So you like wine. Maybe you have a fair few bottles of it. Perhaps you have only one bottle, but it’s really special, and you want to hold onto it for years to come. Maybe wine is slowly becoming a hobby of yours. Or maybe you’ve been collecting bottles for years now. (Image Credit: Alina Jordan/Pixabay)
Whatever the reason you find yourself with a bottle of wine, there are simple things you can keep in mind when storing it to help preserve its flavor and texture. Just because a bottle of wine has not been opened doesn’t mean the precious liquid inside isn’t being altered by the conditions around it.
The following seven tips will give you everything you need to know to properly store wine.
1. Temperature is everything.
Out of everything that can affect wine, storage temperature is probably the most aggressive. If your place of storage is too cold, like your garage with no heating or your freezer, the liquid could begin to freeze. When ice begins to form, the wine expands, and sometimes this expansion pushes the cork out. If your storage place is too warm, the wine will become “cooked,” which means that the aroma and flavor are flattened.
Just like goldilocks, you need to find the temperature that is just right. Storing wine bottles in a room that is somewhere between 45° F and 65°F is ideal. If you want to get picky, it’s widely agreed that 55°F is pretty much perfect.
2. Horizontal is the way to go.
Wine bottles should be laid on their sides. This is because it keeps the liquid against the cork, which ensures that the corks don’t dry out. A moist cork is necessary for long-term storage as a dry cork allows seepage and premature aging. Horizontal storage is easy to accomplish with this furniture or with a wine rack. As a side note, if you have a corkless bottle, it can be kept upright, but many people opt for horizontal storage anyway because it minimizes the space required to store your wine and improves your access to individual bottles.
3. Protect your wine from light.
Just like Gremlins, wine is much nicer when it’s kept in the dark. Sunlight’s UV rays can damage the flavor and scent of your wine, as light can alter the chemical compounds found within the wine. When light messes with wine, the liquid is called lightstruck, and the result tastes and smells far worse than wine that was allowed to age at its own pace. This is, in part, why wine is often kept in the dark bottles. Thick colored glass blocks some of the sun’s rays and protects wine from degradation and premature aging.
4. Keep humidity in mind.
Much like temperature, there is an ideal humidity for wine storage. You don’t want the corks to dry, resulting in spoiled wine. You don’t want the labels to absorb water, growing moldy, and peeling off. Somewhere in between 60 and 68 percent humidity is ideal. If your space is too dry, you can keep a pan of water on the floor in your storage area. If your space is too wet, a dehumidifier will help you out.
5. Protect your wine from vibration.
Wine naturally has sediments within, and this plays a crucial part in the ideal aging process. Vibrations caused by intense stereo systems, heavy workouts, or washing and drying machines can disturb these sediments and offset the delicate balance that is needed for well-aged wine. Beyond this, unsettling sediment can result in a wine that is unpleasantly grainy.
6. A Wine fridge works, a regular fridge does not.
Wine refrigerators, sometimes also called coolers, are designed to keep conditions optimal. Typical kitchen refrigerators tend to be on the dryer side, and can often be a little too cold for wine. This is fine for short term storage (if your friends are coming over for dinner this evening), but longer-term, it is a big no-no. It’s common for fridges to drop well before 45° F.
7. Open bottles need extra storage attention.
If your open wine bottle is stored well, it can last anywhere between three and five days. The most important thing you can do is recork the wine the moment you’re done pouring. (If you wrap the cork with wax paper, it becomes super easy to get the cork back in place.) If wine is left open on the table or countertop, oxygen comes in contact with the liquid and begins the spoiling process.
There you have it, seven great tips for storing wine. A wine that is stored properly keeps its flavor and texture. Because of this, a well-stored wine can be well-enjoyed wine, no matter if you plan on drinking it in a few days or a few years.