Wine Storage in Atlanta, Georgia
One of the questions we always get is “What makes proper wine storage difficult in Atlanta?” Well, you have to keep in mind that Atlanta, Georgia has a climate that is characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters. Summers tend to see high temperatures average between the mid-80s°F (29°C) to low 90s°F (32°C). While winters in Atlanta are considered mild, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-50s°F (13°C) to low 60s°F (16°C).
During the summer months, you can’t miss the humidity in Atlanta. Humidity levels can often reach 90% or higher, making it feel very muggy and uncomfortable. Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall are common throughout the summer months. The winter months however are generally dry and sunny, with humidity levels ranging from around 40% to 60%. One important factor to note that humidity levels can vary widely depending on the specific weather conditions and time of day.
Therefore, it is important to consider these significant changes in Atlanta’s climate when choosing where and how to store wine. The fact is that the temperature and humidity levels can have a significant impact on your wine if it is not stored correctly.
Temperature is perhaps the most critical factor in wine storage. Wine should be kept at a consistent temperature between 45°F and 65°F (7°C and 18°C). The ideal temperature is generally agreed to be 55°F (13°C). In Atlanta, where temperatures can reach well over 90°F (32°C) during the summer months, it is especially important to store wine in a cool and consistent environment. The goal is to avoid overheating and reduce the risk of spoilage.
Humidity is also a crucial component in wine storage. The typical humidity range for wine storage is between 50% and 80%, with an ideal humidity of 70%. In Atlanta’s hot and humid climate, it is important to ensure that wine is stored in a place with proper humidity control. You want to prevent the cork from drying out, allowing oxidation to change the wine’s characteristics and/or spoil the wine.
Light is another important control factor that can damage wine, particularly during the summer months when the sun is strong. Ultraviolet light can break down the wine’s flavors and aromas, causing it to develop off-flavors. Wine should be stored in a dark place or in a wine fridge that blocks out light to avoid any damage caused by light.
Even vibration can cause issues for your wine. Particularly in a city like Atlanta, traffic and construction can cause constant vibrations. When wine is stored in a place with constant vibrations, the wine will often age prematurely and will often negatively affect the flavor.
What does all of this mean? You need to know that when wine is not stored correctly, a lot can go wrong! For example, if the wine is exposed to too much heat, the alcohol can expand and push the cork out of the bottle, causing the wine to become oxidized and spoiled. If the humidity is too low, the cork can dry out, allowing air to enter the bottle and spoil the wine. If the wine is exposed to too much light, the wine can become “light-struck,” giving it a skunky odor and a bad taste.
Historically, wine has been stored in underground cellars, which provide a cool and humid environment. In modern times, wine enthusiasts have created custom-made wine cellars or invested in wine refrigeration units. The latest trend is to store your wine collection in professional environments that monitor every aspect of proper wine storage. These environments employ redundant systems to protect the wine during power outages or system failures.
With ideal conditions, quality bottles of wine can age for several decades or even centuries. For example, a well-made Bordeaux wine from a good vintage can age for 50 years or more if stored correctly. Vintage Port and some high-end California Cabernet Sauvignon can also age for several decades if stored properly.
BURGUNDY FOR KINGS, CHAMPAGNE FOR DUCHESSES, CLARET FOR GENTLEMEN. ~ Anon French Proverb
This article is part of Bottle Bank’s Wine Education Series (WES)
Bottle Bank is Atlanta’s premier wine lounge and private wine storage facility for serious collectors, connoisseurs and aspiring enthusiasts. #WineVaults