Wine storage is an often misunderstood concept that many people feel is best left to the professionals. However, whether you're just starting your collection or you want to brush up on best practices, these seven tips can help you keep your vintages in the best possible condition until you're ready to enjoy them. |
1. Keep it cool. Wherever you decide to keep your bottles, whether it be in a cabinet, your cellar, or a refrigerator, make sure that the temperature is between 55 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is best because it allows only those chemical reactions that improve the taste to occur, staving off those that would harm the flavor. If this precision isn't possible, make sure that the bottle is not kept in a place with temperatures above 70 degrees, as this would age the liquid too quickly.
2. Keep it moist. The ideal humidity for wine storage is between 50%-80%. This is to keep the cork from getting too wet or too dry. Placing a pan of water in the area can help with conditions that would normally be too dry. For areas that are too moist, a dehumidifier is the way to go.
3. Keep it dark. You'll want to particularly avoid putting your bottles in a place with sunlight. UV rays can degrade and quickly age wine. This aversion to light is part of the reason most bottles are dark green or brown.
4. Keep it steady. Too much shaking, jostling, or vibration can cause premature aging. Movement can also disturb the sediment in older vintages, which may make them too gritty and unenjoyable.
5. Keep it horizontal. By laying the bottle on its side, you're allowing the cork to stay moist. However, if it has an alternative opening, like a screw cap or a plastic cork, you don't have to worry about this piece of advice. On the other hand, horizontal stacking will help save room and won't hurt anything.
6. Keep it airy. While you may think that your basement is the best choice, if it's an area that gets a lot of pooling water, flooding, or bad air flow, think again. Places with too much moisture or standing water could grow mold and attract unwanted vermin.
7. Keep track. The best way improve your wine storage skills is to track what you do. Keep a notebook or a spreadsheet with the location, brand, year, and type listed. Take note of when you bought the bottle, how long you kept it, when you opened it, and how it tasted. Try experimenting with several bottles of the same kind, opening each at a different time to see how it ages so you can figure out what works best in your environment.
Wine storage can be a fun undertaking that can improve the taste and experience of drinking both whites and reds. By using these seven tips, you can get started or improve your very own stockpiling techniques.
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