » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:20 pm

FWIW - generally, I do not buy wines for long term storage, with one exception. My cellar consists mostly of my home made wines and several individual bottles of "store-bought" wines that I plan to consume within a year or two of purchase. I have an old stone cellar and the temperature may vary from 10 to 20 C over the year. I live near Buffalo. Now, the one exception is a case of 1975 Lafite, which I purchased in 1978 ($350/case). I've been opening one bottle every 5 years and the wine has aged quite nicely over that period, so I think you are safe and your storage plans are adequate.
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Re: Ola again!

Postby Bob Ross » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:21 pm

I agree with Bill on all points, Craig -- sounds like a perfect location and set up for a passive cellar. If the humidity gets a bit low in that area, it's easy enough to put a bucket of water or two in the area, wicking up with a towel suspended into the water.

Welcome -- sounds like all your other wine related activities were excellent training.

Congrats on the new house.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Ola again!

Postby Oliver McCrum » Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:49 pm

Any cellar construction questions are answered exhaustively by David Gold's 'How and Why to Build a Wine Cellar.' No stone unturned.
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Re: Ola again!

Postby CraigW » Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:44 am

Marvelous, thanks gents.

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