wine storage racks

Storing wine properly ensures that when you pop the cork and are ready to drink it, it delivers the flavors and aromatic notes you were waiting for. The temperature at which it’s stored, bottle positioning, humidity, and light can all affect the taste of your wine. Follow these seven basic storage tips to ensure your wine remains wonderfully drinkable.

Red Wine Storage Temperature

If you’ve invested in a bottle of fine red wine that you plan to allow to age before drinking, you’ll want to make sure you’re storing it correctly. Ideally, red wine should be stored at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. You should never store red wine at temperatures below 25 degrees because it could freeze, while storing it above 68 degrees will speed up the aging process.

White Wine Storage Temperature

If white wine is over chilled, flavors will be muted. If it’s left too long in a warm environment or even at room temperature, you’ll miss the flavor of the fruit and only taste the alcohol. It can even take on a vinegar flavor. White wines taste best when properly stored at temperatures between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Positioning of the Bottle

Unopened wine should always be stored on its side. In this way, the wine always maintains contact with the cork. If stored upright, the cork could dry out and shrink, allowing a gap for oxygen and bacteria to find its way into the bottle and ruin the wine. On the other hand, capped wine can be stored upright or on its side since the sealed cap provides a barrier to outside contaminants. 

Proper Humidity

If humidity is above 70% where you store your wine, it can result in mold growth and deterioration of the bottle’s label. If humidity is below 50%, a wine cork can begin drying out and shrinking, exposing the wine to oxygen and bacteria. The optimal humidity level for wine storage is 60%. This will allow your wine to age slowly while keeping the cork intact and the label as it should be.

Importance of a Wine Fridge

A wine refrigerator provides a controlled environment in which to store your wine. It allows you to set the ideal temperature and humidity levels to protect your wine as it ages. Additionally, some wine refrigerators feature UV protecting glass to prevent light from damaging your wine. Finally, a wine refrigerator enables you to have perfectly chilled wine at your fingertips whenever you want it. 

Proper Lighting

Direct sunlight, fluorescent light, and UV lighting can affect wine by rearranging its chemical compounds. This results in premature aging that impacts the taste and perfume of the wine. “Light struck” wine can have an aroma of wet dog or rotten eggs, and that’s definitely not what you want to pour into a glass and sip.

The best type of lighting for wine storage is dimmable LED lighting. Because they don’t emit a lot of heat they are less likely to change the carefully balanced temperature of your wine cellar or storage space. 

Storing Open Bottles Properly

After you open a bottle of red wine, you can refrigerate it and enjoy it for three to five days. Refrigerated fortified wines will stay drinkable for up to a month. Full bodied white wine and Rosé can be refrigerated after opening and served for up to three to five days. Once uncorked, recorked, and refrigerated, Champagne and sparkling wine will only last a day or two. And of course, if the bottle is corked, recork or seal tightly and store the bottle on its side.