A wine cellar implies engaging in a battle with nature, since the grapes are very susceptible to climatic changes, which is why there are good and bad harvests. So there are wines that deserve to be stored to preserve the qualities they possess and that require a special place. The cellar is the ideal space for this purpose, immersed in its own placidity and calm.
In a heated wine cellar, important factors such as temperature and humidity are maintained by a climate control system . By contrast, passive or natural cellars are not climate controlled, and are generally built underground to reduce temperature swings. An overhead cellar is often called a “wine room,” while a small cellar (less than 500 bottles) is sometimes called a “wine cabinet.” A clear example is the Spanish-European brand Cavas Caveduke.
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- 1 Story
- 2 quality
- 3 XIX century
- 4 Curiosities
- 5 Sources
The Romans, as heirs to the great Hellenic culture, continued to practice the custom of storing wine and putting it up for sale in taverns. The practical spirit of the Romans led them to design a mixed space in which to serve wine and store it in warehouses – although, now it is known that the place where the wine is deposited must be as isolated as possible from external elements.
The custom of storing wine domestically began in Imperial Rome from 100 BC to around AD 400 when, at the top of the houses of the wealthy, a room was set aside for storing wine. The cellar vinaria was oriented to the north to keep the room cool and avoid the harmful effect of heat on the wine.
But it was not until the beginning of the Middle Ages that cavas appeared as we know them: underground cellars for wine, with special conditions of humidity, temperature and lighting – in fact the word cava comes from Latin and means cave or ditch. These first cellars were built in the cellars of convents and monasteries where the wine was consumed regularly.
The European tradition of vine cultivation is closely linked to the Christian religion, which gives this drink the character of a ritual element. In all European countries there are convents that, with a liturgical or a more mundane purpose, connected the refectories (convent dining room) with an underground wine cellar .
It was much later in history when private cellars began to spread – approximately from the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century – thanks to the proliferation of the bourgeoisie and their interest in making their own supply of high-quality wines.
This need, probably, never arose for the members of the royalty and the aristocracy who did not have to personally take care of their cellars, since they had suppliers and servants to do so.
Private cellars spread throughout Europe as a practice of “good taste”, typical of aristocrats and bourgeois. This custom has not only survived to this day, but has been renewed as a valuable form of culture . Today, as in its beginnings, a personal cava demonstrates a lifestyle in which refinement meets, with the passion necessary to participate in the culture of good wine.
- In Paris there is a company called Au Bonheur du Vinthat offers underground cellars so that its clients keep the wine in the best possible conditions. Access to these cellars is very restricted and only authorized personnel can enter them, so the security of these bottles is very careful.
- The bottles are guarded under certain optimal conditions of conservation that allow their best care:
- For example, they have no space limit (Au Bonheur du Vin has space for 300,000 bottles), they have a strong commitment to the quality of the guards, they are accessible cellars, close to anyone who lives in the city (since they are in the center of it), offer immediate availability of wine delivery, manage and report on the purchase and sale of wine.
- Other important factors are that they offer calm (even avoiding the vibrations of the subway) and total darkness in their cellars, an ideal temperature between 12 and 14º and a relative humidity of between 70 and 80%.