While storing wine is not rocket science, there are a few key points that you must keep in mind to ensure that your wine has the best chance for long-term survival and optimal aging.
Store wines away from light.
Never keep bottles in direct sunlight and fluorescent fixtures. UV rays can cause wine to be ‘light struck,’ giving them an unpleasant smell.Darker bottles are better protected and some bottles have UV filters built into the glass, but enough UV rays can still penetrate to ruin the wine. If a wine is in direct light consistently, it will affect its flavor significantly, a result of premature aging. If you can’t keep a bottle entirely out of the light, keep it lightly wrapped up in a cloth, or simply put the bottle inside a box out of the way.
Lay corked wine bottles on their sides.
When a bottle of wine is stored upright for a long amount of time, the cork will dry out, and air will eventually get to the wine, spoiling it. If you store it label side up, it’ll be easier to spot any sediments that may have formed in the wine over time and you will be able to read the label without moving the bottle.
Try not to move the wine bottle.
If possible, store the wines in such a way that you don’t need to move them in order to reach a bottle to drink. Try not to move a bottle at all once it is stored.
Keep the temperature constant.
Wine storage temperature should not go over 75˚F (24°C), for longer than brief spans of time. At 75°F, wine begins to oxidize. An ideal temperature for storing a varied wine collection is 54°F (12.2°C).Letting the temperature drop below 54°F won’t hurt the wine; it’ll only slow down the aging process.
The greater the changes in temperature a wine suffers, the greater the premature aging of the wine from over breathing. The temperature should never fluctuate more than 3°F (1.6°C) a day and 5°F (2.7°C) a year, especially with red wines, which will suffer more temperature-related problems than white wines.
Humidity should be around 70%.
High humidity keeps the cork from drying and minimizes evaporation. Don’t allow the humidity to go too much over 70%, however, because it can encourage the growth of mold and cause labels to loosen.
Keep the wine in a well-ventilated area.
Remember that wine “breathes”, so don’t store it with anything that has a strong smell, as the smell will permeate through the cork and taint the wine. Good ventilation may help prevent musty odors from entering the wine.
Chose the wine storage medium carefully.
Basements are ideal storage facilities – since they typically meet the cool and dark requirements. If a basement is not an option, then just keep the bottles in a cool closet. Or if you want to be more intentional with these prime storing conditions then consider one of the many wine refrigerator or wine storage cabinets on the market.
Storing wine is easy – just remember to keep it cool, dark, still and sideways and you’ll find that you can successfully store wine for both the short and long term with confidence.
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