The Top Do’s and Don’t’s of Fine Wine Storage

fine wine

Fresh wine that is ready to uncork and be enjoyed is always a want, but not all of us can afford the luxury of a personal wine cellar.

Whether you have an extensive collection or just a few bottles, your fine wine deserves to be stored properly (so that it can be enjoyed just as properly!).

Pour yourself a glass and let’s dive into the top 8 do’s and don’t’s when it comes to fine wine storage. Cheers!

The Top 8 Do’s And Don’ts To Storing Your Fine Wine

#1: DO Keep Your Wine In A Dark Place.

Especially if the bottle is clear, you’ll want to keep your wine in darker areas.

While dark bottles are better than clear or green wine bottles at protecting the liquid from light, try to store any and all of your fine wine in a dark place.

Why? Ultraviolet light affects your wine.

This means you’ll want your wine kept away from fluorescent lights and sunlight. You’ll also want to avoid storing your wine near heat sources such as the furnace, hot water heaters, water pipes, and other appliances.

When it comes to wines that run the greatest risk from light exposure, that’ll be your delicate, light-bodied white wines. This is why these wines are often packaged in darkly tinted bottles, as those offer some form of protection from light.

#2: DON’T Keep Your Wine On Top Of The Refrigerator.

Convenience is important, sure. But, with your fine wine, you’ll also want to think about more than just that.

While on top of your fridge may seem like the most logical home for your full wine bottles, it is one of the worst places you can keep wine in your home for three reasons.

Reason 1: Your fridge gives off tons of vibrations. Think of those that come with the compressor cycle’s on, when it cycles off, when the icemaker dispenses ice, when the water dispenser does its thing, etc.

The point is, vibrations alter the processes happening in your wine. This will affect both the taste and the aging process.

Reason 2: Your fridge gives off heat. The compressor and other internal components are working hard to keep the interior of the refrigerator cool.

This process gives off a significant amount of heat.

Don’t believe it? Feel the top of your fridge at home–it’s probably warm.

Reason 3: The top of your fridge is most likely close to your light fixtures.

This may not be the case for everyone and their fridge location in their home. However, if it’s true for you, this don’t is a big one since light bulbs give off a lot of heat. This can prematurely age your wine.

#3: DO Store Wines At The Right Humidity.

Now that you have your wines in a dark place (that is NOT on top of the refrigerator), let’s talk about the proper humidity.

Proper humidity for wine will vary depending on the amount of time you expect it to be in storage.

For longer storage, humidity should be around sixty percent. This will keep the corks fresh and expanded.

When wine is kept in conditions that are too dry, the cork will shrink and cause leakage.

If the humidity is too moist, however, mold and contamination can occur.

Let’s avoid all of these problems, shall we? Store your wine in an area that maintains moderate humidity levels of fifty-five percent to seventy-five percent. This allows for optimum wine development conditions.

#4: DON’T Allow Children Or Unwanted Visitors To Have Access.

Locking a wine cooler will fix the problem of unwanted guests in your wine collection.

Wine coolers come in various styles and sizes. They can even come in furniture style cabinets, so you’re sure to find something that will fit in with your home decor.

If you prefer the home wine cellar or wine cave route (small rooms or spaces in which to store wine), you will likely need to do some construction.

Others might prefer storage such as racks and wine refrigerators.

#5: DO Store Wines At The Proper Temperature.

Both humidity and heat are important to the welfare of your fine wine.

Wine is very susceptible to changes in temperature. This means the proper temperature for your vino is vital.

Temperatures that are too high and your wine could become spoiled or “cooked” if kept in the heat too long. Your fine wine may also develop off-flavors that taste like raisins or stews.

When temperatures are too cold, the wine can freeze and expand. This will cause the cork to be pushed out, causing oxygen to be to be exposed to the wine.

Most experts recommend that wine be kept at constant temperatures between fifty and fifty-nine degrees Fahrenheit.

The best way to keep your fine wines the way they were meant to be is to store them in a wine refrigerator.

Wine refrigerators will keep your wine ready to go at the right temperature, and you won’t have to worry about the numbers yourself.

#6: DON’T Use Your Kitchen Refrigerator As A Storage Or Aging Device.

A kitchen fridge is too cold for your fine wine. The fridge can dry out the cork, which will allow air into the bottle.

Since a kitchen refrigerator is constantly being opened and closed, it makes it that much harder to maintain a constant temperature for any of your wine in the fridge.

Additionally, when a bottle is put in a kitchen fridge, it’s usually stored standing up, which is also an issue.

#7: DO Place Bottles On Their Side.

Storing your fine wine on its side will keep the cork in contact with the liquid. This will keep the cork moist (which we want).

A dry cork can create an imperfect seal with the neck and opening of the bottle. This means there is potential to let air in, which can cause oxidization and premature aging.

#8: DON’T Store Your Wine Upright Long-Term.

If you must store your fine wine in an upright position, don’t let it stay this way for too long. For the same reason that it’s recommended to store wine on its side, it’s recommended not to keep it upright.

When your bottle is upright, the wine is not hitting the cork. This means the cork will dry out and you’ll find yourself left with a musty, smelly wine.

However, it’s ok to store your wine upright for short periods of time, (which is why many convenient or liquor stores get away with this wine storage stance).

What is your go-to for storing your wine? Do you currently break the fine wine rules and plan to change? Tell us what you’ll start doing differently in the comments!

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