If you are someone who drinks a lot of wine, then chances are you are likely a collector of wine, too. Collecting wine can be a fun hobby, but if it isn’t stored properly you could end up ruining your bottles altogether. Learning how to store wine properly is essential if you want to start growing your collection and purchasing more varieties that require a little bit of aging. With or without a cellar, there are several factors that will impact the integrity of a wine.
Understanding the components of wine and how they are all impacted during the aging process will help you get a better grasp of why wines should be stored properly to begin with. Generally, the most obvious change you’ll notice after a wine has been aged is the color, as well as the aroma and taste. These are all due to the acidity, alcohol level, and sweetness of a wine. Wines that are more acidic will last longer than those that aren’t.
There are some unwritten rules when it comes to storing wine in order to preserve the taste and aromas. You will want to make sure that they are not exposed to direct sunlight or fluorescent lights for prolonged periods of time. Storing them in a dark place will prevent the light from tarnishing your bottles. Corked wines will also benefit from being stored on their sides, since keeping them upright can dry out the cork quicker.
One of the number one things you need to consider when storing your wine properly is the temperature and humidity of the location it’ll be stored in, whether that’s a wine cellar or just a room in your basement. Wine storage should ideally never go above 74 degrees, at 75 degrees wine begins to oxidize. Red wines are more susceptible to temperature related issues, so trying to keep it constant and not letting it fluctuate more than three degrees in a day will help your wines last longer. When it comes to humidity, keeping it around 70% will ensure the cork doesn’t dry out, but it won’t be high enough to encourage mold and mildew growth.
Each wine will have a different aging timeline, and some New World, inexpensive wines may not even need to be aged. The type of wine you have will determine how long you want to store it in order to get the full experience of that particular variety. Red wines will typically need to be stored longer than white wines due to their levels of acidity, sugar, and tannins, but it will still depend on the type of red wine and their balance of elements.
Of course, now that you’ve properly aged your favorite bottle, it’s time to open it. But what happens if you don’t drink the whole bottle? How can you properly store an opened wine? There are some things you can do that will help keep the wine for a couple of days longer. Make sure that you are able to cork the bottle tightly, whether that’s with the original cork or a reusable one. This will help minimize the wine’s exposure to air, which can greatly affect the aroma and tastes. Move the wine to a dark area, such as back into your wine cellar. Heat and light can impact it, as well. Put white wines in the refrigerator and leave red wines out, but in a dark place.
After understanding how to properly store your wine, you’re probably wondering where exactly you can store wine in your home. Of course, if you are going to drink the wine you buy fairly quickly, you can keep it wherever you want, but if you are wanting to let it age a few years, or even just preserve it for a little while, where do you start?
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have a dark place, such as a closet in your basement, which you can turn into a makeshift wine cellar. Otherwise, building your own custom wine cellar is beneficial if you are wanting to expand your collection of wines that need a little more aging. A custom wine cellar can be built to have the proper temperature, humidity, and lighting situations in order to protect the wine.
As a wine connoisseur, having a wine cellar might be just what you need to store your wine. Your wine will be able to age properly in a humidity and temperature controlled room. If you’re ready to create your dream cellar, Harkraft can help! Our team can help you determine the proper space configurations and design to create the perfect place for entertaining and relaxing. Contact us today to get started on creating the perfect home for your wine collection!