Introduce to Storing Wine At Home
It takes a significant amount of money, effort, and time to build a wine collection. But you may lose the quality of your wine if you do not meet the necessary storage requirements. Most people just buy wine and stack it somewhere in a cupboard. That is not the best thing to do if you are a wine enthusiast.
If you open your wine bottle, you need to ensure that you store it properly to absorb oxygen and microorganisms. These environmental factors will cause oxidation, leading to loss of flavour. But even unopened wine is sensitive and needs proper storage. So, what is an ideal way to store wine?
Not everyone can afford an appropriate storage facility at home, but that does not mean there are no wine storage options that can work perfectly fine. You can modify what you have to ensure that the conditions are favourable for storing wine.
1. Avoid Low and High Temperatures
Any wine enthusiast knows that temperature is an essential factor in wine ageing wine. Storing wine requires a sweet spot when it comes to temperature. If the temperature is too warm or too cold, you risk spoiling your wine.
Whether short-term or long-term, the ideal temperature ranges between 10 degrees and 15 degrees, with 55ºF (13ºC) being the sweet spot. While this is a general recommendation, each wine type is unique and may require slightly lower or higher temperatures. Nonetheless, no wine needs 25 °F (-4ºC) so make sure never to store your wine at such cold temperatures because it could freeze.
On the higher side, 68°F (20°C) is the most you should go. Higher temperatures will make your wine age faster as high temperatures destroy volatile compounds in the wine. Just choose a cool section of the house where the temperature is stable. Wine is very sensitive to changes in temperature and light. So, make sure the area is dark and does not experience fluctuations in temperature.
2. Do Not Expose The Wine To Vibrations
As strange as it may sound, wine does not go well with vibrations. This is one factor even wine enthusiasts often overlook. Wine likes to be stored in a stable area where it can mature consistently. Vibrations include both movements and loud sounds. Wine is a complex liquid with delicate components and vibrations that stir sediments in the wine, which you do not want. Vibrations may also alter the ingredients in wine, initiating chemical reactions that may cause your wine to become less acidic, too sweet, or less aromatic and lose its quality.
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3. Store Wine Bottles Horizontally
You probably see wine enthusiasts storing their bottles horizontally. It is not a matter of being sassy or preference; there is a good reason for that. If your wine has a natural cork, you need to store it horizontally, mainly if it’s long-term storage.
The cork plays a vital role in ensuring the wine is always moist and swollen. This prevents the wine from drying out, so the cork should make contact with the wine. If you store the bottle vertically, the cork will not be in touch with the wine. A dry cork can compromise the seals integrity and allow air into the bottle. So, it is advisable to maintain a horizontal position for wines with natural corks for long-term storage.
4. Store The Wine In The Dark
Wine and light do not get along. If you repeatedly expose your wine light, it will soon lose its flavor. Sparkling wine, rosés, and white wine are particularly susceptible to light because of the clear bottle, so be more cautious with such wines.
Whether natural or artificial, light can react with the phenolic compounds in the wine and change its flavor. Now you know that the tinted wine bottles are not just for decoration but to protect the wine from light. Protection from light is also the reason white is stored in the cellar. But if you do not have a cellar, just ensure that you keep your wine rack on a cupboard in a dark area away from direct sunlight.
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5. Avoid Humid Storage Conditions
You will see instructions on the wine bottle recommending 50%-80% humidity when storing wine. Low humidity is not suitable for any wine, but you should not hang up on humidity unless you live in the arctic or a desert.
If you expose the bottle to low humidity for long periods, it could dry the cork, which would allow air to get into the bottle and cause chemical reactions.
Avoid storing wine in the refrigerator for long periods. You can temporarily keep it in the fridge to bring it to serving temperatures, but low temperatures for extended periods will destroy the wines integrity. Another thing you don’t want to do is keep the wine on top of your fridge. If you place your hand at the back of the fridge, you will realize it is quite warm. The heat given off during cooling escapes from the end and moves up, heating the air above.