Open That Bottle Night
If you’re a wine lover like us, odds are you have a “special occasion” bottle that you’ve been dutifully cellaring for the perfect moment.
Well, those moments come and go as dust collects on our most cherished bottles. That's why some creative wine writers came up with Open That Bottle Night, which this year is happening on Saturday 25th February.
Keep reading to learn more about this celebratory occasion, as well as learn tips on how to cellar wine and which of our Bec Hardy wines are most worthy of a spot in your wine cellar.
What is Open That Bottle Night?
Open That Bottle Night was created by two wine writers from the Wall Street Journal - Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher - in 1999 as a way to get wine lovers to open that bottle they’ve been holding onto for a “special occasion.”
Open That Bottle Night takes place on the last Saturday of every February. Over the years, the event has become a global phenomenon celebrated by restaurants, wineries and wine collectors alike.
Whether you’re holding onto a bottle for sentimental reasons, historical significance, or perhaps it’s just too costly of a wine to open on a normal day, consider this your excuse!
Wine ages beautifully, but not indefinitely. So, break out the charcuterie and the lawn chairs because you’re about to treat yourself!
How to celebrate Open That Bottle Night
Open That Bottle Night is the perfect opportunity to celebrate with friends, so why not make a night of it? Here are some of our favourite ways to host the ultimate wine party.
Have a wine dinner - It doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to taste good. So, invite your friends over to enjoy a nice meal that pairs well with your wine.
Host a blind-tasting night - Tell your friends to bring their special bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag. Number each wine before cracking them open. Taste and rate your favourites before unwrapping them. This is a win-win because everyone has to bring their most special bottle.
Play a guessing game! - If you have more than one “special occasion” bottle in your cellar, have a friend randomly select two numbers. Then follow the grid and randomly select the bottle that matches those numbers. If it’s not special enough, keep going!
Why do we cellar wines?
Wines have been cellared for the entire history of making wine and there are many good reasons for doing so.
To allow them to improve with age - a lot of wines will mature and develop with age. As delicious and fruit-forward as our Pertaringa Over the Top Shiraz 2021 is today, it will only reveal more earthen and spice-driven notes as time progresses.
Save them for a special occasion - Wines come and go, so if you find a bottle you love, your best bet is to get a few more while you can. That way, you have the perfect bottle to break out for a fancy dinner, holiday, birthday, you name it!
Keep them safe - Cellaring wines protect them from being damaged and losing quality. Regardless if you have 1 or 100 bottles, it’s best to keep them somewhere safe to preserve them.
Tips for cellaring wines
Keep them at a cool and consistent temperature - Ideally, between 10° to 13°C is best for preserving wine. However, consistency is the most important, so if your cellar is slightly below or higher, that’s okay; just make sure it doesn’t waver more than a couple of degrees.
Store them horizontally - If the bottle is sealed with a cork, storing horizontally will keep the cork moist and prevent air from getting inside the wine.
Maintain humidity - If under cork, between 60 to 80% humidity is ideal for helping keep the cork wet and preventing oxygen from prematurely aging the wine.
Cellar several bottles of the same wine - Wine constantly evolves, so if you can swing it, purchase two or three of the same wine. That way, you can try it once after a few years and decide if it’s reached its peak. If it hasn’t, you’re no worse for wear because you still have more bottles to age.
How long should you cellar wines?
What a great question! Deciding how long to cellar wines depends on various factors, including the style of wine, the quality of the wine, and the vintage.
Generally speaking, light-bodied red wines and white wines require less aging and are best enjoyed young, within 1-3 years of bottling. That said, there are some exceptions, like our Bec Hardy Riesling, which could easily age for 10-12 years, eventually unwinding to reveal delicate honey and complex kerosene flavours.
The quality of the wine indicates the wine’s ability to withstand ageing and improve, rather than lessen, in flavour. Entry-level red wines generally drink best within 5 years of bottling, whereas premiere examples can easily be cellared for 10-20 years or more. The more tannins and acidity in the wine, the longer it can age.
Dessert wines such as vintage ports can even be cellared for decades.
What wines cellar best?
Your wine cellar is prime real estate, so you don’t want to waste a spot on a wine that’s best enjoyed today. Here’s a list of wines and wine styles most worthy of cellaring.
Full-bodied red wines - Wines like our Bec Hardy Village Green Shiraz and our Nature Foundation Barbara Hardy Shiraz, while available at just $20-$22/bottle, could easily cellar for 5-8 years, revealing more dried fruit, earth, and spice flavours over time.
Oaked white wines- Full-bodied, oaked white wines can withstand aging and often improve, softening over time to reveal a more fruity, honey flavours.
Fortified wines - As mentioned above, wines with higher alcohol, like our Rampart Vintage Fortified wine, will only get better the longer they are cellared. We suggest at least 10-12 years.
Premiere wines - The bigger, the bolder, the better for you to cellar! Wines like our Pertaringa Tipsy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon will continue to improve with age. We suggest at least 12-15 years if you can wait that long.
We hope we’ve convinced you to finally make some space in your cellar and treat yourself to your finest bottle on Saturday 25th February. As for us, we’ll be getting ready for our own Open That Bottle Night at Bec Hardy Wines on Saturday 4th March (one week late as we're interstate on the actual date), where we'll be cracking open plenty of gems from our own cellar to share with you!
To find out more or book your tickets, visit our website.