Proper storage is crucial to making any wine collection last long for enthusiastic wine collectors and casual wine lovers alike. You need the right temperature, an ideal place for storage, and the proper wine knowledge to get the most out of your wines. There are several short- and long-term storage options when you need to protect your wine collection, whether you have a few bottles or a fully stocked wine rack.
Many people don’t know how to store wine correctly. Incorrect storage can damage wine, and with so many different options for wine storage, it’s easy to store your fine wine the wrong way. In this blog, we’ll detail how to store wines safely and effectively so you can enjoy your wine collection and store bottles without any problems.
Tips for Storing Wine Effectively
The best practices for storing wine at home are easy to follow and can make a big difference in the taste and lifespan of your favorite beverage. Learn how to get the most out of your selections with these tips for storing wine.
Store Wine at the Proper Temperature
Excessively hot or cold temperatures can harm your delicate wines. By storing wine at a consistent temperature, you prevent it from spoiling due to temperature fluctuations in the weather. If your storage area doesn’t keep your wine at a consistent temperature, it can cause damage to its volatile compounds and significantly change the aroma of your red or white wines.
As the humidity level also rises with temperature, it gets increasingly difficult to store your wine in optimal conditions. The ideal temperature to store most wines ranges from 25° F to 68° F. A wine cooler or wine cellar is effective at keeping wine at a stable temperature and lends a hand in humidity control.
Store older wines at higher temperatures around 60° F and younger wines at cold temperatures. Keep sparkling wine such as champagne at cool temperatures between 38° F and 45° F. You should store dark red wines at higher temperatures than light red varieties, while white wines are best stored colder.
Store Wine Bottles Horizontally
It’s best to store corked wine bottles horizontally in a wine rack. Storing wine horizontally keeps your cork moist. A dried-out cork can shrink due to the slightest temperature fluctuation, allowing air to get in the bottle or let the wine out of it.
When storing wines upright, they get more air exposure, which speeds up the ageing process. Wine racks allow you to stack wine horizontally instead of forcing you to resort to storing wine upright. While you don’t need to store screw-top bottles horizontally, wine racks can help you save space in your wine cellar if you need more room for your many bottles.
Keep Your Wine Safe from Light
Keeping wine in a dark storage area is ideal for extending its longevity. Wine is already sensitive to light, but especially sunlight, as it can cause the most damage to its flavour and smell. While direct sunlight is the most damaging to wine, household bulbs shouldn’t disrupt its chemical makeup.
All bottles of wine should be kept safe from light sources. Wine stored in a clear glass bottle is especially prone to the effects of direct sunlight as the glass doesn’t protect it as much as dark bottles do.
Wine cellars are a suitable option when you need to keep your wines away from harmful light sources, or you can get a wine cooler with opaque doors to keep light out.
Be Mindful of the Expiration Date
A bottle of wine expires just like many other open food and beverage items do. Pay attention to when your wine expires so you can enjoy it before it spoils. While most wine doesn’t need to age before you drink it, this doesn’t apply to all types of wine, so it’s essential to check the expiration date before putting your wine into storage.
White wine can last for up to two years with proper storage, while red wine can last up to three years.
You don’t need to age wine further if it’s already ready to drink, as storing it won’t necessarily make it taste better. For wine collectors, some fine wine does benefit from significant ageing, while others taste best only a few years after bottling. A young wine will benefit from several years of ageing, but older wine is often ready to drink when you buy it.
Use Professional Storage or a Wine Cellar – Not the Fridge
The vibrations from the motor in a standard refrigerator can stir up sediment in the bottom of your wine bottle. The excessive movement speeds up the chemical reactions inside the bottle, causing your wine to spoil quickly. If you are a casual wine lover, this may not bother you as much as if you have a more refined palate from extensive tastings and know what to seek.
Storing bottles of wine at home isn’t impossible with the modern storage methods available today. You can easily keep wine at a suitable temperature in a wine cooler or wine fridge to avoid the vibrations that taint your wine or store them in a traditional wine cellar. Professional storage helps you protect wine until you’re ready to drink it and can help control humidity levels in the immediate environment.
Keep Wine Away from Odours
Despite being in glass bottles, wine is quite prone to taking on the smell of other strong odours around it through its cork because it doesn’t have an airtight seal. The last thing you want is for your wine to have a foul or strange taste or smell when you open it. Keep wine away from pungent foods, rotting garbage, and household materials and chemicals that produce fumes or give off a strong, unpleasant odour.
An ideal wine storage space will be free from any odours to prevent contamination. If you must store wine in your kitchen, ensure its protection in an area away from where you cook, either in a pantry, wine fridge, or another temperature-controlled area.
Store Open Bottles Properly
Proper storage is essential when you care about your wine purchases. Because a good bottle can often come with exorbitant costs, you need to be able to enjoy your wine without suffering from the effects of improper storage.
An opened bottle of wine needs the proper storage so you can drink or use it again without experiencing adverse effects from exposure to a less-than-ideal environment. You can store wine effectively by recorking it with wax paper or using a vacuum pump to remove air and create an airtight seal. Otherwise, you should use your open wine within three to five days to prevent it from spoiling.
If you don’t have a proper method to store your open bottles, as long as you can put them in a dark place away from humidity in a temperature-controlled area, they can last for a bit. Typically, an open bottle of white wine can last for a few days in the fridge, while red wine lasts for around the same amount of time if you store it outside the refrigerator.
Alternative Options for Wine Storage
With the many options for storage, there’s no excuse to have poor-tasting wine, but if you aren’t familiar with the alternative storage methods, don’t fret. There is no shortage of storage, from decorative racks to special refrigerators if you know what you want. Alternative storage options can be handy for those who want something ultra-functional or have a flexible construction budget.
Build a Wine Cellar in Your Home
If you have specific needs or a lot of room in your home, building a custom wine cellar is an excellent idea to protect your wine before you’re ready to open it. If your wine collection is extensive, a wine cellar gives you the space to store your bottles while protecting them from potential contamination. A wine cellar contractor can design and build you a beautiful cellar with temperature and humidity control for storing your collection of wine.
A temperature-controlled wine cabinet or cooler are among the options that allow you to keep wine at around the same temperature all the time. While they may be pricey, many are customisable and come in different sizes and styles to fit in with your home.
Wine coolers and detached storage cabinets allow you to store wine bottles on their side while they receive the temperature control they need to keep their freshness and taste up to standard. While single-temperature cabinets are the most common form of storage, two- to three-temperature cabinets are also a popular choice if you have both red and white wine in your collection. In addition to these options, coolers can fit under your counter for accessibility purposes.
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