What You Need to Know About Storing Wine at Home

by James Stevenson

We don’t have to be wine connoisseurs to appreciate that the surroundings in which we store our wine has the ability to affect its taste, smell and overall quality. Wine is a somewhat fragile beverage and is easily spoiled if not given the right TLC.

A large majority of bottles can sit for many weeks, months and even years without being corked, which is why having a basic understanding of how to store wine properly within the home will be beneficial to anybody who wishes to make the most of their collection.

Read more to discover a few key tips on how to correctly store your wine.

Placement and surroundings

Perhaps the most fundamental factor affecting wine quality will be the place in which you choose to keep your wine. Many assume that wine should be kept in the kitchen, along with with other food and drink items, however, the kitchen is often humid due to cooking and natural light, which can cause temperature fluctuations and thus spoil the wine.

Ideally, wine should be kept in a cool, dimly-lit area that does not encounter frequent vibrations or temperature changes. If you have a basement, this is the perfect place to store your bottles, since it is below ground-level and normally cooler than other rooms within the house.

Keep wine horizontal

You might be used to immediately placing a new bottle of wine upright in the fridge (particularly if you plan on drinking it ASAP), but this is not a good idea. Storing wine vertically can cause the cork to dry out, allowing air to enter the bottle and quickly spoiling the taste.

Placing wine on its side allows the cork to remain most and stops air from entering and ruining a rather expensive bottle!

Cooling wine properly

If you have the money to do so, it is strongly recommended that you invest in a cellar cooler, instead of a normal home air conditioner, since cellar units cool the air gradually, whilst also maintaining a room’s humidity. These units are built with wine storage firmly in mind, ensuring the right atmosphere exists to expertly preserve the wine.

Moreover, wine enthusiasts normally advise against purchasing wine fridges, since they are known to produce heat. Likewise, the continuous opening and closing of the fridge door can lead to bottle vibrations.

The correct type of rack

It is wise to invest in sturdy, durable wine racking, whether that’s just for a few special bottles, or to kit out a whole cellar. The wine rack you choose will preferably match the types of bottles you prefer to collect. Typical 750ml Bordeaux bottles will fit in standard-sized wine racks, which are 3.5 inches wide.

Alternatively, if you prefer to collect champagne, half bottles, or magnums, then bespoke wine racks might be more appropriate, as they can be tailor-made to match your requirements and safely store your unique wine collection.

Bottle size aside, the material of your wine racks is also extremely important. Wooden racks (especially oak and pine) are by far the most popular, because they are durable when met with humidity, and do not crack or produce mildew. Additionally, you should only invest in high-quality wooden racks, where the wood is thick enough and can handle the weight of an extensive number of bottles.

If your home is prone to dampness, wooden racks may not be suitable, and you should consider a metal wine rack instead. Metal racks are quite modern and can be moved around more easily than their wooden counterparts.

Always avoid cheaper woods, such as poplar, fir, and cedar, as they can taint the aroma of your wine. Similarly, adding strong-smelling paint to your wine rack is not recommended – try an odorless Danish oil instead.

Above all, be sure to only purchase quality products and have your storage options fitted by professionals who know exactly what they’re doing.

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