Wine has been consumed for centuries throughout the world, and is very popular in our age. Whether you are a casual wine drinker, or are a wine collector, there are certain things you should know when it comes to storing wine.
Did you know that in our time, most wine bottles have UV filters for light? Too much light or UV rays can cause a pungent odor to your wine. Storing wine into dirty containers, and exposure to air can quickly turn you good wine into vinegar. Wine breathes so you want to keep away from strong odors to avoid the smell going through the cork and tampering with the wine. Cheap wine does not improve over time. Red wines usually take 2-10 years to mature depending on the type of wine, the balance of acid, sugars, and tannins. White wines are generally good for 2-3 years, and White Burgundies (Chardonnay) need to be aged 5-20 years. Wine should be stored at a cool temperature. The ideal temperature for storing wine would be between 54-68 degrees, not exceeding 75 degrees. The temperature of wine should never fluctuate more than 3 degrees per day, and 5 degrees per year. The more changes in the temperature, the greater the chance wine has of over breathing. If the temperature is below 54 degrees, this slows down the aging process. If the wine is stored about 75 degrees, it causes the wine to age 4x’s faster than normal, and can lose its fruitiness, and value. You want to make sure the humidity for storing wine is about 70%, and the air is circulating in the area to reduce the chance of mold. A hygrometer can track the humidity levels. Movement or vibrations can decrease the value of your wine.
TIPS FOR WINE STORAGE:
You want to make sure you follow these general rules when it comes to storing your wine.
- Keep the wine at a constant, cool temperature, never letting the temperature get above 75 degrees; this can cause the wine to oxidize.
- Its best to store your wine on its side, the key is to make sure you keep the cork from drying out, and causing the wine to oxidize.
- Avoid locations where there is a lot of movement, or vibrations.
- Keep your wine in a dark area, avoid areas of direct sunlight, or UV rays
- High humidity levels are better than low humidity levels for wine.
Wine storage can be broken down into 3 different categories. Long Term Storage, Short Term storage, and Storage after the Wine is opened up.
Long Term: This is generally for wine that will be stored for more than 6 months. Wine storage should be low constant temperature, about 70% humidity, free of movement and vibration, and a dark area. High humidity can cause growth of mold on the labels, but is better for the wine. With too much light, this can result in an off taste and smell to the wine, especially with white and sparkling wines.
Short Term: This is generally for wine that will be consumed within 6 months or less. You want to keep the conditions as close to long term storage, but a short term solution would be like using an interior closet, basement under the stair case, or under the sink as a last resort.
Open Bottles: If the wine has been opened, you want to make sure (especially if its white wine), it is consumed within 3-5 days. Make sure the cork is tight on the bottle. You may want to use a cork stopper and pump to minimize exposure to air. If storing in a refrigerator, avoid leaving the fridge open for a long time, because the exposure to the light can affect the wine. If it is red wine, leave out, and keep the cork tight. Desert wines can generally stay fresh for about 3-5 days.
DIFFERENT OPTIONS FOR WINE STORAGE:
These are a few options for you depending on which type of storage you are looking for. Wine storage can come in many sizes, shapes, and colors depending on what your storage needs are.
Wine Racks: Come in both wood and metal forms, good for use under a bar area, can also come in floor to ceiling models, depending on your needs. This form does not protect your wine from light, or help avoid temperature fluctuations, but if built in to a location, can avoid vibrations depending on the make.
Insulated Wine Cellar: Insulated wine cellars protect your wine from colder and warmer temperatures, and also remain at a constant temperature. The insulated vs. non-insulated can be more consistent with maintaining temperatures.
Closet Wine Cellar: Can be built into your home, for instant a closet, and can be kept floor to ceiling. Can ease with maintaining temperatures, darkness, and avoid vibrations. You want to make sure with your closet wine cellar that the air quality and circulation is good especially for long term storage.
Wine Cooler/Refrigerator: A wine refrigerator is a great way to protect your wine; they usually stay at a constant 55 degrees with better air circulation to help prevent any mold growth.
Now that you have finished wine storage 101, you should have a better understanding on the proper ways to store your wine.