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“YES, and unopened” – Jake Austad of Vintage Cellars about keeping wine in original wooden wine crat

Vintage Cellars (credit: vintage cellars)

On all wine website it’s wine this and vintage that. Little attention is given to what our wine is doing for most of its life – and that’s sitting in storage. So today we’re posting our interview with the guy who builds those racks and designs the cellar rooms, Jake Austad, director of sales/lead designer of Vintage Cellars.

Vintage Cellars have 20 years of experience and are the experts who know that the key to a pristine and provenance happy wine collection is great storage. Some of their tips can be helpful for people who want to store their wine and sell their wine.

Sell Wine Guide: Throughout our website we inform our readers that the quality of the storage of the wines is of paramount importance to their resale value. Almost everybody focuses on the temperature but humidity control is also very important. Can you elaborate a bit on the humidity standards and bet practices needed to store fine wine?

Jake Austad, Vintage Cellars: Humidity level should range between 40-70%, lower may start to dry the corks and any higher than 80 you can start losing labels. In most locations in the country if you have a cooling system specifically built for wine storage, you should maintain that range.

Sell Wine Guide: When a wine a collection is being inspected by a prospective buyer or auction specialist I imagine there are some instant telltale signs that inform about the quality of the storage. Can you give our readers some of the thumb-rules that indicate to professionals that the storage is good?

Jake Austad: Corks and labels are all in tact there is no to minimal seepage out of the wine bottle from older wines.

Sell Wine Guide: Did you encounter situations where customer requested temperatures that are less than 55 degrees? I witnessed a collection that was being promoted because it was stored at 50 degrees or less and so it was claimed that is slowed the aging process.

Jake Austad: I’ve had customers ask for “white wine” storage but that is really for service temperature around 45, all wines should be stored between 55-57. I have heard of occasions with a very old collection, wines of 50+ years old, of storing them at 50.

Sell Wine Guide: Some Bordeaux collectors really like to keep the original wooden crates, do you typically recommend keeping the wines in the crates?

Jake Austad: YES, and unopened.

Sell Wine Guide: We know that sometimes cellar builders like yourself are asked for recommendations and referrals about who to sell wine to (when a person is moving to a smaller cellar space) – so which stores do you typically recommend for people who want to sell their wine?

Jake Austad: I base most of that on location. Wally's in LA is great.

Sell Wine Guide: Some of the best experiences we had with cellared wine was with relatively obscure wines from top regions and vintages. We ask our experts if they had a similar experience and if they can share which wine it was?

Jake Austad: I’ve found that 2010 produced some great fruit in the higher elevations in Napa, mountain fruit. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this obscure but the 2010 Outpost Howell Mountain cab was really good.

Below you can see cool tips on wine storage from Vintage Cellars!

Credit Vintage Cellars - infographic for storing and serving wines

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