To store wine, one must first consider what kind is going into storage. Is it the sort that will be consumed immediately, or before six months? Will it last for over six months? Or has it already been opened but re-corked and stored, again? There are certain techniques that go into storing wine at home, which you must keep in mind before starting out on a wine collection.
Things to Consider
Deciding on the purpose of storing wine, is an important criterion that must be considered. Let's take a look at how different kinds of wine need to be stored.
For Immediate Use
If you plan on having the wine you've bought within six months, or gradually over a couple of days or weeks, keeping these wines in a box in the closet would do fine. This ensures that the wine is at a good temperature to keep the cork moist, while eliminating the chance of evaporating. It is also good to keep these in a closet which is movement-free and not in the presence of items that give off any strong smells. Keeping these in the refrigerator isn't advisable, since its compressor is in constant vibration mode and the inbuilt lights give off heat and excess light. Also, to keep it close to perishable items like vegetables and fruits, or cheese for that matter, isn't good.
For Later Use
Wine needs to be stored in a room with a temperature of about 50 to 55 °F, with humidity levels maintained at 70% or more. It keeps the bottles' corks moist and doesn't permit evaporation. Mold growth is inevitable due to the presence of moisture in the air, which could also cause the labels to peel. The lower the wine cellar temperature, the slower the wine takes to age; keeping it at a constant temperature is key to help the wine age better. UV rays aren't supposed to penetrate wine bottles or be present anywhere close to them, which can lead to what is called 'lightstruck wines', turning them into nasty-tasting stuff that smells like damp cardboard that's been left out in the sun. Even normal fluorescent light can turn exposed sparkling wine into something quite unpleasant.
There are three optional ways that wine collectors store their wine. Depending on what resources are available to you, get started on the process.
Closet Wine Cellar
If you're wondering where to store the wine, you can turn your closet into a wine cellar, especially if it doesn't serve a different storage purpose. It's a tedious task to turn it into a cellar, but worth the trouble in the end. When making this, you have to be sure to cement the walls to act as a gluing agent to hold up foam boards. Weather-stripping then needs to be attached to the main-entry door, to trap cool air and eliminate heat from entering the room. Cellars have to be kept cool with devices that are specially designed to do just that. Also, doors have to be made from heavy-duty steel to aid insulation. Weather strips can be glued down to this, as well, for added effect.
If you already have a pre-constructed wine cellar, then kudos to you! You've just started out on your collection and embraced your love for wine, full on. This is by far the best way to store wine, where a closet cellar would do well, second in line. You can put up wine racks in a systematic order and arrange bottles either alphabetically or chronologically depending on what suits you best. Make sure that the atmosphere and setting is ideal, since any glitch in the plan could have you losing big bucks if the wines go bad.
- Use incandescent lights in your cellar, and avoid the presence of strong, harsh lights, or sunlight.
- Wines have to be completely still in a wine rack, without so much as a tremor passing through them. Make sure you space the wine bottles apart, or in orderly rows, so that you don't disturb their stationary positions.
- Depending on what type of wine you're stocking, the storage time will differ. Like say for red wines, the time frame can range from 2-10 years, depending on its content. Some white wines can age up to 20 years, with others holding a shelf life of hardly 2-3 years. Therefore, when buying these, make sure you know their contents in detail and have store owners or wine collectors give you their advice on how to store them.
- Temperatures should remain constant and shouldn't elevate beyond 3 °F in a day and 5 °F in a year. For specifics on how to store certain wines, go by these figures―Rose/dry/blush white wine (46 to 57 °F), light red wine (55 °F), champagne and sparkling wines (43 to 47 °F), and deep-red wine (59 to 66 °F).
- Wines shouldn't be stored in an upright position, but labeled side up, to avoid air from seeping into the bottle, spoiling it over time.
Due to the temperature being set at a desirable degree, the wines are ensured proper exposure for them to age; opening and closing doors will cause movement, hampering the aging process. Depending again on the wines stored, the temperatures will differ in a wine refrigerator.
Knowing the dynamics that go into storing wine is key when starting a collection of your own, which is an undertaking that needs prior consideration. With the above guidelines, you'll have nothing to fret about. Cheers!