If you’re not using the right wine storage techniques, you could actually be ruining your wine. Many amateur wine enthusiasts don’t know how to properly store wine. They are more likely to end up with wine that doesn’t taste the way it should, which negatively impacts their level of enjoyment.
In this article, we discuss how to store unopened wine as well as how to store opened wine. Continue reading to find out if you are using the best wine storage methods.
Avoid Direct Light
If you want to know how to properly store wine, start with the understanding that you should avoid light as much as possible. It doesn’t matter how long you’re storing your wine, UV rays from the sun can start damaging the wine’s flavor. This also includes fluorescent light, which can result in white wine becoming “lightstruck,” which means it’s developed an unattractive taste or smell.
Proper wine storage occurs in a dark, dry place. This is the best way to preserve the intended flavors. If you don’t have a wine cellar, you can store your bottles in a dark cabinet or even in a dark bin wrapped in a cloth.
Store in the Right Conditions
Knowing how to store wine means knowing that temperature affects flavor. In the short term, you should aim to store your wine at 55°F. However, you can store your wine between 45°F and 65°F and be just fine.
If you’re storing your wine long-term, we recommend avoiding the use of a fridge. The vibrations from the fridge can negatively impact your wine over time. They can affect the sediment and chemical structure, which alters the flavor.
For this reason, we also recommend avoiding areas of high traffic or vibration for storage. Areas in or around a washer or dryer or areas with a lot of foot traffic are not ideal.
Another aspect to consider when answering, ‘how to store wine correctly,’ is humidity. Improper humidity in wine storage can lead to shortening your wine’s lifespan. Ideal humidity is between 60% to 68%, but it should never exceed 70%.
Proper orientation is essential in how to store unopened wine. If your wine bottle has a cork, horizontal storage is essential. This keeps the wine in contact with the cork and prevents it from drying out.
A dried-out cork exposes the wine to oxygen. This results in premature aging and spoiled wine. By storing the bottle horizontally, you keep the cork moistened and prevent this.
Horizontal storage for corked bottles is important regardless of where you’re storing your wine. If it’s in the refrigerator or on a shelf, make sure it’s on its side. You can achieve this with a wine rack or a wine cooler, which will discuss shortly.
Keep in Storage Until Ready to Use
We discussed how long-term storage in the refrigerator is not ideal due to vibrations and the disruption of sediments in the wine. This is why we recommend keeping your wine in storage until you’re ready to drink it.
If you regularly move or disturb your wine, you will cause the same kind of alterations to the flavor. If you have it on a wine rack or on a shelf, do your best to leave it be until you’re ready to drink it. This is one of the best ways to preserve the flavor.
Store in a Wine Fridge
In order to serve your wine at the ideal temperature, a wine fridge is recommended. Unlike a standard household fridge, which keeps foods dry and around 37°F, a wine fridge keeps wine at the right temperature and humidity.
It also keeps wines from being contaminated by other flavors. Keeping wine in a regular refrigerator with strong-smelling foods can cause those flavors to seep into the cork and affect the flavor of your wine. If you have room for a wine fridge, it’s a great tool to use for peace of mind in wine storage.
Use It or Lose It
A common misconception in learning about how to properly store wine is that all wine improves with age, but that’s not the case. In fact, most wine is not designed to age in the bottle and will only last one to two years. That’s why it’s important to enjoy your wine before this unofficial expiration date.
Since there’s no expiration date listed on the bottle, you can reach out to the wine manufacturer for recommendations. As a reference, most red wines will last up to three years unopened, and white wines will last up to two years unopened.
How to Store Opened Wine
How to store opened wine depends on factors such as the quality of the original cork or the ability to re-cork using an alternative method. If you want to extend the life of your opened bottle, it’s best to replace the cork as soon as possible and as tightly as possible. This helps it maintain its original qualities.
If the original cork is not an option, you can use a rubber stopper. Some stoppers also have the ability to create a vacuum seal, which even further preserves your wine.
Make sure you have a good seal by dipping the original cork in wax before placing it into the bottle or by making sure the rubber stopper doesn’t leak. The wine can last up to 5 days if stored properly using these methods.
Now You Know How to Properly Store Wine
After reviewing this guide, you should feel confident in knowing how to properly store wine. Knowing how to store wine correctly means learning the wine’s characteristics and requirements. Keeping it at the right temperature, the right humidity, and for the right amount of time will give you the most enjoyment.
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