Storing wine is an art. Regardless of what you might think, it actually makes a difference on whether your wine tastes sour and spoiled or refined and crisp. Each and every wine bottle should be taken care to ensure that the taste remains as it’s intended to. Properly storing wine goes a long way, whether you’re a wine connoisseur, restaurateur, or collector.
However, a lot of people don’t know how to store wine the proper way. That’s why we’ve put together everything you need to know about storing wine in this guide.
Most of your storage needs for wine are probably going to be for pre-opened bottles. Once you open a bottle, the storage conditions needed to maintain an optimized taste are vastly different and for much shorter periods of time. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or not, these tips will help you get the most out of your collection.
Keep it in the Dark
Wine loves being stored away in the dark. This is due to the ability of light to change the chemical composure of wine… in a pretty negative way. Direct sunlight and UV rays not only change the smell of the wine, but they also impact the flavor. If you’ve ever opened a bottle of wine and been surprised by the odor, and even more thrown off by the taste, chances are that it’s been spoiled by light.
Regardless of the tint of the bottle, light can still get in. Make sure that your wine is stored in a dark place to maintain the quality.
Store Bottles Horizontally
Ever wonder why all wine racks that are sold are made so that the bottles are stored on their sides? It’s not just for decorative reasons. It is actually so that wine is always in contact with the cork. When wine is stored upright, no liquid is touching the cork so it dries out. When the cork dries out, it shrinks and allows air to enter the bottle and get into the wine. This exposure to air causes wine to spoil over time, so always store your bottles horizontally.
Keep the Temperatures Consistent
One of the most important things that all wine connoisseurs can agree on is the temperature of where you store your wine. Since temperature fluctuations are one of the main reasons that wine goes bad prematurely, this storage tip should never be overlooked.
If your wine were stored somewhere too hot, it ages much faster than you’d expect. While this isn’t detrimental at first, if the temperature continues to rise your wine may reach the level of being “cooked.” This means that it has oxidized and the aromas and flavors have flattened out. If your wine becomes “cooked” it isn’t likely that you’ll actually enjoy drinking it when the time comes.
Additionally, if your wine is stored somewhere that is too cold, your corks can dry out. When this happens, air can get into the bottles and damage the structural integrity of the wine. If your wine reaches freezing temperatures, the cork is likely to completely come out. This means a big mess for you and no more drinkable wine.
Most experts agree that the perfect temperature to store your wine is at 55 degrees. This should be kept as stable as possible because consistent fluctuations in temperature will damage the chemical processes of aging wine.
Keep Humidity at 70%
In addition to temperature control, you’ll want to monitor the amount of humidity for wine storage. The ideal amount is 70% so that your cork doesn’t dry out. When your cork dries out, air gets in and quality goes out. Spoiled wine is no good, so aim for 70%.
It should also be noted that too much humidity is dangerous as it promotes mold growth. While this won’t affect the quality of your wine, it will damage your labels and make things feel pretty nasty.
Don’t move the wine
This tip is not as well known as some of the others we’ve mentioned, but you should avoid moving your wine too much once you place it in storage. When wines are bottled from the winery they contain differing amounts of sediment in them and when they’re moved the sediments don’t have a chance to fully settle.
There are mixed reviews on whether small vibrations make a difference, but the more you move your wine the less likely it is that those sediments will settle. This means that when you do decide to enjoy a bottle, you might experience an unpleasant amount of grittiness.
Isolate Wine Storage
Wine storage should only be used to store wine, nothing else. If you store it with other things, especially things with strong odors, the odors will actually permeate through the cork. This will taint your wine and you may even be able to taste other flavors when you go to drink the wine. Garlic mixed with a Cabernet does not sound appealing. To avoid any chance of your wine absorbing unwanted flavors, isolate your storage. Proper ventilation also helps combat this, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Different types of wine will have different storage times for optimal excellence. Not all wines can be stored for years on end. Some can be stored for over 20 years and some should be consumed before 2 years.
Typically speaking, you should be storing your red wines anywhere from 2 years to 10 years in order to properly age them. Each type of red wine has a specific aging period, so make sure that you research before storing. On the other hand, most white wines have an optimal storage period of 2-3 years. It all comes down to the blend and type because of the unique chemical balances for each wine.
Bring to Serving Temperature
Finally, when you’re ready to serve your wine, make sure that you adjust the temperatures. Every wine has a specific temperature where taste is optimized and it is usually not the same as what temperature they need to be stored at. Let the temperatures adjust before serving to get the most out of your wine.
There are a few different options when it comes to where you can store your wine. Some people have rooms in their homes professionally built into wine cellars and others only have room, and money, to keep a few bottles at a time. Here are some great storage options for you to consider.
With a wine cooler, you can shop different sizes and shapes in order to find something that fits your home. They’re discrete and thanks to technology, extremely efficient.
Basements make a surprisingly successful place for at-home wine storage. Since they are underground, they are cooler and usually windowless (unless you have a walk-out basement). As long as you’re keeping wine away from the furnace, you should be fine. Just make sure to test the temperature and levels of humidity prior to storing large amounts of wine.
Makeshift Closet Wine Cellar
If you don’t have the space for a wine cooler, and your home is lacking a basement, consider making some adjustments to one of your closets. Closets are often cooler than your living spaces and, as long as the light is turned off, are dark and isolated. If you have a spare closet and want your wine kept close, consider making the transformation.
Professional Wine Storage
The best option if you truly want to preserve your wine, without paying a fortune to install your very own wine cellar, is to invest in professional wine storage. Whether you’re a wine collector, investor or restaurateur, investing in a proper storage will save you time, money and sanity. The Lock Up Self Storage offers professional wine storage with controlled temperatures of 55 degrees and humidity levels of 70%. We offer advanced control systems and a high level of security so you never have to worry about your wine.
After you open and enjoy your wine, storage needs change. When you open a white wine, you can store it in the refrigerator for about 3-5 days. You can extend this by taking some precautions, but it’s best to consume it sooner rather than later.
For red wines, all you need to do is put the cork back in the bottle and place it in a dark area. You can leave this wine out without worrying about it spoiling, at least for a few days.
Having a professional storage unit for your wine is a great investment. If you improperly store your wine, the chances of you losing your investment are much higher than that of a unit. In order to ensure that your wine is secured safely, The Lock Up Self Storage uses security-controlled gates, electronically coded access points and 24-hour camera monitoring. When you’re in need of a reliable and effective place to store your wine collection, look no further than The Lock Up Self Storage. Check out some of our units at www.thelockup.com. You can also stop by any of our locations to see our units in person.