If you’re a wine connoisseur, one of the important things you need to master is properly storing your wine to prolong its shelf life. Most people buy it and consume it later, so knowing storage tips to protect wine bottles is essential to not waste it. The different ways to store properly may seem an easy task, but it requires great precision.
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Wine Storing 101
There’s a notion about having a wine cellar cooling unit at home only for those who collect. Even though you only have a couple of bottles, it’s still crucial to have proper storage for them. It’s not necessary to have a fancy cellar. All you have to ensure is an ideal environment for your wine bottles to stay in before consuming them.
To make sure the wine’s quality isn’t sacrificed during storage, follow these wine storing tips:
1. Make Sure Temperature Is Consistent
One of the factors in storing wine is temperature. Since wine is made from fermented grape juice, it can spoil easily if it’s kept in an undesirable condition. The ideal temperature to ensure your wine’s quality will be consistent even for a long period is between 10˚C-18˚C (50°F-64.4°F).
If you achieved the optimum temperature, avoid taking the bottles out frequently due to fluctuations. It’s important to invest in a wine cellar, so it’s easier to control the temperature at all times. Wine cellars can be custom-made or you can purchase ready-made wine storage from Wine Cellar HQ and other reputable shops.
Storing your wine at a higher temperature will make aging faster, altering its chemical structures. When there’s a change in its physical compound, it may affect its overall taste and aroma. On the other hand, storing it a little bit lower than its ideal temperature won’t affect its quality significantly, but when the temperature drops around 15°F-20°F, the liquid may freeze and the bottle may expand, causing it to break.
2. Check Humidity Level
If you let the wine age for years, it’s important to make sure the environment where you’ll keep it has the right moisture level. Aside from the bottle, the cork also ensures the wine’s quality is maintained. The humidity level makes or breaks the cork’s integrity since if the air is too dry, there’s a tendency it’ll shrink and break due to dryness, allowing air and moisture to come in contact with the wine.
On the other hand, too much humidity encourages the growth of molds and mildews, causing damage to the cellar. Keep the humidity level ranging between 50%-80%. The temperature usually influences humidity, so to easily control both of these, use wine storage with a cellar cooling unit.
3. Ensure Ideal Amount Of Light Exposure
Have you ever wondered why wines are packaged in a colored glass bottle? The answer is to lessen its exposure to light. If the bottle is clear, three hours of sun exposure may already alter the wine’s quality. Meanwhile, it may take 18 hours of sunlight exposure for the wine stored in a green or colored bottle to have a fault. If you don’t have a wine cellar or a designated room to keep your wine, store it in a cool, dark place or you may keep it inside a box.
Sunlight exposure isn’t the only possible reason for wine degradation, but your lighting fixtures at home may also be a factor affecting the quality of the wine. With this, it’d help to use low-voltage lighting in your room storage to avoid premature wine aging.
4. Follow Correct Storing Position
The wine’s storing position should be the first thing to consider. Even though you have optimum storing conditions, if the way you position your wine is incorrect, its quality will still be at stake. When you buy a wine at the store, you must have probably seen it in an upright state. However, according to experts, the positioning of wine for long-term storage is through its sides.
If you store it in an upright position for a long time, the cork will lose contact with the wine, which would make it dry and brittle, allowing the air to seep in and eventually spoiling the wine. Storing wine on the sides will allow the cork to expand, providing more security and preventing spillage. Before buying from a liquor store, it’s essential to check how they store their wine bottles to ensure you’re paying for a quality one.
5. Always Check Expiration Date
Connoisseurs say the taste of wine improves as it ages. It may be true to some, but not all kinds of wine are meant to be prolonged. Most wines, especially the inexpensive ones, only have 2-5 years of shelf life. If you see the bottle labeled as a ‘table wine’ or when you see the used cork is synthetic or a screw top, it meant the wine must be consumed quickly.
The types of wines—red wine, white wine, cooking wine, and fine wine—have varying expiration dates. The white wine usually has 1-2 years of expiration. The red wine has 2-3 years of shelf life, cooking wines have 3-5 years of span, and the fine wines usually have up to 20 years of lifespan if it’s stored in a cellar properly.
6. Keep It Away From Vibrations
Another factor for wine spoilage is vibration. When your wine bottles vibrate, it may disrupt the aging process. Also, the sediments in the wine may have a chemical reaction decreasing the sulfite and tartaric acids responsible for the flavor of the wine, making it tasteless.
In designating your wine storage, make sure to place it in an area away from home appliances causing vibration such as refrigerator, microwave, radio, television, stereo systems, and washing machine, among others.
No matter how many bottles of wine you have, it’s important to know how to store them properly not just for aesthetic purposes, but it ensures you’ll have a quality one. In storing, make sure the conditions are optimal by observing ideal temperature and humidity level, lessening light exposure, following correct storage position, checking the expiry date, and situating your wine cellar away from vibrations.