One of the less glamorous wine topics, but oh so important, is that of wine storage. Purchasing wine is an investment, so you want to protect that investment. When I was new to wine and started purchasing bottles to take home I didn’t have anywhere to put them. I instinctively knew that they should be in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight, so I kept them in the pantry. It turns out that my underground storage unit would be a better choice. You don’t need a fancy wine fridge to store your wine, but here are a few tips for proper storage:
- A dark place like a basement or closet is the best place to store your wines. Wines exposed to sunlight will cause your wine to spoil.
- Always lay your bottles on their sides. This prevents the cork from drying out. You don’t want oxygen to seep in. I learned from a winemaker that contrary to popular opinion, you do not need to rotate your bottles every so often. This process is called “riddling” and is done with Champagne to remove the sediment from the bottle. You don’t need to do this with other wines, however. It’s better to allow the sediment to collect on just one side of the bottle, making it easier to separate the wine from the sediment. I store my wine with the labels up so I can see what they are.
- Temperature is VERY important. You don’t want a room that is too hot or too cold. If wine is exposed to extreme temperatures it won’t last as long and can even spoil. So even though you never use that front room of your house and it seems like a great place to store wine, it is not because it just gets too hot in there and has way too much sunlight. Humidity is bad for wine too because it can cause the cork to swell. Then when the temperature falls the corks will retract and could leak. If wine can get out, oxygen can get in and will spoil the wine.
- As I stated before, wines like to be still, so an area with a lot of vibration and constant motion is not a good choice. So you might not want to store it under the stairs or sink.
What about short-term storage? Let’s say you open up a bottle of wine but do not have enough people over to finish it. You can put the cork back in it, but that won’t keep the oxygen from getting in and spoiling your wine quickly. You will want to purchase a vacuum stopper for those occasions. They work great and cost just $13 from Amazon. (See link below) You literally pump the air out of your wine. A bottle of wine will last up to two weeks with this method.
Let’s say you’re like me and you start joining wine clubs and accumulating quite a bit of wine. This is the time to invest in a wine fridge. I started out with a cheap 12-bottle fridge. The shelves did not move easily and drove me nuts so I gave that one to my daughter & son-in-law and bought a little nicer 60-bottle fridge. Eventually my husband and I gave each other a nice 300-bottle wine fridge for our anniversary a couple of years ago. The shelves have gliders that move easily without getting stuck. The ideal temperature for proper storage is between 55 and 59 degrees. This ensures that your investment will be protected in the best way possible. It also allows you to age some of those more expensive bottles until they hit their sweet spot.
So that’s the low-down on wine storage. Hit me up if you have questions. Now go enjoy a glass of perfectly stored wine. Cheers!