No matter how big your wine collection is, you will want to keep it in the best condition. That’s why it’s important to know how to store your wine, so your bottles are always fresh and ready to be uncorked.
Fortunately, there are a variety of options available for storing your wine this summer. Here are our top tips for storing wine this summer – and beyond.
When the room temperature is warm, this results in the age of the wine accelerating rapidly, which can often lead to the bottle going off altogether. The first tip to keep in mind is to ensure that you keep your wine somewhere cool. Temperature fluctuations are one of the worst things for wine, and as mentioned - warmer temperatures can speed up the ageing process.
Most people think that the easiest way to solve the temperature problem is keeping their wine in the refrigerator. This only works if you have a special wine refrigerator. Without using a dedicated wine storage solution, this can in fact damage your collection of wines.
The reasons for this are more vast than you may initially realise. For instance, not only is a kitchen refrigerator too cold for storing wine, but it also dries the cork and exposes wine to the elements. Think of what happens when you store fruit like tomatoes in a fridge. They tend to shrivel up quickly because refrigerators remove humidity.
Wine corks have to stay moist to stay in place and serve their purpose. If you don’t have a wine cooler, then a cupboard can be a good option.
While storing your wine in an upstairs cabinet away from harmful elements might be good for the wine, it’s neither convenient nor practical to store it so far out of the way. Wine should be a conversation piece and a way to connect with others. That’s why you should keep your wine in a convenient and accessible location ready to be opened and enjoyed.
While convenience is an important factor, it shouldn’t come at the cost of the wine’s integrity. The top of the refrigerator might seem like a logical place to keep wine, and many people seem to keep it there, but it’s also one of the worst places to keep wine. There are three reasons for that:
Firstly, your fridge gives off plenty of vibrations when the compressor cycles on and off, when using the ice maker, and when doing lots of other normal fridge things. These vibrations affect the sediments in wine and affect the ageing process and taste.
Secondly, refrigerators give off heat. While internal components and compressors work to keep the inside cool, the outside of a refrigerator – especially the top – is warm to the touch.
Thirdly, the top of the refrigerator is likely going to put wine near your light fixtures. This is one of the last places you should keep wine as lights give off heat that causes premature wine ageing.
Storing wine horizontally is key to ensuring the cork stays moist. Keep wine bottles on their side so the wine is always in contact with the cork. This prevents “corked” wine.
You should never keep wine stored in an upright position because the wine doesn’t touch the cork while the bottle is upright. This causes the cork to dry out, leaving behind a musty and malodorous wine. A week or two is the longest you should store wine upright.
Fluctuating temperatures affect wine as much as vibrations do. Temperature affects the chemical processes happening in wine, including the ageing process. This is why wine refrigerators and cellars come with precise temperature controls. Keep in mind that red wine and white wine must be stored at different temperatures.
If you want to keep both, you’ll need a dual-zone wine refrigerator.
As mentioned before, the average room temperature is generally too warm for keeping wine, especially in the long term. No one likes warm wine. It’s dull and flat and can be too alcoholic or taste like vinegar.
You should always know what’s in your collection and where it is. While you could always document your collection, and that is helpful, there’s nothing better than having a clear display of all your bottles.
Lighting is one way to see what’s happening in your collection. The problem is that you need to be careful when choosing lighting. The average lightbulb gives off too much heat for wine to handle.
Sunlight is even worse for wine and can cause real damage. You should store your wine away from windows and other sources of natural light. LED lighting is the best option for storing wine. LED lights create a soft glow but don’t give off heat.
Storing wine doesn’t need to be difficult. A suitable wine fridge gets the job done. Keep your wine stored sideways out of direct sunlight, store it at the right temperature, and keep it somewhere convenient. Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for summer and you will be able to keep your wine in the best condition.