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.
How to Position a Wine Bottle in Storage
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 for Wine Storage
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 for Storing Wine
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.
Advanced Wine Storage Solutions
For the wine enthusiast looking to enhance their storage capabilities, consider these advanced solutions:
- Custom Wine Cellars: A custom cellar can provide the perfect environment for aging wine, complete with climate control and custom racking.
- Wine Storage Cabinets: For those without the space for a cellar, temperature-controlled wine cabinets are an excellent alternative.
- Vibration Control: Minimizing vibration is key as it can disturb the sediment in wine, affecting its aging process. Specialized racks and cabinets are designed to reduce vibration.
Wine Inventory Management
As your collection grows, keeping track of what you have becomes crucial:
- Wine Inventory Software: Utilize software or apps designed for wine collectors to track your inventory, tasting notes, and the ideal drinking window for each bottle.
- Labeling System: Implement a system to easily identify wines, such as color-coded tags or labels indicating the type of wine and the year.
The Impact of Wine’s Provenance on Storage
The origin of the wine, or its provenance, plays a significant role in storage needs:
- Old World vs. New World Wines: Wines from different regions have unique storage requirements based on their composition and aging potential.
- Provenance Documentation: Maintaining records of a wine’s origin, purchase date, and storage conditions can be crucial, especially for collectors and investors.
Creating the Ideal Wine Cellar Environment
To create the perfect cellar environment, focus on these aspects:
- Insulation and Cooling Systems: Proper insulation and a dedicated wine cooling system are essential for maintaining a consistent temperature.
- Air Quality and Ventilation: Good air circulation prevents mold growth and maintains a consistent environment.
- Decor and Ambiance: The aesthetic of your wine cellar can enhance the overall experience of collecting and tasting wine.
Wine Storage for Collectors and Investors
For those who view wine as an investment:
- Insurance for Wine Collections: Consider insuring your collection, especially if it includes rare or valuable bottles.
- Investment-Grade Storage: Ensure your storage meets the standards required for maintaining the value of investment-grade wines.
In conclusion, storing wine is both an art and a science. Whether you’re a casual enthusiast or a serious collector, understanding and implementing these storage tips will ensure your wine is preserved perfectly for that moment when you’re ready to enjoy it. From the right temperature and humidity to the impact of light and vibration, every detail matters in the world of wine storage.