To many people, only a few pleasures in the world can match the pure experience of the exquisite taste of quality wine. It, however, takes enormous effort to preserve this delightful taste of wine until final serving. From the point of production to the point of refrigerating, massive resources are expended in maintaining pristine taste. Considering all of these, it then becomes a shame that this much sought-after experience is many a time destroyed as a result of poor storage of wine.
Thus, the need for proper storage is usually a concern for wine-lovers around the world. If you are one of such wine-lovers, then you are reading the right article as we will be taking you through some practical tips to ensure that you can maintain the integrity of your wines for years to come.
STORING YOUR WINE
Whether you have 7 wine bottles or 800, there are effective ways to store your wine and have the best experience you can get when you finally decide to serve. This applies whether you are storing the wine short-term or long-term. Here are some practical tips to follow:
1. MAINTAIN THE IDEAL TEMPERATURE
This is a tip that most experienced wine-lovers are conversant with. Higher temperatures may cause your wine to age faster than desired, as your wine might cook. Conversely, lower temperatures are also not good for long-term storage of wine. This is because low temperatures reduce humidity, which is necessary to ensure that the corks don’t get dried and then allow air into the bottles. Therefore, it is ideal for maintaining a temperature of around 55ºF (13ºC) for short and long-term storage. For specific wines, you might have to get temperature recommendations from the manufacturers as ideal temperature differs from wine to wine.
It is also important that you avoid frequent fluctuations in temperature as this could cause the cork to expand and contract, which would allow and release air from the wine. People who have cellars can get quality cooling systems to maintain the ideal storage temperature. Where a cellar is unavailable, however, you can get wine fridges designed for this purpose.
2. PROTECT FROM LIGHT
If you don’t have a cellar, it is important that you only store your wine in rooms that are not directly exposed to light. Wines are sensitive to light, particularly UV light, which is why many producers use colored glass bottles to store wine. UV rays from the sun can damage wine’s flavors and aromas. It would help if you also were careful in selecting light bulbs for the storage room or cellar. Select bulbs that emit lower amounts of ultraviolet light. Incandescent bulbs are a bit better than fluorescent bulbs in this regard. Also, you can purchase wine cooler fridges with UV-resistant glass.
This is another important factor to keep in mind. This is especially relevant to your selection of cooling systems. Cooling systems that are not specifically designed for wine storage might remove too much moisture, leaving humidity at levels less than ideal for wine. If humidity levels are too low, it could cause corks to dry out, thereby leaving your wine vulnerable to the damaging effects of oxygen. Conversely, if humidity levels are too high, there is the possibility that the storage area develops molds, which can damage your wine labels.
The best humidity for wine storage is around 65 – 75%. This should be easy to maintain if your house is not in a location with extreme weather conditions and if you pay proper attention to lighting and temperature. Your kitchen fridge is bad for maintaining humidity, so opt for a cellar or a good wine fridge.
You want to keep your wine bottles as steady as possible throughout storage. Constant and excessive shaking could very well damage the taste since the elements that cause your wine to age well would be constantly disturbed. It is also thought that vibrations and frequent shaking could damage wine in the long run by speeding up chemical reactions in the liquid. These vibrations could upset the sediments in older wines, which might make them unpleasantly gritty. You should keep your wines away from potential sources of vibrations like exercise areas, stereo systems, and the like. Keeping wine bottles should not be much of a problem for most people. However, it doesn’t hurt to keep it in mind.
5. STORE HORIZONTALLY
It is advisable to arrange your wine bottles horizontally on the wine rack. What this does is that it ensures that the wine and the cork are always in contact, which prevents the cork from getting dry. This way, the cork would remain sealed and not expose the wine to the damaging effects of oxygen. This technique might not be necessary if you are not planning on storing wines for a long time or if the wine bottle uses screwcaps and plastic corks. Nonetheless, it is a space-efficient arrangement technique, so you might go with it.
6. SERVING TEMPERATURE
You should know that the ideal temperature for storing wine long-term differs considerably from serving temperature. Thus, if you are going to serve your wine soon or are just storing it for the short-term, it is necessary to store it at the ideal temperature for serving. This would ensure the full expression of the wine’s aroma and flavor. Depending on the age and type of wine, serving temperature varies. Younger wines usually do better on the colder end of the spectrum, while for older wines, it might be ideal for storing at around 61-65˚F. Red wine should only be stored slightly lower than room temperature, while white wine can be chillier. Champagne can be served at the lowest temperatures around 38-45˚F.
Knowing how to properly store your wine bottles is necessary if you want to enjoy that satisfying experience every time you pour yourself into a glass. As such, be ready to make the necessary investments. Get a cellar with a good cooling and lighting system. If you cannot obtain one, don’t opt for storing your wines in your kitchen fridge. Instead, you could get a wine cooler fridge that is designed for wine storage.