How to Store Wine: the 6 Basics you Need to Know
The world is better with more wine. And, you can’t have more wine without knowing how to store it properly!
This goes whether you plan to drink your bottle tomorrow or in ten years. There are how to store wine basics you should know that ensure your wine stays safe and delicious. Plus, these basics don’t require buying a fancy wine fridge, although there’s no harm in having one!
How to Store Wine is Easy with these 6 Wine Storage Basics!
Understand your Wine
Before deciding how to store your wine, you need to understand your wine. The first question you have to ask yourself is: when do I plan on drinking this bottle of wine?
Some wines are age-worthy, some are not. And, then there are the bottles that we just don’t care and simply want to drink, stat.
If the answer is I’m drinking this ASAP (within the week,) then you don’t have to stress too much about storage. Of course, you should adhere to all the basics. But, you don’t need to stress about having the exact temperature for your wine. A bottle of wine, whether red, white or rosé wine, can survive for a few days unopened in the fridge or counter (away from sunlight.)
On the other hand, if you have a bottle of wine that you’re going to hold on to, then you should definitely avoid leaving your bottle for extended periods on the kitchen counter. Instead, you need to follow the following wine storage basics very carefully.
Always Keep it Cool
Wine survives best in cool places. It doesn’t matter if it’s red or white – no bottle should rest in an overly dry or warm environment.
The general rule is that wine should be stored anywhere between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with 55 degrees being the ‘sweet spot.’ If you’re working with white wines, you can afford to be on the cooler end of this range. With red wines, it’s ok to be on the warmer end.
Above all, it’s very crucial that your wine stays away from temperatures higher than 70 degrees. Wines exposed to warm temperatures age more rapidly, which results in the loss of their mighty aromas.
You may be thinking – how do I monitor the temperature or humidity in my fridge? Before you go there, you must know that leaving your wine in the fridge may not be the best idea. Your fridge may be cold, but it is also very dry. This can cause a wine bottle’s cork to dry out. A dry cork means oxygen seeping into your wine, spoiling it all together.
Dealing with a screw cap bottle? Sorry, you’re not excluded from this how to store wine basic.
Why? Well, refrigerators are typically kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent food from spoiling. This low temperature is not friendly to any bottle you plan to age, even if it doesn’t have a cork. Cold temperatures slow the aging process. Plus, if you place your wine bottle in the back of your fridge, your wine could be at risk of getting too cold and freezing.
But, if you plan on drinking the bottle within a month or so’s time, the fridge is your friend!
Wines Need Balance
Just like humans, wines do not do love bouncing between temperatures. We aren’t talking a few degrees difference – that’s something we and our wines can manage. We’re more referring to large temperature swings that can actually alter the quality of the wine.
Time to go back to science class. Do you remember how liquids react to temperature? When liquid experiences warmer temperatures, it expands. So, when a wine faces a sudden warmer environment, the wine reacts and grows. This can push the cork out or cause the wine to seep past the cork.
The same can happen with extremely cold temperatures. The water content of the wine can actually freeze. As we know, ice is hard and needs space. This all puts immense pressure on the cork or even the bottle, which can result in breakage.
Don’t Let your Wine Stand Up Too Long
Although arranging your wine bottles upright might make a pretty decoration, it can only hurt your wine in the long run. It’s best to keep your wine laying on its side. This allows for the wine to keep the cork moist. As we mentioned before, a dry cork lets more oxygen into the bottle, spoiling the wine. Not good.
The Sun is Not your Wine’s Friend
Wines are nocturnal. They don’t do well in the sunlight, and that’s for a specific reason.
Sunlight (and even fluorescent lights) can easily degrade a wine’s flavor and aromas. Now, this isn’t something that happens from letting a bottle sit outside during a nice lunch. It’s more like leaving your bottles outside or in an area at home that has a ton of light.
So, when searching for a place to store your wine, make sure it is a dim or dark area. The only light source that isn’t too detrimental to wine are LEDs, but, still, you shouldn’t leave any light shining on your bottles for an extended period of time.
Fun fact: Have you ever noticed that wines bottles are tinted or colored? These bottles act as ‘sunglasses’ for the wine so that they don’t suffer from the sun or other light sources!
If you Can, Monitor Humidity
Wines need humidity. It helps keep the corks moist, preventing wine oxidization.
For wine, the sweet spot is 70 percent humidity. However, you have some wiggle room if you aren’t storing wines for 10 plus years. Keeping wines within a range of 50 to 80 percent humidity works just fine. If you’re afraid an area is too dry, use a humidifier or keep a bowl of water nearby your wines. Just remember to set a reminder to refill that bowl.
Just as with anything, too much isn’t good either. Wine shouldn’t be kept in a super damp environment (like an old musty basement.) More than 80 percent humidity can put your wine at risk of mold.
You can easily purchase humidity monitors (or hygrometers) online or at your local hardware store.
Where to Store Wine (Besides a Wine Fridge)
Storing wine in your house can be done successfully without a wine fridge. There are plenty of places that offer cool and properly humid environments.
A cupboard, closet, or basement (as long as it isn’t too damp) are great places for wine storage. To make sure your wines are stored in the right environment, you can always set up a humidity monitor that will provide you with the temperature or relative humidity.
If you do have lots of bottles that you plan to age, then we do suggest investing in a wine fridge. It is the best way to guarantee these wines reach their prime (unless you plan on purchasing a house in France with a wine cellar sometimes soon…)
Knowing how to store wine doesn’t require being a wine professional. With these wine basics, you will be able to keep and age wines safely, for years to come.
Got any wine questions? Never hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you!