How To Store Wine Properly

February 14, 2014

Wine is something we all buy to enjoy, but that doesn’t mean to say that you buy it to drink all at once. When you come across a good wine there’s really no reason not to purchase it; that is unless you’ve not got the space or means to store it.

Are you a wine collector without a storage solution?

If you’ve become a wine collector without a storage solution, you’re not alone. Many people simply cannot resist buying a good wine even when they’ve got nowhere to put it afterwards. Have you ever given away a good wine at Christmas just because it was ‘getting in the way’ or ‘lying around the house’?

What are you going to do about it?

It’s time to take action and learn a thing or two about storing wine, but it’s helpful to remember that only a small percentage of fine wines on the market actually benefit from long-term ageing. Many wines can be enjoyed at their best within just a few years of release. However, if you’re looking to buy wines to mature you really should learn exactly how to keep them safe until you’re ready to drink them.

We’ve put together a guideline on how to store your wine and keep it fresh and mature at the same time.

Step 1. Keep It Cool

For those of you that don’t already know, heat is wine’s number one enemy. If wine is stored at temperatures higher than 70°F it will age much more rapidly than we require and if it is stored anywhere hotter then your wine may well be ‘cooked’ as a result, leaving it with flat aromas and flavours. The perfect temperate range for storing and maturing wine is between 45°F to 65°F.

Step 2. But Not Too Cold

Tons of people make the mistake of storing their wines in a household refrigerator. Although this is completely safe and fine for a maximum of two months, it’s really not going to do the wine much good long term. The average temperature of a fridge falls way below 45°F in order to keep foods fresh, but when a wine is stored below this temperature it can cause a lack of moisture. This can damage the wine massively as the lack of moisture will eventually dry out corks. Once the corks are dried out air may seep into the bottle causing the wine to be undrinkable.

You should also ensure that your wine is not left somewhere it can freeze as once the liquid turns to ice it will expand and push the cork out. Examples of places not to store wine include an unheated garage in the winter, outside in the blazing hot sun and in the freezer.

Step 3. Aim For Consistency

The most important part about storing wine is making sure that the temperature is as consistent as possible. Even if you are unable to achieve the perfect 55°F it is important that you try to keep temperature fluctuations to a minimum. Watch out for landmines of rapid, extreme or frequent temperature swings, but don’t obsess over it either. It’s useful to remember that wines see much worse in transit from the winery to the store, so for the majority of the time you have nothing to worry about.

Step 4. Keep The Lights Off

As many of you will already know, sunlight can degrade and prematurely age wine, in the same way that any light can. This is in fact one of the reasons why wine is stored in coloured glass bottles. Most household light bulbs won’t directly damage the wine itself but it may well fade the labels in the long run. It’s best to make sure that your wine is kept away from direct sunlight and it is handy for you to remember to turn the lights off after each visit.

Step 5. Slip Things Sideways

Whenever you see wine stored you see it lying down on its side. This is traditionally the best way to store wine as it keeps the liquid up against the cork, helping to make sure the cork doesn’t dry out. This isn’t a necessary procedure for bottles that have alternative closures, but just as a little tip horizontal racking is a great way to store your bottles and utilize space at the same time.

So where exactly should I keep my bottles?

If you aren’t lucky enough to have a cool basement that can double up as a cellar then all hope is not lost. There are plenty of alternative storage options you can look for. Self-storage can be a great way of keeping your wine collection cool in a safe environment. However, if you would rather store it at home check for a location that is not directly in line with light pouring in from a window. Be sure to rule out your kitchen, boiler room or laundry room as the temperature of these rooms is likely to fluctuate.

Posted in: Self-storage