Have you just started to collect wine? Or, are you a wine connoisseur? Either way, you might be wondering if you are taking the proper precautions when you store wine to drink later. Wine storage ideas go back centuries, but we know more about the science behind why these ideas work.
If the temperature is too hot or the environment too damp or too dry, you might end up having a problem. That prized bottle you were keeping for a special occasion could end up being nothing more than a pricy batch of vinegar if you’re not careful.
Proper wine storage is a must, but most of us don’t have sophisticated equipment or an old-fashioned wine cellar to help us maintain our collection. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you store wine properly.
Identifying the Best Place for Wine Bottle Storage
The first step is to identify your available storage spaces. Since wine is best stored on its side, that will be your first consideration when choosing a space. Beyond that you want a space that’s away from the road and heavy traffic, since vibrations can disturb the sediment in wine. And finally, choose a place where you can control the climate. Wine doesn’t do well in extreme temperatures.
It’s important to note that bottled wine can absorb odors from its environment through the cork. That’s a good enough reason to locate your wine storage away from the kitchen. You also don’t want to pick a moldy or musty space. Furthermore, if buying shelves for wine storage, buy a finish that’s specifically designed for use in wine cellars.
The typical places in a small home include dedicated kitchen cabinets or a closet. A larger home will have more options, including perhaps a basement or cellar. Of course, you can also use furniture with built-in storage or free-standing storage on a credenza or buffet table.
Consider the Ideal Wine Storage Temperature When Choosing Your Space
Now let’s talk about the right climate for storing wine. Wine does best in a climate that is fairly cool, and also reasonably humid. Here are the specifics.
The ideal temperature for wine storage is between 55 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is warm enough to allow wine to age properly, but not so warm that it damages the flavor of the wine.
The room where you store your wine should be maintained between 50% and 80% humidity. Less humidity may result in corks that dry out, and more can cause the corks to rot. Depending on the climate you live in, you may need to use humidifiers or dehumidifiers to maintain the proper humidity.
Even if you live in a temperate climate, it’s not a good idea to assume that your wine will withstand damage. Install air conditioning or heating as needed to ensure that your wine collection stays in good condition.
Create an Organizational System for Your Wine Storage
It’s also a good idea to make tags for the necks of your wine bottles. Once you have the wine in place, you don’t want to disturb it. Lifting a bottle to look at a label disturbs the sediment on the bottom of the bottle.
As you put away your wine, create a system to keep track of it. You may want to use a spreadsheet to list which bottles you have, their vintage, and when you bought them. That will help you keep tabs on them and decide when it’s time to uncork them.
Have Fun and Enjoy
The final step is to enjoy the wine that you have collected. If you’re just starting out, you might need to experiment a bit to determine how long a particular wine should be aged. Getting more than one bottle can help you evaluate the wine (and your storage conditions) and make adjustments as necessary.