Do you store wine at home?
Wine is stored to improve the flavour, allow the tannins to develop, and create a smooth, rich drink. If you’ve ever stored a special bottle for years, but found the wine to be undrinkable when you finally opened it, these tips will come in handy.
On better wine sites like https://8wines.com, you’ll find a guide for each wine on how much time the wine can be cellared. The amount of time that a wine can be safely stored depends on various factors; this post will cover the best practices to keep your wine in peak condition.
How to store wine at home
One of the most significant factors that influences the condition of stored wine is temperature. It’s important to understand that it’s not only the temperature that is critical, but also the changes in temperature that the wine will experience.
The oft-quoted rule that room temperature is ideal for red wine only applies if your room temperature is between sixty and sixty-eight degrees. However, most people would find that a little chilly for their home. Popping red wine in the fridge for a while before opening may enhance your enjoyment.
Consider a wine like the iconic Catena Zapata Argentino Malbec 2019, which will happily lie waiting for you to enjoy for the next sixteen years. The hand-picked grapes from estates almost three thousand feet above sea level in the Andes mountains mature in barrels for two years before bottling. So, what do you need to do to ensure the quality of the wine?
The first thing is temperature. Try to keep the wine at a temperature below seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above that temperature is going to reduce its longevity. Large and sudden swings in temperature do the wine no good, so storing it in areas where the temperature changes a great deal should be avoided.
It’s not pure science, though. If the wine is stored in temperatures a little over seventy degrees, you will simply have to drink it before the sixteen years have passed – which is hardly a hardship!
For some wines, cold maceration is part of the process of producing elegant and delicate styles, particularly Rosé. Try, for example, the soft sophistication of Chateau Saint-Maur L’Excellence Rose 2021, where the color and aroma of the skins are extracted during the cold maceration process.
Don’t be tempted to let your wine sit in the fridge for too long, and don’t store your wine there for longer than a month or two. Doing this will detract from the flavour.
Temperatures below forty-five degrees are detrimental to wine, and rapid cooling such as putting the bottle in the freezer is never a good idea. In cold climates, be careful storing wine in unheated areas during winter. Expansion caused by the wine freezing may push the cork out.
Bear in mind also that light is not good for wine. Wine cellars are dark places, and subdued lighting keeps the wine in good condition in the bottle. This is why most wines are bottled in coloured glass, which acts as a filter to keep out ultraviolet rays. Keeping your wine out of direct sunlight will help to keep the temperature down, and also prevent ultraviolet rays from degrading the wine.
Georgia’s ancient wine methods ensured their wine was well protected from sunlight. For example, the large earthenware pots called Qvevri were stored below ground to minimise temperature fluctuations and damage from sunlight. The Georgian Saperavi Premium Tasting Case is an excellent opportunity to sample wines from this ancient winemaking area.
The influence of humidity on wine has been dramatically reduced with the introduction of screw-top bottles. Nevertheless, many wines are still sealed with cork, and they need to be stored correctly to avoid the dangers that humidity can cause.
Too much humidity may cause mould to grow on the cork, while an atmosphere that is too dry will cause the cork to shrink and allow air to gain access to the wine or for the wine to leak out. Both scenarios are catastrophic for the wine.
The safe humidity range is between fifty to eighty percent.
Traditionally wines have been stored lying down. We’re all familiar with the image of a dusty cellar with ageing bottles lying side by side, but the modern reality is retail outlets where wine bottles are stored standing up.
There is no reason to store screwcap bottles lying down, but bottles with corks should be laid down to keep the cork wet.
Store wines away from equipment that vibrates, but more importantly, handle your wine bottles carefully. Shaking up a bottle of wine will not win you any wine-drinking friends.
The best place to store wine at home
If you don’t have a wine cooler or cellar, try storing your wine in a cupboard where it can lie more or less undisturbed, and preferably in the dark. A little air circulation will help keep mould away too.
If you want to store a special bottle of wine at home, following these simple tips will help to ensure your wine ages well and makes a special occasion more memorable.
Do you have any tips on how to store wine at home?