Cellaring Guide

Once the wine is safely in the bottle and the bottle sealed with a healthy cork for protection from the environment, the wine enters the restful phase of development.

For a noble wine to mature to perfection – with well developed secondary and tertiary aromas – it is important to observe the general rules of storage, especially in the case of long-living Terlano wines, which have top-quality natural corks.

  • The right place

    If you are fortunate enough to have an old cellar with good thermal insulation for a constant temperature, you can store your wines without a care in the world. Old cellars are usually damp, and that is good for the wines, too. If you are not so lucky, you can build up a smaller collection with the help of electrical wine cabinets. Another alternative is to install an air-conditioning system in the cellar and fit cold storage doors or to install a cold storage room. Sometimes it just takes a minor structural modification. In other cases, it might make more sense to rent a small cellar somewhere. The bottles are normally stored in the horizontal position so that the corks do not dry out. When the cork is wet, it swells and forms an airtight seal in the bottleneck. According to a new school of thought, it is better to store the bottles at an angle. The argument is that this keeps the cork in contact with both the wine and the air bubble, which contracts and expands with fluctuations in temperature. This ensures that air and not wine seeps into or through the cork. In Terlano we store the bottles horizontally. You can see from the wines that have been laid down for 20-30 years that oxygen exchange takes place to a very slight degree as reflected in the reduced volume of wine when the bottles are re-corked after about fifteen years – and the complex aromas that develop with such maturity.

  • Fluctuations in temperature

    Wine lovers and writers spend a lot of time talking about the optimum temperature for storage. In fact, it is not particularly important as long as it is in the 10 - 15-degree range.
    What is important is to avoid fluctuations in temperature. The temperature in the cellar should be as constant as possible, with a maximum variation of 3-5 degrees. That applies to temperature fluctuations between day and night as well as between the seasons of the year.
    As a general rule, the cooler the wine is kept, the more time it needs to develop and mature, as warmth accelerates all the reactions involved. Above about 30°C, the volatile compounds in the wine evaporate, and the color and clarity of the wine deteriorate.
    So store your Terlano wines under cool and constant conditions, and give them time to develop their complex secondary and tertiary aromas!

  • Light, vibration and smells

    Wine is not only sensitive to warmth; light or bright illumination also have negative effects on taste. That is why good wine bottles are so dark.
    So be sure to store your wines in as dark a place as possible.
    Vibrations are thought to be problematical for wines with sediment that are intended for long years of storage, but the theory has not as yet been proven. What is definitely harmful, however, is the presence of strong smells, e.g. from paints or fertilizers. They are extremely detrimental to the satisfactory development of the wine.

  • Humidity

    If the air where the wine is stored is too dry, the corks also dry out and the airtight seal is lost. Damp cellars or storage rooms are perfect for wines, although the labels usually suffer.
    There is only one enemy that flourishes in the damp, namely the cork moth (Nemapogon cloacellus). The moth lays its eggs in damp spots in the wine cellar and especially on the corks. The signs of infestation are boreholes in the corks and cork dust under the foil covers and on the floor. In time, the perforations in the cork cause the airtight seal to fail. Infested corks must be replaced without delay.

  • Re-corking

    If you are smitten by the passion for collecting wine, there will doubtless be more than your records to ensure that your treasures do not become too old.
    In addition to correct storage, checking the corks is part of the basic wine care routine. If the corks have reached the end of their useful life or are otherwise defective, they must be replaced.
    In Terlano, the rarities stored in the wine archive are re-corked at regular intervals and the lost wine from the bottles made good with old wine.