What is the Best Way to Store Wine?

Has your wine been tasting flat, or even worse, more like vinegar?

Wine is a delicate substance that requires specific conditions to ensure it tastes its best. If your wine is tasting off, it is probably because you are not storing it correctly. Here we will discuss some surefire ways to create perfect wine storage.

Wine caves have long been thought to be a perfect place for long term wine storage. This is because they are naturally dark, cool, and humid spaces where wine can rest undisturbed for many years. Being below the ground, they are taking up little surface area. They are also protecting wine from natural disasters such as a fire. Wine caves are believed to be an eco-friendly solution since the cave relies on the naturally occurring environment rather than a cooling system that requires electricity. Since most wine lovers have space for a traditional wine cave, it is time to get creative and think about some alternatives.

The Ideal Storage Temperature and Humidity

The ideal storage temperature for both red and white wine is between 45◦F and 65◦F, with 55◦F being widely regarded as the best temperature. An environment that remains 70◦F for an extended period will taint the wine, hotter than 80◦F is said to cook the wine, which is highly undesirable. The temperature inside your wine storage space should also stay consistent.

Humidity is needed to keep the exterior of the cork from becoming dry and crumbly. The more air that is allowed to permeate inside the bottle, the more oxidization will occur. Relative humidity around 70% is perfect for wine storage.

Why Should I Store Wine Horizontally?

Wine should rest horizontally on its side, with wine touching the cork at all times. This will keep the cork moist and prevent any air from leaking into the bottle. Once wine begins to oxidize, it begins to spoil. This is similar to what happens when you cut open a piece of fruit and leave it out too long. The taste of the wine is affected, and more often than not, becomes unappealing and undrinkable.

In the Dark

Darkness is important because sunlight can cause a reaction within the wine that can lead to oxidization. This reaction is called “light-struck”. Even fluorescent light fixtures can affect wine, especially if it is inside a clear bottle. White wine is particularly susceptible to becoming light struck. The result is a foul wine that smells similar to cabbage.

Stillness is Key

Unwanted movement should be avoided during wine storage. This is because the vibration will disturb the sediment inside the bottle and also case unwanted chemical reactions that can dull the flavor of the wine. If possible, wine should rest somewhere it can not be touched until you are ready to drink.

What About Storing Wine in the Fridge?

A standard kitchen refrigerator is not the best place for your wine. For proper food storage, the refrigerator must be set to around 38◦F, which is far too cold for wine. Humidity in the refrigerator is bad for food but necessary for proper wine storage. Besides temperature and humidity, the refrigerator presents a lot of variables that may influence the taste of your wine. Smelly leftovers heavy with garlic and onions can begin to permeate the cork and affect wine’s flavors. Frequent openings of the door can cause a lot of vibration which can loosen sediment.

How to Store Red and White Wine After Opening

When you have leftover wine, it is best to keep it cold and corked. You may use a bottle stopper or simply place the cork back into its bottle. Store the bottle inside a cold space and away from sunlight. The bottle should be placed upright to lessen the surface area exposed to oxygen. A pump may be used to suck out any air inside the bottle or an inert gas preserver (such as one that uses argon) can be used. Place your leftover wine inside your refrigerator and drink within 3-5 days. If the wine is oxidized or spoiled, it will start to turn brown.

What are My Wine Storage Options?

Since your standard food refrigerator is too cold and you do not have access to a wine cave, what are your options? If you have a large collection of wine to store, then a traditional wine cellar is a good option. The next alternative is a wine cabinet. A wine cabinet when paired with a cellar cooling system can provide the same benefits of a wine cellar, but with a smaller footprint. A wine refrigerator is another option for keeping your bottles cool and secure. If you are lucky enough to have a dark basement that maintains a steady and cool temperature, another option is to purchase racking kits and DIY your passive wine cellar.

As we have discussed, wine should be stored inside a cool, dark, and humid place, and should be moved as little as possible. You should avoid using your kitchen refrigerator for long term wine storage as it is far too cold and dry for wine. The best place to store wine is in a wine cellar, wine cabinet, or wine fridge. If you have any questions about wine storage, please contact us with our Contact Form.