Wine is complicated. When stored under the proper conditions, it will indefinitely maintain the desired flavor, texture, and quality. When it is exposed to humidity and temperature variations, the chemical makeup can modify and spoil what was once an exquisite and very expensive bottle of wine.
How do you store your wine collection? If you have a wine cellar, you’re storing under optimal conditions. Another traditional choice is a cave, but most of us don’t have that option. Without one of these two alternatives, the best place to store valuable wine collections is a climate-controlled space.
Here are some suggestions for storing that will help you to maintain the quality of your fine wines.
- Store in a dark, quiet environment. Too much ultraviolet light from the sun, or even fluorescent bulbs, can affect the quality of wine, and too much movement or vibration can cause a gritty texture from disturbed sediment. Wine should be stored away from any direct sunlight in an environment with minimal vibration and/or foot traffic.
- Store in a “wine refrigerator,” not a conventional refrigerator. Keeping wine in a conventional refrigerator for extended periods can alter the wine’s quality because it is too cold. If you want refrigeration, a specialized wine refrigerator is your best option. Never, ever store wine on top of a refrigerator because vibrations and residual heat will alter the wine’s quality.
- Store bottles horizontally. Always store wine on its side, preferably in a wine rack. If wine is stored in an upright position for a lengthy period, the cork will dry out because it is not in contact with the wine. The dry cork will rot and give your wine a musty odor.
- Store wine in a climate-controlled storage unit. Wine does best at a consistent temperature of 55° F and a humidity range of 50 to 80 percent. Temperatures greater than 70° F will cause wine to age too quickly, “cooking” the wine and causing a flat aroma. Fluctuating temperatures and temperatures that are too chilly can cause seepage or eventually push the cork out completely. And, if conditions are damp, wine labels can be ruined.
When searching for a place to store your wine, look for a reputable, secure, climate-controlled facility with the appropriate sized space for the quantity of bottles you’re storing. You can line the sides of the unit with wine racks, making it more convenient to locate the bottle that you need.
Storing wine is a bit complicated, but it’s more than worth the effort. Be sure that your fine wines are stored under the proper conditions so that they don’t deteriorate, and you’ll be able to enjoy them for years and celebrations to come!