Celebrating 'Open That Bottle Night’

Written by
Vintage Cellars
February 21, 2018
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The Ultimate Wine Lovers' Event: Celebrating Open That Bottle Night

When cellaring a wine, there is a certain amount of temptation involved. The wine sits there gathering dust – the fruit, tannins and acids evolving into a totally different wine to its youth – but there’s pressure in finding an opportune moment to enjoy it. When is the right time?


In 2000, two American wine journalists, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, called on their readers to treat themselves, and open that bottle of wine that had been sitting there for too long. The community then came together to share their stories.

They named it international Open That Bottle Night. It’s a cause we’re happy to get behind.

How can I celebrate?

Celebrations for Open That Bottle Night could range from a relaxing night with your closest loved ones finally enjoying a special bottle from your own collection to a get-together of your best wine-loving friends, with an extra special dinner and a wine pairing they are unlikely to have experienced before. Everyone will get something different out of the night, but all will share in a love of wine.

Which wine should I choose?

Take a look at your collection. If you’ve got a wine handy that you think the time is right for, that’s great. Generally, you should start by asking an expert for the ideal length of time to cellar a specific wine (our Team Members can help you in-store). For maturation to result in an ideal aged flavour you may have to wait just five years, or as long as 25, depending on the wine.

If you don’t have the right bottle, you can still celebrate Open That Bottle Night. The spirit of the day is in the experience. Try that wine you haven’t had the nerve to open, or you’ve been curious about. Look at something you wouldn’t normally go for; something that you could tell a story about. And if you’re eager to try something aged to perfection, your local Vintage Cellars has an extensive Museum Release selection for you to enjoy.

Am I cellaring properly?

Many inexpensive wines are not created to be cellared and often wines that benefit from cellaring can be a bit of an investment.

As a general rule, red grapes are also better for cellaring than white and take a bit more time. A higher-end shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo or bordeaux can usually benefit from 10 to 20 years of cellaring; malbec, sangiovese, chianti are best enjoyed around the five to ten year mark; merlot and pinot noir can sit for three to five years.

Whites have different maturation windows, so make sure you take this into consideration when choosing a wine to open. Sauvignon blanc and pinot gris should be enjoyed in one to three years; chardonnay can be aged for three to five years; riesling, chenin blanc from Vouvray will mature between five to ten years and only rare varietals like Hunter Valley semillon will benefit from 10 to 20 years aging.

Storage is also a key consideration. Keep wine at a cool 12 to 15 degrees and ensure that the temperature is stable. Fluctuations in the warmth can ruin a wine. Ensure that your cellar is vibration free, dark, with a humidity of around 75 per cent. If they have a cork, ensure that your wines are resting on their side, so that the cork remains moist and doesn’t crumble.

How should I serve my wine?

On the eve of Open That Bottle Night, rest your bottle upright so the sediment falls to the bottom of the bottle. When you’re ready to start tasting, remove the cork and wipe the bottle neck clean. Pour the wine into a clean decanter very slowly. Make sure you can see the sediment through the glass of the bottle (it helps if you hold it up to a light) and pour increasingly slowly until you see the sediment reaching the neck of the bottle. Stop before the sediment pours into the decanter.

Overall, cellaring a wine will result in a completely new and interesting experience. It won’t necessarily make the wine better, but different which will give you a whole new appreciation for the wine.

So open up that bottle, take a sip and share the experience with people you love.