If you took a bottle of wine home, opened it, and then you don’t know what to do with it, maybe investing in the best wine decanter is a good idea. However, there’s more to wine storage than moving it into another container than the bottle it came in. Here are the most critical aspects of wine storage you should be aware of.
Is your wine the right candidate for long-term aging?
Unopened bottles often appear to hold the promise that the aged wine stored in them will taste even better if left to age in proper conditions. However, you should know that most wines you can buy from stores are not made for long-term aging. Ideally, they should be consumed within a few years of their release. Even so, you may want to know a little more about how to store them properly.
55 degrees Fahrenheit is the golden value for wine temperature
You must have heard plenty about how you should keep your wines in a cold cellar. It is true that hot temperatures, or anything about 70 degrees Fahrenheit since that’s a hard limit for wines, can cause the liquid to ‘cook’, as experts say. At such temperatures, the wine will lose essential properties such as aromas.
Don’t keep your wines too cold, though. Under 45 degrees Fahrenheit, there will be other issues you will have to face. What happens when it’s too cold is that the cork holding the wine preserved in its bottle will begin to dry and will let air in. As you well know it, that’s a sure way for wine to go bad.
Therefore, you should never keep your wine in the fridge for more than one month or two. A cool cellar is undoubtedly a much better option for storing your preferred beverage.
Eliminate rapid and frequent temperature swings
Obtaining the right temperature may sound like something close to science, and wine storage, when done correctly, is a bit of that, too. Another thing you should be aware of is that wine might respond poorly to rapid changes in temperature.
Still, this doesn’t mean that you must become obsessed with what happens to the temperature in the area where you decided to keep your wine. Some temperature fluctuations can occur, but as long as they don’t happen often or are too substantial, your wine should be okay.
Keep your bottles away from UV light
There’s a reason why bottles of wine are never stored outside in the sun. As you may well suspect, allowing the UV rays to hit the wine bottles will cause the liquid inside to cook, as mentioned earlier. In your organized space for storing your wine, you should opt for incandescent light bulbs. They are safer for wine than fluorescent lights that might emit UV levels that could harm the wine in the long run.
The ideal humidity level is 70%
Although some people obsess a lot about the perfect humidity, you shouldn’t be too focused on it, or more than needed. It’s true that, ideally, the humidity level in your cellar should be 70%, but if it’s anywhere between 50% and 80%, you’re still good.
If the air in your cellar is too dry, the corks will suffer, as shown above, and that means that the wine inside the bottle can suffer spoilage. When in doubt over the conditions in the cellar, you could always bring a pan filled with water, as a low key regulator of air humidity.
In case your cellar suffers from the opposite issue, and it’s too humid, then you might want to invest in a dehumidifier. The wine doesn’t suffer directly from too much humidity, but the mold that appears with such conditions might ruin the labels, and you will have a lot of work to do.
Why wine bottles should be stored on their sides
This is another rule that you might have noticed experts touting. The reason why this type of storage is preferred for wines is that the liquid will rest against the cork and avoid its dryness so that you can enjoy good quality wine later on.
However, this method is ideal for wines that will be stored for a long time. If you don’t have a lot of available space for your wine bottles, storing them vertically is not a complete no-no. As long as you plan to open them within only a few years from putting them in your cellar, they should be just fine.
Vibration could be an issue
There is one particular problem that appears to plague the aficionados of wine storage, and that’s vibration. Wines are not made to be shaken, as there is sediment settling inside each bottle that shouldn’t be disturbed. Although temporary vibrations can’t do much harm, if the bottles get shaken more than necessary, the sediment can combine with the liquid and create a gritty consistency that is anything but palatable.
Wine should never be stored in close proximity to strong-smelling foods
While it should come without additional explanations that wines should be stored in their dedicated place, this recommendation might not be viable for everybody. Therefore, in case you plan on storing your wine somewhere you also have other items stored, here is something you should avoid doing.
Make sure that there are no particularly smelly foods stored close to your bottles of wine. Strong smells have the unpleasant capacity of penetrating the corks keeping the wine protected inside bottles and affect its taste.
How much do wines last?
This one is a very important question, as you surely don’t want to end up with a collection of sour beverages that are anything but worthy of being presented to guests. As mentioned before, most wines are not created for long-term aging, and there’s no point in keeping them stored after a specific date.
Here is what you should know. Red wines have the longest lifespan, and you can store them for up to 10 years. However, white wines are more pretentious, and after 3 years, you should either decide to open them or get rid of them.
Invest in a wine cooler
Not everyone has the possibility to invest in a wine cellar, which is why you need to learn a thing or two about wine coolers. We already explained why keeping your wine in your regular fridge is not that bright an idea. However, this doesn’t mean that you should forego the idea of storing your wine at home altogether.
What you can do is to invest in a wine cooler. It is specially designed for wine storage, which is why it is capable of maintaining the temperature at 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal, and obviously less than the temperature in your refrigerator.
How much does wine last in an opened bottle?
If you already opened a bottle of wine and you don’t want to drink all its content, a quick solution is to recork the bottle right away. As long as you don’t allow air to get in and affect the aroma of your beverage, it should hold for a few days. An educated guess is that your wine should be good for around 3 to 5 days without a problem, as long as the bottle is sealed correctly.
There are other solutions to recorking you must know. A wine stopper made of rubber will create enough of a seal to ensure that air won’t get inside. Also, a wine vacuum pump can be used with excellent results. All you need to do is to remove the air that’s already inside the bottle, and your wine will be good for a while.
How to serve wine properly
One of the crucial things you should also know is that wine has its perfect serving temperature. That means that you will need to allow it to get to that temperature and to do so slowly, without any rapid interventions. Ideally, red wine should be served slightly chilled, which is a little under room temperature. Between 58 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you will find the ideal temperature range.
White wines are different, and they require to be served at colder temperatures than reds. For them, the serving temperature should be between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Champagne requires the coldest temperatures for serving, at anywhere between 38 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit.