How to Store Wine Properly

Guest Post | January 8, 2022

how to store wine properly

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If you love wine, you want it to be at its best when you drink it.  You may want to collect good wine and be ready when you are in the mood for it.  Knowing how to store it properly is essential to maintaining your wines.

The good news is that, unless you are buying some historical vintage, you won’t be storing the wine for generations. Why? Most wines today are meant to be enjoyed within a few years of the day they were bottled.

Temperature Control

While it isn’t always possible to control the temperature of your wines, it is worth giving it a try.  Wines are best if stored at moderate temperatures.  That’s how the whole idea of the wine cellar became important. It kept the wine at a fairly constant temperature that was neither too cold nor too hot.

In your home, temperature control may come down to a few simple tips.  You don’t want it in a closet with an exterior wall or a cabinet by the stove.  With that in mind, the logical place is an interior closet where the wine can be left undisturbed until it is needed.  If you have a wine cabinet, you don’t want to position it against an exterior wall, over a heating vent, or by the fireplace. The wine should not be exposed where sunlight from your windows will find it every day. 

Refrigeration

While you can buy a designated wine refrigerator, it is not necessary.  Red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, do not need refrigeration. Instead, most are recommended to be chilled briefly before serving, allowing the liquid temperature to drop to 60 or 65 degrees. Chardonnay, Riesling, and other white wines need to be chilled before they are served, but that does not mean they have to be stored in a refrigerator. After the bottle has been opened, red wines can remain on the counter while white wines go in the refrigerator.

Bottle Position

The position of the bottle, laying on its side or kept upright, has become a source of debate. This is due to the changes in wine as science has sped up the process.  Wines are less likely to be kept for decades.  The first reason for storing them sideways was to keep the cork wet, which is not necessary when the cork is artificial.  The second reason was to prevent the contents from separating and settling. This is far less likely when wines are expected to be used within a few years of their bottling.

Stability

Rather than worrying about keeping the bottles on their side, stability should be considered.  You don’t want your wine bottles where running kids are shaking the floor and jostling your wine collection. Likewise, you don’t want to leave your best Cabernet Sauvignon on top of the refrigerator where it may be jarred every time the door closes.

Aeration

If you want your wine to taste its best, you should focus on how to serve it.  This means buying an aerator.   The reason aeration works is the same reason that you don’t want sunlight on your wine bottles.  In that case, the sun will speed up the wine’s chemical processes and result in ruining the wine.  On the other hand, this simple device is applied to the wine at just the right moment.  It accelerates how much oxygen reaches the wine as you pour it.  That oxidation triggers the chemical process in the wine that brings forth its best flavours and aromas.  

As you build your wine collection, remember to keep it away from sources of heat and sunlight and focus on maintaining it at a moderate temperature.  Your wines should keep until you are ready to enjoy them.

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