Do you want to curate a personal wine collection that suits your taste and different moods? If you’re a wine connoisseur, you may want to create a top-notch wine cellar. But it’s not always necessary to create a fancy wine cellar to store and enjoy wine at home. If you have a low budget, you may also think of a simple wine rack under the stairs or in the basement. However, if you want your precious wine to age properly, there are certain conditions that must be met. Only if stored properly, wine can last for decades.
It’s amazing to collect wines so that you have the perfect drink for different meals and moods. But before you bring those bottles of joy home, you should first determine where and how to set up your wine storage area. You cannot store your vintage wine collection in a closet or sunny corner. Only when stored in an ideal environment, wine grows in value and quality.
If you buy fine wines to drink right away, there’s nothing much to worry about. But buying wines to mature is a totally different ballgame. There are various factors such as temperature, sunlight exposure, and humidity that contribute to the proper aging of the wine. So, let’s take a look at the factors to consider when storing wine.
Neither Too Hot nor Too Cold
Isn’t it painful to have your fine, expensive wine go bad because of improper storage? When storing wine, always remember that heat is the biggest enemy of wines. Keeping wine at a temperature higher than 70° F can literally ‘cook’ a wine and destroy its aromas and flavors. Also, storing wine in the household refrigerator for more than a couple of months can impede its aging. If kept at a freezing temperature, the wine can expand and the liquid may push the cork out. So, the ideal temperature range is between 45° F and 65° F (and 55° F is usually considered as the perfect temperature). Also, make sure that the temperature of your wine storage area is constant because temperature fluctuations can harm your wine.
Your precious wine can also need appropriate humidity for proper aging. Your wine storage area should be moderately humid. Home refrigerators are not recommended because low humidity can cause the corks to dry which leads to seepage of air into the wine. When wine is stored at a too dry area, the cork can shrink, resulting in oxidation and wine spoilage. According to experts, you should keep the humidity range from 55 to 75 percent. If you don’t have a professional-grade wine storage unit, you can keep a pan filled with water on the floor near your wine to somewhat increase the humidity. Extreme dampness, on the other hand, can damage the labels. But this problem can be fixed by a dehumidifier.
Keep It Dark, Still, and Sideways
Your wine storage area should be dark. UV sunrays and fluorescent lighting can severely damage the wine. You may use incandescent bulbs as these emit less heat and light and are safer than fluorescent bulbs. Another important factor is the position of the bottles. The wine bottles should be stored on their sides so that the cork is in constant contact with the wine. It’s important to prevent the cork from shrinking and keeping the cork moist prevents oxidization. Also, make sure there is no or little vibration. If the bottles are not kept still and there is vibration, it may stir up sediment within the wine bottles and impact its taste.