Whether you're a casual sipper or a wine connoisseur, learning how to store wine is knowledge worth having. Properly storing wine prolongs not only the life of your wine but also it's delicious flavors.
So, Where Do You Keep Your Wine?
Turns out, choosing your wine is only part of the wine drinking process. Aside from drinking it immediately like most of us do, preserving wine is a whole different part of the process. If you preserve your wine correctly in the ideal conditions, you can hang onto it for decades or even centuries, allowing it to increase in value and quality. However, poor storage can spoil even the most expensive and most incredible wines in the world.
But, let's take a step back here and acknowledge that some wines are just simply not meant to be cellared or aged. For example, if you've purchased wine for under twenty dollars, chances are storing it correctly for a few years so that it can go through the aging process won't make it taste better or worth more money. Instead, it'll likely just spoil. So you're better off just enjoying those bottles in the short-term.
In contrast, fine wine can last several years and gets better with age. Sometimes, these wines are costly; we're talking around $200,000! If you have these kinds of wines in your wine collection, you need to be appropriately storing your wine and then call us when you decide to pop it open!
If you happen to have some fine wines in your arsenal, you must have a wine storage space that is consistently cool, dark, and, we hate to say it, moist. That's where a wine cellar comes in, for people who are lucky enough to have one. The three most important factors that have the most significant impact on a wine's condition are light, humidity, and temperature. If you do not have this dedicated space, consider buying yourself a wine cooler or wine refrigerator. Unlike a regular refrigerator that keeps your food cool and dry, a wine fridge is set to a proper humidity and between fifty to sixty degrees Fahrenheit.
Why is humidity control important when it comes to long term storage? Apparently, weather and humidity extremes can impact your wine's longevity. Lower humidity levels can cause your corks to dry out and leave your wine vulnerable to being exposed to oxygen. On the other hand, higher humidity may cause labels to peel and get yucky, making it difficult to display or sell your wine.
A bonus of having a designated wine fridge is that it prevents cross-contamination from foods and drinks that may also be in your refrigerator. Remember: wine can be an investment, and if you're willing to invest in wine, you should invest in the entire process as well as a way to protect your investment.
Different kinds of wine require different storage temperatures. For example, red wine is typically chilled lower than room temperature, around fifty-eight and sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit. As a rule of thumb, your wine's ideal temperature is determined by the wine's age; older wines do better at a slightly warmer climate, while young wines are better at slightly colder temperatures.
Another factor to consider is the tannins in your red wine. It is recommended that red wines with stronger tannins be kept slightly warmer while lighter red wines can go to colder temperatures. Of course, white wines are their own ball game. In general, they should be served and stored at cold temperatures, but they mustn't be held at too cold of temperatures because that may affect their delicious aromas. In general, experts recommend that white wine be chilled between forty-five and fifty-five degrees. If you have a bottle of white sparkling wine, such as champagne, you can store your wine at an even colder temperature, around thirty-eight to forty-five degrees.
One other thing to note, like all food and beverages, wines are best preserved when you maintain a consistent temperature and air quality. Avoid fluctuating temperatures and crazy changes to the air because the more stable the environment, the better your wine will last!
Stay Out Of The Sun
Regardless of how long you plan on storing your wine, it is crucial to keep your wine out of the sun and in darkness as much as humanly possible. Direct sunlight's UV rays are known for damaging a wine's flavor and aroma. More specifically, direct sunlight adversely reacts with phenolic compounds in wine and creates "wine faults." Light-bodied white wines are at greater risk from light exposure, which is why you may notice that white wines are often packaged in tinted wine bottles. The tint is purposefully created to provide the wine some protection. On that same note, it is crucial to notice what color bottle your wine is packaged. Those that are clear or a light green-blue color are the most susceptible to light.
Keep Those Bottles On Their Sides
Bottles of wine are best stored on their side, especially if your wine has a cork. Keeping your wine horizontally helps to keep the cork moist, and as we discussed earlier, a dried-out cork is no good! It can allow the wine to be exposed to premature aging and seepage! Yuck!
For screw-top wines, it is not as vital to keep your wine on their sides. However, horizontal storage is an efficient way to store wine regardless of its ability to maximize space and is easy to access.
How Long Can You Store Wine?
If you have an opened bottle of wine, it can last between three to five days. If you are trying to extend the shelf life of opened wine and retain its original qualities, you should cork the wine as quickly as possible and make sure it is tight. An expert tip for keeping wine suitable for longer is to place wax paper around the cork and slide it back into the original position. The wax allows the cork to easily slide into the wine while ensuring that bits and cork pieces do not contaminate the wine. However, if recorking isn't an option, a rubber wine stopper typically is tight enough to create a reliable seal. Of course, if you're fancy, you can upgrade your recorking by purchasing a wine vacuum pump. Essentially, the nifty little tool allows you to suck all of the wine bottle's air out and create an almost airtight seal.
Avoid Vibration—Wait, What?
Near a washing machine or on top of a refrigerator is not a great place to store wine. Any home appliance that may be a source of vibration is a big no-no for wine storage. Vibrations disturb sediments in your wine bottle and can, therefore, disrupt the delicate process that causes a wine to age favorably.
Keep Those Precious Bottles (Or Cans!) Safe
All in all, if you're investing in fine wines, knowing how to preserve your wine is super important. The main takeaway is that wine drinkers should store their wine in a dark, dry place to maintain its great taste. And if you can't keep your bottle entirely out of light, get creative! Wrap them in cloth or put them in a cabinet or box that will protect them from the sun!
However, if you're anything like us, your wine is likely consumed too quickly to consider storage! When in doubt, grab Bev because, in single-serving cans, you only need to worry about recycling when you've finished!