If you have ever bought wine that you didn’t intend on drinking right away, you might have wondered how to best store it. In order to ensure a wine’s best chance for long-term survival and optimal aging, you need to consider a few important factors. Listed below are 5 simple guidelines that will help keep your wine safe before you open it.
1. Keep it dark
Wine doesn’t need to be stored in complete darkness, but it definitely should not be stored in direct sunlight either. Most bottles are made to be like sunglasses, helping to protect the wine from UV rays. However, wine still needs full UV protection.
If wine is stored in direct sunlight (or under fluorescent light) consistently, it will cause premature aging, which affects the flavor of the wine. If it is impossible to keep the bottle out of the light, then lightly wrap it in a cloth. White wines are most sensitive to light, but red wines can be seriously impacted as well.
2. Keep it cool
Heat is a big enemy for wine. Wine needs to be stored in an area that is cool, but not cold. The ideal temperature range is between 45° F and 65° F. Temperatures higher than 70° F can cause the wine to “cook” and age more quickly. This can affect the flavor and longevity of the wine. Also, be careful to not keep your wine somewhere it could freeze (like a garage). If it came down to science, the optimal temperature would be about 55° F.
Be mindful of humidity as well. Wine should be stored where it’s humid, but not too humid. A higher humidity prevents the corks from shrinking and allowing oxygen to enter. However, if it is too humid the corks could mold. Anywhere between 50-80% humidity is considered safe, but 70% is ideal.
3. Keep the temperature constant
You should try to keep the temperature as constant as possible. Dramatic fluctuations in the temperature of wine can have a negative affect on the aging of the wine, especially red wines. Try not to let the temperature fluctuate more than a couple of degrees throughout the day and even year.
Be very weary of storing your wine in your kitchen for a long period of time. A cellar or temperature controlled system is best for storing wine because you can keep temperatures cool and constant.
Storing wine on its side helps to keep the liquid up against the cork. This should keep the cork from drying out and shrinking and letting oxygen seep into the bottle. The last thing you want is for your wine to start to oxidize!
5. Don’t move it
Try to keep the bottles as still as possible. Store them in such a way that you don’t need to move them to reach something else. Some theories suggest that significant vibrations could negatively impact the wine in the long term by starting chemical reactions in the liquid. They could also disturb sediment in red wines, which would keep it from settling. You typically don’t have to worry much about this unless you live right next to a train station or something similar. And be sure to not crazily shake the bottle up and down, as that would have an adverse effect on the wine as well.
Where is the best place to store wine?
Automatically rule out your kitchen, as it is prone to sunlight, warm temperatures, and even possible vibrations. A cool, somewhat humid basement can easily be turned into a cellar with a few simple racks. You could certainly buy a small wine cooler, which will make it easier to keep the wine at the right temperature. Think about any dark and stable places in your home. A vacant storage area, closet, or even underneath your bed can all be options as long as it’s dark and cool.