Knowing the ins and outs of wine storage will not only help your wine to last longer, but also to mature in a way that will render it even more delicious than when it was first bottled. But it’s not always as simple as just popping it away in the cupboard. When stored correctly, wine can last for years - even decades - and will mature in both taste and value, whilst storing it incorrectly can spoil even the finest of wines. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips and tricks so that you can make the most of your drop.
The most important thing when it comes to correct wine storage is the temperature in which you store it. Generally, the ideal temperature to preserve wine is around 13 degrees Celsius and regardless of the variety, it should never be kept below 4 degrees (which may cause it to freeze) or above 20 degrees (which may accelerate the ageing process and cause it to spoil). You should aim to keep the wine storage temperature as stable as possible to prevent the cork expanding and contracting, which would enable wine to creep out or air to seep in around it.
2. Store Horizontally
When storing, lie your wines down horizontally, although only worry about this if your bottle has a cork. If it has a screw lid it won’t matter. Storing wine horizontally has traditionally been the standard way of keeping it so that the cork stays moist. If the cork dries out, this can cause seeping and early-onset ageing (yes, something that even wines have to worry about).
3. Eliminate Sunlight
Another fundamental thing to keep in mind is light. Light (particularly sunlight) will cause problems for long-term wine storage, with the UV rays penetrating the bottle and causing the wine to degrade and ruin the flavours and aromas. Artificial light is fine, but your optimal situation would be storing your wine in a dark place.
4. Avoid any Shaking or Vibrations
Be mindful to keep your wine still and avoid any shaking or vibration. Significant vibrations and excess movement may disturb the wine’s fine sediments that render flavour over time. This could cause your long-awaited glass to come out with an unpleasant gritty texture as they weren’t able to settle properly. If possible, try to store your wine away from any sources of vibration such as the washer, dryer or speaker system. However, don’t fret too much, as long as you’re not shaking your wine all over the place or using it to juggle, those precious sediments should be safe.
Other Handy tips:
- Typically, white wines are made to be consumed within two to three years, so will be at their prime and best opened close to their vintage.
- Humidity also plays a factor in optimal wine storage. Generally, a significantly more humid storage space will help wine to last longer than a dry storage space, which could cause the cork to dehydrate.
- If you’re looking to safely store and age multiple fine wines, it would be beneficial to invest in a wine-cooler to maintain a consistent temperature and area. The sky's the limit when it comes to these devices! The more expensive units have multiple temperature zones that can be useful for storing different types of wines, but there are products available on the market starting from a few hundred dollars.
So, there you have it wine-lovers, the best tips’n’tricks in the business for making the most out of your wine. Go ahead, treat yourself and buy that special vintage. By following these simple steps, your wine is guaranteed to not only stand the test of time but to develop and mature over the years, rendering it ‘to die for’ in the years to come.