Planning to start your wine collection but are still clueless about wine storage options?
You may be buying wines or receiving several bottles as gifts, and you’d rather keep them for later than drink them all at the same time.
How to store wine? Temperature and humidity are important factors to consider when storing wine. Humidity levels should be kept between 50 and 70 percent, while the temperature should be regulated around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not an exact science, but wine experts recommend storing light-colored wine in cooler temperatures than dark-colored wine. Room temperature sits above the wine storage threshold, so pick a cool dark place to store your wines.
How do warm and icy temperatures affect wine?
Warm temperatures cause the wine to expand inside the bottle.
This expansion causes either a case of pushed or raised cork that can lead to some leaks.
Any leaks could mean the wine has come in contact with oxygen, which speeds up the aging process.
Oxygen exposure results in oxidation and eventually causes your wine to go bad and become very sour.
Alternatively, very cold temperatures slow down the aging of the wine and make the liquid less volatile.
A bottle of wine stored for too long in colder temperatures can become what you call “cooked wine.”
Cooked wine has a very prune-like, flat flavor.
Be careful not to freeze your wines, as the liquid will also expand and cause the bottles to break.
How long can you store wine?
Like temperature storage recommendations, different types of wine also vary in storage expiration.
Whereas red wine could keep its quality for up to three years after its listed expiration date, white wine lasts only up to two years past the mark.
Fine wine can last even longer, sometimes as long as 20 years, if stored properly
Before consuming a whole bottle, though, check if it smells and tastes right.
Additionally, unopened wine bottles can be stored for longer periods than opened ones.
While unopened wine bottles last for several years in optimal storage conditions, opened bottles diminish in quality over a short span of days.
Stored bottles of sparkling wines lose their quality the fastest, so consume them immediately after opening.
Quick and Easy Steps on How to Store Wine
Different types of wine require different storage procedures.
Table wines are the type that is meant to be drunk immediately rather than be kept for years.
If the bottle is not marked, check for a synthetic or screw top, which indicates that it is not for long-term aging.
Longer aging wines usually have natural cork tops and are much more expensive.
After segregation, consider the following tips for extended periods of storing wine:
Step 1. Store white wines in the fridge.
All white wines should be served chilled.
They will remain of good quality in the refrigerator as long as you consume them within two months.
Step 2. Keep red wines in a wine rack away from light.
If you don’t have a wine cellar, your best option for storing red table wines is in a cool wine rack, preferably away from light, especially sunlight.
When it gets above 70 degrees Fahrenheit inside your house, transfer your red wine bottles inside the fridge.
Step 3. Store cork-top, fine wines in the dark and away from vibrations.
Ask your winery if you can store the wines you plan to buy for long-term aging.
You can keep aging fine wines in a cool, dark cabinet away from equipment such as air-conditioning and washing machines.
Vibrations can affect the aging process and degrade the quality of your fine wine.
Step 4. Keep the bottles on their sides.
Store fine cork-top wine with the bottles on their sides to avoid dried out corks and oxidation.
Step 5. Avoid stacking bottles on their sides in several layers.
If you have too many bottles stacked in layers, you can disrupt each bottle’s aging process whenever you try to access the bottle below the pile.
The result can be the same as keeping the wine bottles near vibrating machinery.
Step 6. Maintain a thermometer to check the temperature.
Regularly check the temperature in your wine storage.
Keep the temperature as close to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and as consistent as possible.
Recurring temperature variations can push the wine out of the cork or draw oxygen into the bottle.
Step 7. Use a humidifier to regulate the humidity level.
Keep a hygrometer handy to observe the humidity levels inside your wine storage.
A humidifier won’t be necessary for most areas, but you should have one if your storage space is generally dry and with less than 50 percent humidity.
In more humid areas, however, higher humidity can cause molds to grow around the corks.
In this case, use a dehumidifier to bring the humidity down below 70 percent.
Step 8. Consider investing in special equipment for expensive wines.
Showcase your fine wines by storing them in wine coolers by your bar, or keep a tight guard on them by having wine lockers.
Your local winery may have professional wine lockers that can keep your wine for you at the perfect humidity and temperature.
Step 9. For leftover wine, reduce exposure to air to extend the shelf life.
You can extend the storage life of leftover wine by reducing its contact with air.
One way is by transferring the wine into a smaller bottle that allows much less air space.
Another way is by using a needle opener.
A needle opener works like a syringe that replaces the withdrawn wine with argon gas, and the cork seals the hole made by the needle.
How do you store wine without a cellar?
Converting a room into a regulated storage space with temperature and humidity control can be very expensive.
You can convert your basement or any cool, dark place into a wine cellar by purchasing a simple wine rack.
Or, if you have some extra bucks to spend, a wine cooler should do the trick.
Wine coolers have built-in thermostats with controls for specific temperature and humidity targeting.
What is the best position to store wine?
The basic principle is to store wine bottles on their sides, especially when they have cork stoppers.
This position will keep the cork from drying out.
Upright storage may seem space-saving but dried out corks allow outside air to seep into the bottles and alter the wine’s quality.
It is best to keep the cork moist at all times.
If you are passionate about enjoying your wines at a later time, always grab the opportunity to control the temperature and humidity of your wine storage.
Your wine collection can last longer if you keep them cool but not in freezing temperatures.
Always remember that upright storage may save a lot of space, but wine bottles on their sides retain the best quality and flavor.