Buying a bottle of wine is always a very exciting experience. People cannot wait to get their hands on a good bottle of wine and savor it slowly for all their guests and even themselves to enjoy. It is always so refreshing to open up a new bottle of wine and that experience of drinking that first glass upon opening is one that will never be forgotten. The crisp notes of the wine and its aroma lingers in your head days after and you find yourself going back to your bottle of wine to pour another glass for yourself, hoping to slowly sip and savor the deliciousness that this wine has to offer. Except it becomes one of the most disappointing experiences when you sip that bottle of wine only to find out that the flavor has diminished. Maybe the aroma is not as strong. Perhaps the taste is off or funky or even the tannins and acidity has appeared to diminish. Whatever the case may be having a great tasting bottle of wine go to waste is not fun at all. Especially when you were looking forward to it and especially when you spent a hefty price for it. Don’t worry though. Through this article all wine lovers can learn how to properly store their beloved wine in a way that helps keep it fresh and allows you to savor the bottle for as long as possible!
Keep the Area Cool
Heat is a major no no for fresh wine. When heat starts to come in contact with the wine bottle this will cause your wine to age at a much quicker rate than if it was stored in a cool area. Typically, temperatures that exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit are considered to be too warm for proper wine storage. Your wine will end up going through a process known as “cooking” in which the heat ends up flattening out the aromas and flavors of the wine creating an overall horrible wine experience. The ideal temperature to store your wine is between 45 degrees F and 65 degrees F. Some sites even claim that the most perfect temperatures are around 55 degrees F, but ideally anywhere between the interval stated above should be fine. If your storage cannot get to this interval, then that is okay as long as it is only a couple degrees away from the listed interval. If you open the bottles a few years from release then it should be completely fine. Do not fall under the concept that you should store your wine in heat to accelerate its peak time so that you can open the bottle and enjoy it sooner! This is a big no no. Just because you accelerated the aging time of the wine does not mean that the wine is at optimal quality for drinking. Chances are once you store the wine in heat, even when it reaches its peak time, the flavor will be way more inferior to the flavor it would have if you let it age on its own with patience. This is because the heat accelerates chemical reactions causing solids in the wine (like tannins and color) to drop out a higher rate than the sugars and acids that are reacting in the wine. This creates an imbalance within your wine so even though it becomes peak time for your wine, you will definitely know that the quality is not as superior as it should be.
Make Sure it Is Not Too Cool
When I say this, I am basically talking about the refrigerator. It is okay to keep wines in your household refrigerator for about a few months, but any longer than that can actually affect the quality of your wine. This is due to the fact that the average fridge temperature is at or below 45 degrees F. The lack of moisture in the refrigerator due to the cold temperature will actually end up drying out the corks of the wine. This allows the air to seep into the wine bottle more easily and damaging the quality of the wine. It is also essential that your wine is not put in or near a freezer as freezing your wine will cause the liquid to turn into ice which then causes enough expansion for the cork to be popped out. You can only imagine what will then happen to your wine once the cork is popped out!
Never Go Crazy with Shaking
There are some theories that exist out there about the concept of shaking your wine and how that can actually damage the wine. The thought process behind this theory goes that the vibrations caused by shaking will actually act as a catalyst between the chemical reactions in the liquid. Significant vibrations with the wine bottle could be enough to actually disturb the sediment in wines that are a lot older. This stops the wine from being able to settle properly and as a result the wine could possibly become extremely gritty. All in all, there is no need to shake your wine bottle about so be careful and try to keep minimal vibrations around your wine bottles.
You Shouldn’t Have to Worry About Humidity as Much
A lot of wine connoisseurs out there would often stress the importance of keeping your wine bottles stored at an ideal humidity of about 70 percent. This could be due to the fact that too much dry air around your wine bottle will end up drying out the cork of the wine bottle which essentially makes the cork not effective enough in keeping the wine fresh. While this is trying, generally the humidity in a room is enough to keep your wine from going bad. The only time you would really need to worry about the humidity factor playing a role in your wine quality is if you lived in very extreme conditions such as the arctic or the desert. A humidity level that is around 50-80 percent is considered safe enough to keep your wine from going bad at a quick rate. If you are having concerns about your humidity levels in your wine storage than having a pan of water in the storage area can help with that, but be aware that if the humidity levels become too much then this can also promote mold so be cautious! A dehumidifier should be able to solve the problem though.
Be Consistent in Your Temperature Control
Always be sure that your storage area is not a place that is susceptible to immense temperature fluctuations like a garage. In addition, once you have picked a place to store your wine, it is ideal that you keep it that way instead of moving your wine about to various places. The constant temperature will cause the wine to constantly expand and contract which can either push the cork out entirely or cause seepage of the liquid. This rule mainly applies to significant temperature fluctuations so if degrees are changing within a couple degrees of one another then you should not be too alarmed by it. Yet if you have already experienced your wine seeping out past the cork, do not give up hope! This doesn’t always mean that the wine has gone bad. Test it out yourself to determine if the wine still has its desirable taste.
When it comes to proper wine storage then it is best to keep the lights out in this situation. Light, especially sunlight, have serious effects on the taste and quality of your wine when it comes to long term wine storage. The UV rays of the sun over time end up damaging the wine causing it to age prematurely. High exposure to lights in the house such as light bulbs, may not do significant damage like the sun but they can fade your labels in the long run so it is best to avoid light as much as possible. Aiming for minimal light can help keep the wine bottle looking good on the outside as well as the contents tasting good on the inside.
Check the Wine Out from a Sideways Point of View
Traditionally for many, many years, it is quite common to actually lay wine bottles on their sides. This actually helps to keep the liquid against the cork which should keep the cork from drying out in long term storage. This tip does not apply if you plan to use the bottle in the near future or the wine bottle is equipped with something else instead of a cork such as screw caps, glasses, or plastic corks. Placing your wine bottles sideways is not a bad idea anyways as they help to keep your wine storage space efficient.
Ventilation is actually very important to wine storage as well. If you store your wine in an area that carries many different kinds of odors then this will actually affect the taste of your wine. Some of the air around the wine always ends up getting into the cork of the wine and into the wine itself (this tends to take a few years). Certain odors are very simple and benign and therefore won’t cause too much destruction to the quality of your wine but high exposure over many years to other odors will definitely ruin the taste of your wine. This can include strong odors such as solvents like fresh paint and cleaning solutions, as well as very aromatic food products such as onions and garlic. Keep these away from your wine. One-time exposure should not be too much to affect the wine, but more than a few weeks will definitely start to deteriorate the taste of the wine.
The Go-To Place for Wine Storage
Try to purchase some wine racks and place it in an area of the house that best suits the tips provided. If you have a cellar or basement then that could be a possible option. It is probably for the best that you do not keep the wine bottles in areas such as the kitchen, the laundry room, or a boiler room as these places yield hot conditions. Rule out places that would give direct sunlight exposure to the wine bottles and if you find yourself at a lost cause for a good place to store your wine then you can also try to purchase a small wine cooler. If the wine coolers are kept in a place that is similar to the guidelines mentioned above then the wine cooler does not have to work so hard to provide the right conditions to your wine bottle and you can see not much of an increase in your energy bill! If you do not feel as if investing in a small wine cooler is the right option for you then you can also possibly put your wine in a closet. Closets are normally dark and consistent in temperature which will be very ideal for your wine bottles.
This may seem like an overwhelming amount of information to point out all at once, but it is for your own benefit and knowledge. Applying these changes may take some rearranging and thinking but once you have thought about it and executed your plan then you can feel better knowing that the hefty money and patience that you spent on these wine bottles were well worth it. Once you take in that strong aroma and the delicious crisp taste that a good bottle of wine can offer, you will forget all about the little details you had to think about to get to this point. Popping open the bottle and finally getting a taste of what you have been waiting for will be well worth it! So, spend a little time to take these points into consideration, plan well, and enjoy the most superior and utmost best quality of your wine. Enjoy it all on your own or share a little bit of magic with the ones around you. Either way the effort will always pay off in the end.