Wine Storage: Do’s and Don’ts [According to the Experts]

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Wine storage seems to be a topic that many wine drinkers know little about or its reasoning. The truth is that storing your wine properly will not only help you preserve its flavor and aroma but can also help extend its lifespan. Good wine can last for many years past the purchase date when stored correctly. There are a few key factors to consider when choosing the right kind of storage for your wine. This article will go over some useful tips that will help you store your wine properly.

Wine Storage Do's and Don'ts

Make Sure Bottles Are Stored Safely And Correctly

Whether the wine is stored horizontally or vertically, wine bottles should always be stored with the wine label facing upwards. When wine bottles are stored upside down, wine can collect on the sides of the wine bottle, which may cause wine corks to absorb wine tannins that can cause wine corks to weaken over time. This weakening of wine corks can allow the wine to leak or even let air into wine bottles which may lead to wine spoilage. When it comes to wine racks, it’s important to make sure wine bottles are well supported so they will not be damaged if wine racks are moved. In most cases, the best wine racks are made of metal or wood either welded or screwed together. Also, the pieces should be made sturdy enough to support the weight of full wine bottles without bowing under pressure. 

Avoid Temperature Fluctuations

The ideal temperature for storing white wine is between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. For red wine, the ideal temperature is a bit warmer, at around 60 to 65 degrees. As you can see by the range, both types of wine should be stored somewhere close to a constant temperature. The wine should not be exposed to direct sunlight or moved quickly from one area to another. Rapid fluctuations in temperature can have a damaging effect that can lead to change in wine taste and aroma or even cause wine bottles to break, and thus should be avoided at all costs. If you are storing wine for long periods, make sure that the room you choose can hold wine at the ideal temperature range.

Avoid Exposure to Light

Light exposure is another factor that can dramatically affect wine, especially white wine, which tends to be more delicate in flavor and aroma. When wine is exposed to light, it causes wine bottles chemicals called tannins that give the wine its color and body and compounds called anthocyanins, which help create wine’s rich red colors and bold aromas. Light exposure can lead these chemicals to react together, creating the chemical compound hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide gives the wine a “stale” or “corked” smell and taste, though the naked eye cannot see it. The effects of hydrogen sulfide are usually not noticeable until long periods of light exposure, so it’s important to store wine properly. 

Use Wine Bottle Stoppers

When stored properly, white and red wines can last up to two weeks after opening, but if you plan to store them for longer periods, wine bottle stoppers are a must-have. Wine bottle stoppers prevent the oxidation process that can lead to spoiled wines due to exposure to air. There are many different kinds of wine bottle corks, including cork, rubber, and plastic, each with their unique properties, so it’s important to research which ones will work best for your individual needs. When using a cork wine bottle, stoppers must be wet before placing them in the bottle so that they’re pliable enough to insert.

Don’t Store Wine in Refrigerators

While it may be tempting to store wine in your refrigerator, it’s not a good idea for many reasons. First, when you place wine bottles in the refrigerator, they are exposed to temperature fluctuations, leading to developing hydrogen sulfide and other chemical reactions such as cork degradation. Second, when you take white and rose wines out of refrigeration, you need to bring them up to room temperature to ensure that their taste and aroma haven’t been altered by refrigeration. If white wines have been stored in a refrigerator for too long, they will need anywhere from 30 minutes up to an hour for every hour they were stored in the refrigerator to allow these temperature changes.

Whether you’re a casual wine drinker or a connoisseur, it’s important to take proper care of your wines. Keeping wine stored properly is crucial for its delicious taste and complex flavors. Knowing the best places and storage conditions, you’ll enjoy your favorite wines for years to come.

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