If you’ve recently started collecting wines, or you’ve bought a bottle or two for a special occasion, you might be wondering about one important thing: how to store wine at home.
If you store wine correctly, it could last for decades with its quality and value even improving over the years. However, store them the wrong way and the best of wines can go bad in just a few days.
So how do you store wine and what about open wine? Do you need to consume the whole bottle immediately, or after a few days? Or can you store them for longer?
This guide will give you the answers you’re looking for on how to store wine at home, the right way.
1. Store Wine in the Right Temperature
The number one thing you need to watch out for when storing wine at home is the temperature. Heat is the number 1 enemy of wine, and the hotter the storage is, the worse your wine will get. Hot temperatures will cook the wine, and if you have red wine, hot temperatures could turn it into vinegar.
The right temperature is key to storing wine and keeping it fresh. The best temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit or 13 degrees Celsius. But if you don’t have a wine fridge, you can store wine in any household fridge for at most 2 months. Temperatures between 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit are the most ideal. Any temperature over 70 degrees Fahrenheit is damaging to wine.
It’s also important to note that low temperatures can also be equally damaging to wine. While it’s okay to store wine in a regular fridge, wine must never be placed in a freezer where the liquid will turn into ice. Wine turning to ice can potentially push the cork out, exposing the liquid to other scents and aromas inside your fridge.
A dry environment can also dry out the cork, allowing air to seep inside, causing oxidation to occur.
2. Store Wine Away from Light
Direct sunlight can degrade and prematurely age wine. You must keep the wine away from any storage space with direct sunlight, as well as any form of light that emits UV rays. Light from fluorescent bulbs probably won’t degrade your wine but they can fade the label.
Have you noticed many wine bottles feature colored glass? This is because colored glass acts like sunglasses for wine, they help keep the wine from degrading when exposed to direct sunlight or UV rays.
3. Store Wine in a Humid Environment
While wine can be stored inside a fridge or wine cooler for 2 months, it’s not ideal to store them inside for the long term. This is because wine needs to be in a humid environment. Dry environments, as mentioned earlier, can dry out the cork and cause air to get inside the bottle, potentially damaging the flavors of the wine, with red wine even turning to vinegar when exposed to too much oxygen.
If you’re storing wine long-term, placing it in a humid environment is key to making it fresher for longer. The humidity percentage range of 50% to 80% is recommended with 70% humidity the most ideal environment for wine.
If you place wine in your dining room with no windows and full air conditioning all day, the environment may be too dry for your wine. You can use a humidifier to keep the air moist, or you can also place a pan of hot water in your storage area.
However, extremely damp environments can also promote mold. While this environment won’t affect uncorked wine, it can affect the label on the bottle.
4. Where to Store Wine
If it’s already been 2 months and you don’t have a wine fridge or a proper wine cellar, then you can store your bottles in certain areas of your home. Avoid the attic, the kitchen, the garage, on top of the fridge, and on the cabinet above your washing machine. These places are too hot for wine, and the environment can cause damage to the taste and freshness.
Remember the right temperature and humidity levels of wine when choosing the perfect place to store your bottles. A basement is an ideal pace, as well as a cupboard that’s not in your kitchen. Make sure the place is dark, it’s humid, and it’s not too cold nor too hot.
When storing uncorked wine, store the bottles horizontally so the cork is moist. Dry cork, as mentioned, can cause air to seep through the bottle and cause oxidation and damage your wine.
5. Avoid Vibration
Avoid places where the wine will be exposed to any form of vibration. Make sure your wine is nowhere near a dryer, washer, or stereo system. This is because shaking can disturb the sediments in the bottle. This disrupts the delicate process responsible for wine to age favorably.
What About Open Wine?
The tips mentioned above are for wine that hasn’t been opened yet. But what about open wine? Here are some tips:
- Any open wine can stay fresh in a fridge for 3 to 5 days. After which, you would need to store it in a fridge, your wine cellar, or your wine storage space.
- When storing open red wine, do not store it horizontally, as you would unopened wine. This is because the wine bottle is already opened, and oxygen can get inside. Storing wine horizontally expands the surface area for which oxygen can seep inside the bottle. They must be stored vertically to minimize this surface area to reduce oxidation.
- The key to wine staying fresh after opening is to re-cork it. Cork your bottle as tight as you can, or better yet, you can purchase a wine vacuum pump that can help you create a nearly airtight seal.
- If you’re serious about collecting wines but don’t want to invest in constructing a wine cellar, the next best thing is buying a wine fridge or cooler. These appliances feature proper humidity as well as keep a steady temperature between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit specifically creating the perfect environment for wine to stay fresh, even for long-term storage.
Knowing how to store wine is key to making sure it stays fresh and ages correctly. Make sure you care for your wine bottle so you can experience the full flavors and aromas that bring pleasure to your wine-drinking and collecting journey