7 Wine-Storage Basics You Need to Know
If you're a wine connoisseur who's thinking about starting a collection, you need to know how to store your supply. Factors like temperature, humidity, and even lighting can affect the aging process and the quality of your wine. Read ahead and learn about seven wine-storage basics you need to know.
1. Store at the Right Temperature
Temperature is one of the most critical aspects of wine storage. Excessive heat will force the wine to age too quickly, while cold conditions can dry out the cork or even freeze the wine and crack the bottle. The perfect balance is said to lie between 55 and 59° F.
2. Control the Humidity
A certain level of humidity keeps the cork moist, which prevents air from seeping in and oxidizing the wine. There's a bit more room for error when it comes to humidity as opposed to temperature. The sweet spot lands somewhere between 60% and 68%, but anywhere between 50% and 80% should be okay. Remember, too much humidity can lead to a mold problem.
3. Keep the Room Dark
Have you ever wondered why wine bottles often have a green or brownish color to them? Darker tints protect the wine from the sun's ultraviolet rays. You can help out with the preservation by keeping your bottles out of direct sunlight. Although artificial light won't be as damaging, choose bulbs that don't emit UV rays.
Ultraviolet rays speed up and interfere with the aging process, which is not what collectors want. Wines that age too quickly may lose their flavors and aromas, so assist the colored glass by storing your bottles properly.
4. Don't Change the Conditions
Whatever you decide for your temperature and humidity, be sure to keep the conditions consistent. It's especially important to avoid drastic changes in temperature, as they can cause the wine to expand and contract.
5. Use a Wine Fridge
Keeping your wine healthy as it ages is much easier when you have a refrigerator specifically dedicated to your collection. The right wine fridge will allow you to maintain the perfect conditions for storage.
6. Store Bottles Sideways
Proper levels of humidity will give the cork the moisture it needs to be effective. Storing your bottles on their sides pushes the wine up against the corks to help prevent oxidation, and it lets you save space.
7. Stay Away from Vibrations
You've set up your storage space with the perfect temperature, lighting, and humidity, and you've stored your bottles on their sides inside a wine fridge. Now the only factor left to worry about is vibration.
Shaking your wine is an obvious no-no, but even subtle vibrations can be harmful because they disturb sediments and lead to unwanted chemical reactions. Everyday household appliances like washers, dryers, and stereo systems create vibrations. Add in young children and pets who romp around, and your floors might do some shaking. Try storing your wine in the basement, where the floors tend to be sturdier and the traffic isn't as heavy.
As long as you have these basics down, storing wine should be simple. Follow the temperature, humidity, and lighting guidelines, store bottles on their sides, and keep them away from vibrations to enjoy fresh and delicious wine for years.