Michael Briggs's Article On
Storing Fine Wine

Horizontal wine bottles

Keeping your wine bottles horizontal is an important element in wine storage.

Our Introduction To Storing Fine Wine

Briggs presents simple but important wine storage rules concerning: position, temperature, light, and humidity. Disregard them at your own risk.

Title: Storing Your Fine Wine

Author: Michael Briggs

Storing your fine wine

Storage of wines is not complicated, but there are some things you should keep in mind to ensure your wine fares well. There are four main elements you need to ensure you control in order to store wine for long periods: Position, temperature, light, and humidity. Follow these simple rules to protect your wines so that they will taste the very best when it comes time to enjoy them.

Position and Peace

First is position, bottles should be kept horizontal in a safe area, where they will not be disturbed. They need be laying horizontally so that the wine is always in contact with the cork, which keeps the cork from drying out. This is important because if the cork dries out then it lets in wild yeast, fungus, or bacteria that will create off flavors in your wine. You will also want to ensure the wine can lie undisturbed for a long time. As wine ages, it will continue to change in the bottle and will form sediments. You want these sediments to sink to the bottom of the bottle and stay there so when you pour an old wine into the decanter you will not foul it with the lees. Although a wine rack is not required, it is worth the investment. Your wines can be nicely organized and kept safer from accidental breakage.


Wines should also be kept away from heat sources and temperatures that are too cold. You don't want them stored in any area where freezing temperatures might occur and cause bottle to break. Too, avoid heat above 64F in order to ensure the wine does not get cooked, another way wine can develop off flavors. The goal is a constant temperature, away from sunlight. Dedicating a cabinet area that is low and safe from heat would work well. Also, there are many wine refrigerators on the market that will keep your wines stored in perfect condition until you are ready to enjoy them.

Light and Humidity

Light and humidity both affect wine to a lesser, but still significant degree. Wine stored in direct sunlight can undergo changes to the plant based compounds in the wine. Very strong sunlight for long periods can have adverse affects on both the aroma and body of the wine. Humidity should be kept high enough to ensure the cork does not shrink from the outside. But too high a humidity will encourage wild yeast, fungus, and bacteria growth that could promote spoilage. Aiming for 30-60% humidity is ideal.

Of course, if you can do it, a wine cellar is ideal. This is not just a generic term for a place to keep wine. A cellar (below ground) is best because generally temperatures are cooler and more constant. The cellar or basement of a dwelling is also protected from damaging sunlight.

You will be rewarded if you take the time to store your wine properly because the bottles will age well until you decide to open a bottle. 
It takes little effort to treat your wines well, but it will help protect your investment and make your drinking experience much more pleasurable.

About the author:
Michael Briggs is a wine enthusiast and a frequent contributor to Winery-Mall where you can learn all about wine.

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