If you're not planning on drinking your wine right away, it's best to store your wine properly. Many people look to store their wine for years to come and if they aren't stored correctly, your precious wine that you've been saving for a special night years later has gone bad.
It's also important to understand how long the wines you're storing typically last until they are past their peak. Most wines bought at the grocery store are ready to be drank right away, and many of them aren't ready to be stored for many years so keep in mind how long certain wine regions' wine typically lasts for in a properly wine storage environment. For example, a great Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley will typically last for over 10 years, reaching its peak taste profile at around the 10 year mark!
Follow the below tips on wine storage to make sure you're not risking your wine's taste due to a poor wine storage environment.
Keep Your Wine in a Constant, Cool Environment
The number one tip to follow is to keep your wine cool and out of an environment that has constant changing temperatures. Your wine won't fair well if they are stored in a place where the temperatures are constantly changing or if they are stored in a hot or cold environment. A place that is too hot is one that sits at 70° F (21.1° C) or higher. If the temperature is 45° F (7.2° C) or lower, this is also a bad place to your store your wine for a long period of time. Your refrigerator will not be a good place for wine storage because the temperature generally sits far below 45° F.
Keep Your Wine Out of the Light and In the Dark
Harsh light, especially sunlight is one of the worst things you can expose your stored wine to. The UV rays from the sun are most likely going to get through the wine bottle's glass and ensure that your wine is aging at a much quicker rate.
Store the Wine Bottles On Their Side
You're going to want to store your wine on their side for a few reasons. The first is to keep the wine in the bottle in constant contact with the bottle's cork. This helps keep the cork moist and will prevent it from drying out and possibly coming apart when you try using your corkscrew. Another reason is to reduce the air getting to the wine, not allowing it to oxidize. If the wine becomes oxidized, that bottle you've been saving for 5 years is going to turn into vinegar.
These rules don't apply to wines that are screw tops. If you're looking to store wines that have screw tops rather than corks, you don't have to store the wine bottles on their side - store them however you would like!
Store Your Wine In An Environment at about 70% Humidity
The humidity of the storage environment is also a key factor in storing bottles properly. If the humidity is just right, it's going to help prevent the cork from drying and possibly breaking on opening. If the humidity is too high, the corks are drying out and the wine may become oxidized. You also want to keep the wine out of an environment with a lot of moisture in the air because damp environments promote the growth of mold. If you're worried about the humidity being too high in the storage area, you can place a cup or bowl of water inside and check the humidity from time-to-time to ensure the proper humidity level. Also, don't forget to fill the cup or bowl back up every so often.
Preferred Methods of Wine Storage
The very best way to store wine is to store it professionally with a wine cooler. They are specifically designed for the storage of wine and they are also the most consistent temperature storage spaces with little to no shifting of the wine bottles during the length of storage. If the wine cooler is in a good area of your home, you won't have to worry about over-exposure to direct sunlight or vibrations from electronics, such as on top of the refrigerator. Another great feature of higher-end wine coolers is the dual-zone temperature control so you can keep your red wines and white wines at different temperatures but still properly chilled. The red wines should be stored at about 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit while white wines should be about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind for serving, generally you want your red wines right below room temperature and your white wines served chilled.
Another proper area would be your basement if it is not too damp or humid and it is free from any mold. Any place that fits the description laid out in this article should suffice for a proper wine storage area. Locations such as attics or garages are not ideal storage areas due to the fluctuation of temperatures and the humidity levels generally found in these areas.
Also, keep in mind the refrigerator is NOT a good place to keep your wine because of the opening and closing of the refrigerator door will make the temperature inconsistent as well as the temperature of the refrigerator generally sits below the optimal cooling temperature, as discussed above. There will also be shifting of the wine bottles in the refrigerator, which doesn't bode well for the wine inside.
Hope the above tips help keep your wine collection tasting great for many years to come - Cheers!
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