Aging Wine


The vast majority of wine sold throughout the world is consumed within twenty four hours of having been purchased. However, some fine wines may be aged in order to improve their quality over a period of years. In this way, wine is one of the few goods commonly sold that has the potential to improve in condition with age. For these wines, a means of storage, such as a set of wine racks for cellar, may be desirable. It is not true, of course, that all wines benefit from a period of aging. Although aging over time will always change the characteristics of a wine, this does not necessarily mean that it will improve a wine. Only about between a tenth and a twentieth of wines sold will benefit from a year of aging, while only about one in hundred bottles will see an improvement of quality after between five and ten years of aging. It is not necessarily so that cheaper wines will never benefit from aging while more expensive wines will not improve with age, however it is uneconomical to age cheap wine, generally. Some rather expensive wines, such as German eiswein, are intended for immediate consumption once they have been bottled, as are the vast majority of sparkling wines.

The aptitude of a wine for aging is determined by chemical factors. The greater the proportion of acids, sugars, and phenolic compounds in a wine when compared to the proportion of water, the likelier that it will benefit from a period of aging in a wine storage cabinet or a similar environment. The following factors cause the amount of these chemical constituents of wine to be elevated, leading to a greater potential for improvement with age:

Varieties of grape with a thicker skin have the potential to age better.

Wines made during a drier season will likely age better.

Grapes grown with little irrigation may age better.

Wine from lower yield vine yards will possibly age better.

An extended length of maceration will likely lead to better aging.

Storage in oak may improve aging potential.

Wines with more tannins will also age better, because the tannins in wine have a preservative effect, preventing vinegaring. This is also why wines with greater levels of sugars and acids age better in general, because the sugar or acid content will preserve the wine during the aging process. On the contrary, the more fining that a wine undergoes, the less likely that it is to be suitable for aging, because the process of fining a wine leads to the removal of phenolic compounds that will help to preserve the wine during aging. Thus, a variety of factors during the growing and processing of wine can lead to a variety of consequences for the chemical composition of the resulting wine, which will then in turn have different implications for whether the wine could benefit from being aged. A wine dispenser system can be convenient.