Storing Wine: A How-To for Beginners


Storing wine is an important part of enjoying it, and can greatly affect its quality and value. But beginners often don't realize that, so they accidentally end up damaging their wine. There are too many stories of wine being placed in the laundry room next to the dryer, or in a basement next to the boiler or water heater. Even leaving it on the kitchen counter, where the sunlight hits it every morning, can cause problems. You don't want to end up with problems with your wine, from incorrect storage places.

It's all too common for people to cause damage to their wine, and then not enjoy it. Maybe they decide they just don't like wine, when the real issue has nothing to do with the wine itself, and everything to do with the type of storage. Because of that, people miss out on some really good wines that they might enjoy. You don't have to be one of those people, when you store your wine the right way and protect its quality. Here's what beginners should know about storing wine in their homes and other locations.

You Don't Need a Wine Cellar

Contrary to popular belief, most of the wine you buy really doesn't need to be stored in a wine cellar. Any cool, dark place will work. Your garage, that space under the stairs, or anywhere like that can be a good choice. If you're a collector, and you're going to have bottles of wine that you keep for years, having a wine cellar can be the right choice. Otherwise, you really don't need it unless it's something you're really committed to creating. Most wine is consumed soon after purchase, and doesn't need long-term storage.

Choose the Right Location in Your Home

Even though there's no need for a wine cellar, you still want to make sure you're keeping wine in a location where it can be preserved as well as possible. Even if you're planning on drinking it in the next few days or weeks, where you store it in the meantime matters. Some people refrigerate wine, of course, so that's one option. For those who don't like their wine chilled, or who don't have the space to put it in the fridge, a dark and cool location is generally best. Here's why.

Temperature Matters

Wine that's kept too hot will change taste. In short, it's not going to be as good if it's stored next to a heat source, or in a room that's too warm. Don't put your wine next to the dryer, the microwave, the stove, or any appliance like that. Also make sure it's not stored somewhere like the attic, because it gets hotter there than in the rest of the house. You can keep your wine on the main level of your home, but if you have a basement that's an even better location. Basements are generally cooler places to store items.

Light Level is Important

Another important thing to do with your wine is keep it out of direct sunlight. That's especially true for lighter colored wines, but it matters for all of them. Why? Because the direct sunlight shining onto the wine bottles can cause the compounds in the wine to start breaking down. That changes the quality and taste of the wine in ways that aren't good for it. If you store wine where the sunlight hits it, even for part of the day, you'll likely find that the quality of the wine isn't as good as what you were hoping for.

Dry Air Causes Damage

A lot of people think that they need to store their wine in a place that's cool and dark, but also that's dry. Ideally, though, the humidity in the room where you're storing your wine should be 70%. You may not be able to keep it right in that range, but anything from 50% to 80% should be fine. Extremely high-end wines need more of a controlled environment, but standard wines will be fine with more of a range of humidity. Too humid causes mold growth, and too dry means the corks dry out and the wine will start to leak.

Avoid Vibrations

Vibration isn't good for wine. Storing it right next to the washing machine, for example, isn't a good choice because it creates vibration. Chemical reactions come from shaking wine, and that means the flavor and aroma aren't going to be the same. The sediment won't settle, and can make the wine gritty. Additionally, it could start to ferment faster, and that definitely won't taste good. A little bit of shaking won't do any damage, but long-term vibration issues could make your wine far less enjoyable to drink.

Store Wine in the Right Position

If you have wine with corks in it, the bottles should be stored horizontally. That's because the moisture from the wine will keep the corks from drying out, so the wine stays better longer. For the bottles with the screw-on caps, though, it really doesn't matter whether you store the wine horizontally or vertically. A lot of people still like the horizontal option, just because they can have wine rack that makes it easier for storage, and also lets them keep more bottles of their favorite wine in a smaller space, as well.

What About a Self Storage Facility?

Well, maybe. There are some of these facilities that have wine storage options, but it's not very common. If you really want to store a lot of wine, but you don't have any space at your home, you can check with your local storage facilities to see if they have units that are designed for wine storage. A climate controlled option would be the best one, but you might find that the humidity in it is too low to protect your wine's corks. For bottles that have screw-on caps, though, that can be less of a concern for protecting your wine.

White Wine Storage

The biggest thing to remember about storing white wine, is that it's very susceptible to light. If sunlight is hitting the bottles, the wine in them can start to degrade really quickly. That's especially true if the bottles are also clear or light in color. Rather than take a risk with the quality of your white wine, especially if you're going to be storing it for a long period of time, make sure you keep it away from direct sunlight. A cool and dark place is by far the best location for any white wine that you're not going to drink right away.

Red Wine Storage

Unlike white wine, red wine has a little bit more "durability" when it comes to direct sunlight. It's still not a good idea to leave any wine where direct sunlight frequently hits the bottles. But red wines are able to handle this a bit better than their lighter counterparts. Too much light will still cause red wine to age prematurely, and that affects their taste. In order to make sure that you keep your red wine tasting as good as possible for as long as possible, keep it in a cool, dark place and out of the direct sunlight if you can.

Sparkling Wine Storage

Sparkling wines should really be treated in the same way as white wines. The bubbles and fizz will last longer that way, and the wine won't go flat. Additionally, direct sunlight can cause the flavor and aroma to degrade quickly. If you're storing your other wines in a cool, dark place like a basement or garage, make sure to put your sparkling wine there, too. Then you can have peace of mind that your sparkling wine will still be of a good quality when you decide it's time to drink it, or for a special occasion, too.

Consider All Aspects of Your Space

The very best thing you can do is consider the overall picture when you need or want to store wine. Since most people buy a couple of bottles at a time, and drink them within days or weeks, they probably don't think too much about storage options. If you're wanting to store more wine, though, or you like to buy it in larger quantities to save money or just have it available, storing it properly can help you protect it. Then you can enjoy it more fully, any time you want to have some wine with dinner or celebrate with friends.

Keep in mind that light and temperature are really the two most important things. If you keep your wine from getting too hot, and you don't let direct sunlight hit it, you'll have a good start on making sure it's properly protected. Once you've handled both of those areas, then you can think more carefully about reasonable humidity levels, whether to store it upright or on its side, and remembering things like not putting it next to the washer, where the vibrations might become a problem for it.

Good Wines Deserve a Good Home

At the end of the day, most wines tolerate quite a bit. They're stable and packaged well, but the more expensive ones can be delicate. If you're getting wine and intending to store it for a longer period of time, you'll want to make sure you're being more mindful of the type of storage you're creating for it. Not only will that help you protect any investment you have in your wine, but it will also make it easier for you to enjoy the wine you've purchased any time you want, without worry that the quality has changed.

You don't have to settle for subpar wine, and you don't need to just buy a bottle or two if it's something you really like. With the options to store it in a garage, cellar, under the stairs, or even in a cabinet where it's protected, you can get more wine and try out different flavors and types until you find the options that are really the best for you.

Good wine is worth the investment, and being able to properly protect it can make that investment more sound. Then you can have the joy of good wine frequently, and continue to entertain or just enjoy a glass or two, anytime you like.

By Jerilyn Alvarez
Just a Georgia Peach looking to learn how business works one job at a time and trying to make a difference to others each day! Enjoy writing about everyday experiences and connecting with others. #Marketing #Blogging #CustomerRelationships #VolunteerService is what I am about. Pursuing a degree in Business Management specializing in Customer Relations Management. As a Marketing Assistant, Jerilyn manages all social media accounts for EZstorit, outreach for SEO and contributes to blog articles.


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