Whether you’re starting a wine collection or have only purchased one bottle, you’ll want to make the most of the wine and maintain all its qualities. It doesn’t stop at just choosing the right wine for you to add to your lineup.
A properly preserved bottle of wine can last a lot longer than one that is stored without thought. It’s not just about prolonging shelf life; it’s also about improving the quality of the wine.
After all, what’s the use of owning expensive bottles if they aren’t stored well? Here are some tips for how to properly store your wine, in order to retain all the elements that make it special.
1. Store horizontally
Some wine bottles come with corks, while others come with screw caps. Storing horizontally is especially important for bottles with corks.
It’s crucial to store your bottles horizontally in order to keep the cork moist. If the cork dries up, it can create unpleasant smells that will end up being sealed in the bottle and released once the bottle is opened. A dry cork can also cause the wine to age before its time.
If you have more than one bottle, a wine rack is recommended for storage.
2. Store in proper temperature and humidity
The greatest thing to impact wine quality is temperature. So what temperature should wine be stored at? The ideal temperature conditions for storing wine is around 13 degrees Celsius. This works for storing wine both long-term and short-term.
Some wines will require specific storage temperature, so it’s also good practice to make sure of this when purchasing the bottle. As a rule of thumb, don’t store it anywhere below -4 degrees Celsius, as it will freeze the wine.
The most important thing is to keep the surroundings at a constant, stable temperature. Too many shifts in temperature can ruin the cork, causing air to seep into the bottle, oxygenating the wine and releasing the aromas before its time.
If you have a wine cellar, ensure humidity levels remain between 60% to 68%. Any higher or lower can affect not only the corks but also the labels on the bottle.
3. Avoid sunlight and vibrations
Another thing that can ruin alcoholic drinks is UV rays from the sun. It’s important to protect wine bottles from direct sunlight. This is the main reason why wine cellars are usually dark. Keeping wine away from light keeps the quality intact.
Movement and vibrations can also affect wine. Wine bottles contain sediments which can move around at the slightest vibration and disturb the aging process.
4. Store in a wine fridge
Not all homes have the facilities for a wine cellar, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to still store wine properly.
Because of the specific temperature and humidity requirements, you may be thinking that it’d be best to store your bottles in the fridge. However, a regular fridge can only keep the bottle cold.
Regular fridges have no humidity, as they are designed to keep food dry and cold. Wine fridges on the other hand are designed specifically to keep wine at the correct temperature and humidity. This would be between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.
Keeping wine separately in its own fridge will also protect it from picking up odors from food items stored in a regular fridge.
5. Be extra careful with opened wine bottles
Wine may have an infinite shelf life, but once the bottle is opened it can only last 3 to 5 days. When storing an open bottle, it’s important to maintain as much of its original qualities as possible.
After opening a new bottle, quickly re-cork it tightly. There are several ways to do this:
6. Slide the cork back in
It’s important to be gentle as you slide the cork in. You don’t want to destroy the cork and have flakes drop into the remaining wine.
A good way to do this is with the assistance of wax paper, as it helps the cork slide easier into its original position.
7. Use rubber wine stoppers
Purchase some rubber wine stoppers to replace the original cork. These can come in handy if the cork was ruined when opening.
Rubber wine stoppers create a tight seal to ensure no further oxygenation or aeration of the wine.
8. Use a wine vacuum pump
As extra measures, you can use a wine vacuum to suck out the air in the bottle before replacing your cork or rubber wine stopper.
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