Whether you’ve got 5 wine bottles or 500, you probably don’t want
your wine to go bad or the taste to be compromised before you get a
chance to drink it. Unfortunately, not all of us wine lovers have the
luxury of a personal cellar (if you do, please send us a pic!), so it’s
important to know how to keep your wine fresh until you’re ready to
uncork and enjoy.
The easiest way to make sure you’re not doing a disservice to your stash is to follow these 5 Dos and Don’ts of wine storage:
DO: Keep your wine chilled.Yes, the average room temperature is too warm to both serve and store your wine. The warmer the ambient temperature, the quicker the wine will age and go bad. If you’ve ever left a bottle of wine in your car during the summer and then wondered why it tasted like pure alcohol or maybe even a little vinegar-like, you know what heat can do to a bottle. That is an extreme case, of course, but room temperature wines are not given the chance to fully express themselves, tasting duller than if chilled.
DON’T: Keep your wine in your kitchen fridge long term.Many people think the way to remedy the temperature conundrum is to keep their wine in the refrigerator, but unless you are using a wine refrigerator, this can be equally harmful. Your average kitchen refrigerator is not only too cold for your wine, stunting its development, but it also dries out the wine’s cork. Have you ever left an uncovered tomato in your fridge? Notice, how the tomato shrivels up in the span of just a day or so? This is because, unlike a wine refrigerator, your kitchen refrigerator removes humidity as it cools. Corks must remain moist in order to do their job properly. A dried out cork leads to a musty smelling, “corked” wine.
DO: Store your wine somewhere convenient.Although it may be good for the wine, it’s not practical or convenient to store your wine in that upstairs closet, away from harmful elements. Whether open or closed, wine is meant to be a conversation starter and a way to bring people together. It’s important to keep it somewhere convenient and easily accessible, ever at the ready to be retrieved and opened.
DON’T: Store your wine on top of your refrigerator.
DO: Store your wine on its side.Two words: cork moisture. Keeping your bottles on their sides, with wine constantly in contact with the cork, you won’t run the risk of having a “corked” wine.
DON’T: Store your wine upright for long term.For the same reason it’s recommended to store wine on its side is why it is not recommended to store it upright. When your bottle is upright, the wine is not hitting the cork. The cork will then begin to dry out, resulting in a musty, malodorous wine. With that said, it is okay to store your wine upright for a short amount of wine, which is why many some convenient or liquor stores can get away with it; they are banking on a timely sale of the bottles. I wouldn’t recommend keeping bottles upright for more than a few weeks.
DO: Keep your wine at a constant temperature.Like vibrations, fluctuating temperatures can negatively impact the aging and chemical processes happening in your wine. This is why cellars and wine refrigerators are fastidiously temperature controlled. A mild, constant temperature is best.
DON’T: Keep your wine at room temperature long term.As we stated earlier, room temperature is typically too warm for serving wine and also too warm for the long term storage of wine. Warm wine is dull and flat and, in extreme cases, overly alcoholic or vinegar tasting.
DO: Keep your wine somewhere where viewing and selecting a bottle is easy.It’s important to know what’s in your collection and where to find it. Although documenting your collection is helpful, it’s hard to beat a clear visual display of all of your bottles.
DON’T: Keep your wine in an area of harsh interior lighting or direct sunlight.
One way to ease the selection and viewing of your collection is with lighting. The type of lighting used is very important. Your average household lighting gives off heat, which as we now know, is not good. Sunlight and UV Rays are even worse for your wine. Keep your wine away from windows or other sources of natural light. Your best bet for a light source is LED. LED lighting creates a soft glow without giving off any heat.