The Do's and Don'ts of Good Wine Storage
The wines you receive from us at Wine Selectors are perfect to enjoy right now. Tasting Panellist and wine show judge, Adam Walls, talks us through how to keep them in their prime at home.
FOUR ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR GOOD WINE STORAGE
When storing wine there are four essential points to remember.
The ideal temperature is between 12˚C to 14˚C with this maintained at a constant all year round. Don’t store in hot places like an uninsulated shed or garage, near a fire place, or on top of a cabinet where it will be exposed to hot, rising air. Heat damage often compromises the seal of the bottle, especially if it is under cork. The expansion from hot air pushes the cork out, so it can be become oxidized. Regardless if the wine is under cork or screw cap, hot temperatures also “cook” the wine, resulting in it losing freshness.
For wines that are sealed with a cork, ensure the storage location maintains a level of about 50% humidity – it can’t be too damp or too dry. If the cork dries out it can shrink, and the wine can become oxidized. White wines are much more susceptible to oxidization than reds, because red wines have a higher tannin level that act as a buffer. High humidity levels will help keep the cork from drying out. Humidity below about 50% is getting too dry. Levels above 50% will not damage the cork/wine, but you run the risk of mould or mildew damaging your storage area and your wine.
Avoid storing near appliances like washing machines, clothes driers, dish washers, fridges and other sources of vibration and heat. Vibration can cause a chemical imbalance in a wine. For short term storage, vibration is not really the most important factor, however, if you’re storing wine over several years, this can have a huge effect on the quality, flavours, aromas, and texture.
Wine should not be subjected to excessive amounts of light. Wines store best in a dark spot, so do not store then on the window sills, bench tops or in racks that receive full light. Instead, look for darker areas like the bottom of a linen closet, the bottom of a wardrobe, under the house (but make sure it’s not too damp or too dry), under internal staircases, or on the floor and lower shelves of a walk-in pantry. Storing wine, particularly white wine, where the bottles are exposed to sunlight or UV causes light strike. It occurs more commonly in delicate white wines like Champagne, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc.
PUTTING THESE WINE STORAGE TIPS TO GOOD USE
If you've had a look around your house and still can't find a suitable location, don't stress too much. The above tips are to keep wines in their absolute prime, particularly if you wish to store them for some time or you are interested in cellaring your wine so that it matures over many years. In the short term, under most normal conditions your wine will be perfectly fine for a several months. But, if you still can't find a suitable location, and you feel your conditions are not ideal, you could always ask a family member or friend to store it for you.
If you’re looking to cellar wines long-term there are some great wine cabinets on the market, plus there’s a number of professional, purpose built wine storage facilities.
We hope you’ve found these handy tips helpful.