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Best Tips for Effectively Storing Wine for Long-Term Enjoyment

Best Tips for Effectively Storing Wine for Long-Term Enjoyment

 Storing your wine is both an art and a science to unlock the full potential of every bottle. Whether you aspire to elevate the complexity of your wine through the aging process or simply wish to preserve its vibrant character for immediate pleasure, understanding the nuances of proper wine storage is essential.

Let's dive deep into some of the most critical considerations when it comes to wine storage; from humidity, light and temperature to storing your wines even after the bottle has been opened.

Why wine storage is important

The conditions in which wine is stored can significantly impact the taste, aroma, longevity and overall quality. Wine storage is about creating the perfect environment to protect your wine from any factors that may compromise its quality; be it sunlight, temperature or orientation. When stored properly wines not only maintain their intended flavor profiles, but also mature to become more nuanced and enjoyable. When storing wine, it’s important to consider:

1. Temperature

The consensus amongst experts is that the ideal temperature for storing wine long-term is 55°F (13°C). This moderate temperature allows the wine to develop complexity without the risk of spoiling. However, as some of you may already know, red and white wines require different temperatures. For red the ideal temperature is 55°F to 60°F (13°C to 15°C), while white is 45°F to 55°F (7°C to 13°C). So, what happens if your wine is stored too warm or too cold?

If Reds are stored too cold:

- The Aromatics and flavors become muted. This means your reds could become less expressive when served as the cold can mask the subtleties.
- Slows down aging process. This means that your red could be prevented from developing the expected mature characteristics that come from the proper aging at a slightly higher temperature.

If whites are store too warm:
- Mature prematurely. This can lead to a loss in freshness and degradation of the fruity and floral notes of your white.
- Risk of oxidation. This leads to a loss in crispness and a dulling of the white wine’s vibrant qualities. There are several reasons why your wine could oxidize, one being that higher temperatures cause the cork to dry out, which in turn makes it less effective at keeping oxygen out of the bottle.

With that said, not all of us have the luxury of having two wine cellars or a wine fridge with two separate temperature controls. If you have a single zoned wine fridge to accommodate both red and white wines, you can aim to compromise temperature to store both at 50°F to 55°F (10°C to 13°C). And when you’re ready to serve you can chill the white or take out the red around 1hr before serving.


2. Store horizontally

Storing wine horizontally keeps the cork moist, which is crucial for maintaining the cork’s elasticity and preventing it from drying out. As mentioned above, a dry cork can shrink and possibly oxidize your wine. A moist cork continues to swell and maintains a tight seal, essential for long-term aging. For wines that age and develop sediment over time, horizontal storage can help facilitate an even distribution of sediment.

Horizontal storage is also very convenient for choosing a bottle to drink or space-efficiency, as you can maximize the storage space in your wine fridge or cellar.

3. Light

Protection from light is crucial in wine storage, especially UV (ultraviolet) light. UV rays can cause chemical reactions in wine that may degrade and prematurely age the wine. Even darker colored bottles can be penetrated by UV light and cause the organic compounds to deteriorate. Light exposure can also increase the temperature of the wine, which (as you read above) can spoil or speed up the aging process.

This is why wines are often stored in cellars or wine refrigerators that provide a dark, stable environment.

4. Humidity

Aim to store your wine in a space where the humidity is between 60-70%. Too much humidity can lead to mold, while not enough will cause your corks to dry out and wines to oxidate. Consider using a small humidifier or small container of water to help maintain the humidity.

If you don’t have a cellar or wine fridge in your home, you can still properly store your wine by ensuring it is kept in a stable environment, meaning no frequent vibrations (like near a washing machine, stereo, or even near heavy traffic) as constant movement can disturb the sediments in the wine. Also, wines can be affected by strong odors since cork is not completely airtight. So, be sure to avoid storing your wines near household cleaning supplies, paint or other chemicals.

Storing wine after opening

Once you've uncorked a bottle of wine, the clock starts ticking on how long it will remain fresh. Red wines typically last 3-6 days after opening, white wines and roses have approximately 2 days, and sparkling wines begin to lose their vigor after just a few short hours. However, with proper storage, you can prolong the enjoyment of your wine. If you have a Coravin Timeless (for example) you can enjoy your wine without even removing the cork. Coravin’s acclaimed Timeless device works by inserting a thin, hollow needle through the cork to extract wine, replacing the wine poured with inert argon gas to prevent oxidation. When the needle is withdrawn, the cork reseals itself, and the remaining wine continues to age naturally.

With Coravin, you can sample and serve your wine over weeks, months, or even years without compromising the integrity. Regardless of whether you wish to have a glass of still or sparkling, Coravin has the ideal device for you.