For wine aficionados, storing wine properly is of great importance. Given the delicate characteristics of wine and the ripening of its flavor over time, it is important to store wine in a manner conducive to protecting and even nurturing its maturation process.
Aging Wine: To Age or Not to Age
Some wines are not meant to be stored for a long time; they are meant to be enjoyed soon after bottling. If you are a wine connoisseur, be sure to clarify if a bottle is meant to be enjoyed now or saved for later. Many lovely wines are kept too long past their peak date under the mistaken impression that all wines improve with age.
Many wines made today are meant to be enjoyed soon after they are made. As a general rule, reds, including Burgundies, Riojas and Shirazs, are more well-suited for aging. Out of these, those with higher tannin contents will fare best.
Whites are generally meant to be enjoyed sooner rather than later, though true champagne will age well if cared for properly.
Where to Store Wine
Wine can be stored in a variety of locations and receptacles. The key thing to keep in mind is the temperature of the wine. Locations that are cool and out of direct sunlight work best; wine is ideally stored between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
For bottles that will be used within a year or so, no extraordinary methods must be undertaken other than to keep the wine cool and at a humidity level above 50 percent. Though a high humidity level may seem counterintuitive, this is necessary to keep the cork moist and to protect the wine within.
It is also a good idea to keep wines away from vibration. The consistent rattling of a refrigerator, for instance, can disrupt the delicate suspension of the wine.
Wine Storage Spaces
For wines that will be kept for some length of time, it may be wise to consider building a special storage space, which can range in size to meet your particular needs, from a small wine cabinet to a full wine cellar. Remember, however, to keep air circulating in order to keep mold at bay.
There are also special wine storage refrigerators available, which come in a variety of sizes. Some of the larger units have different temperature controls to regulate specific areas of the refrigerator itself, ideal for keeping some wines at a level temperature while chilling others.
How to Store Wine: Angling the Bottle
One tip that will help keep corks moisturized and vinegar-inducing oxygen at bay is to store the wine on its side. When a bottle of wine is stored straight up and down, none of the wine touches the cork. Over time, this may lead to the drying and shrinking of the cork.
Often, lovely wines can be ruined by crumbling corks that let air in to spoil the wine. After holding on to an expensive bottle, it would be a shame to lose it when simply tipping the bottle onto its side could prevent spoilage.