Wines were stored in underground cellar and wine caves for a reason. People then, not only knew the art of fine wine making, but they also had profound knowledge on wine storage. However, our modern homes do not allow us the luxury of having our own underground cellars or wine caves for storing wines. Nonetheless, with a little knowledge on the subject, you too can store your wines for ages to come.
Guide to the Storage of Wine
It is said that wines taste better with age. However, the inexpensive wines which we often pick off the supermarket shelves are not made to age for long. Red wines can be stored for 2 to10 years, provided you store them properly. White wines are not made to last that longer, hence should be consumed within 2 to 3 years of storage.
Where to Store Wine
As mentioned above, underground wine cellars and wine caves are ideal places for storing wine. Now since that isn't a practical option anymore, your basement can be considered as the next best thing. Basement also offers cool, dark and humid conditions, which are just perfect for the wine to sustain and age.
If that is also not possible, then a closet which can shield light can be considered for wine storage. Wherever you decide to store the wine, just make sure it is dark and completely devoid of sunlight. Sunlight ruins wine like nothing else. Most wine bottles come with a UV shield to control the amount of UV entering the bottle.
However, this is never enough and some amount of damage is always done. Wine refrigerator is another best way to store wine, as it is dedicated to wine storage alone. Using a regular refrigerator is not recommended, since the frequent opening and closing of the door can make the wine unstable. Also the vibrations are considered unhealthy for wine.
Ideal Temperature to Store Wine
Setting proper wine storage temperature control is very important if you wish to store your wine for long. Ideally, you should store wine at a constant temperature of 54°F (12.2°C). Temperature setting varies slightly when you store red wine and white wine. Fluctuations in the temperature may prevent the sediment from settling in wine and may ruin it. The temperature range of 68 to 73°F, is ideal for aging as well as storing wine. Below 54°F, the aging process begins to slow down. A temperature of 75°F is a point at which oxidation of the wine begins which eventually renders it completely useless.
Wines prefer high humidity, which assists in better aging. Humidity also prevents the drying up of cork and its subsequent shrinkage which may lead to oxygen entering the bottle. The recommended humidity level for storing wine is 70%. Above that, mold growth is possible. A hygrometer may help you in checking the moisture levels in your storage.
How to Store Wine at Home
Wine bottle should be stored on its side, with label side up. This enables the cork to keep contact with wine, which prevents it from drying. One should also avoid storing wine at home with other strong odorous materials in refrigerator. As wine breathes, the strong odors eventually get mixed with wine, spoiling its taste and flavor. Isolating the wine is the best way you can preserve its flavor and taste. Also, once you store a bottle, avoid its repositioning from the wine rack, unless you intend to drink it. The stabler it remains, the better.
Some companies in the US store wine professionally for a small fee. Thus, if you possess an expensive or rare wine, this could be your safest way to preserve it until you drink it.