Wine is usually stored for a while before consuming it, as it tastes very good once it ages and matures. It also has a more refined color, aroma, and taste. The different varieties of this drink require different storage temperatures. The concept of wine storage, aging, and maturity is an art in itself, and the temperature at which it is stored is a major contributing factor to this process.
Aging and Maturity
You must have heard that wine that is centuries old always tastes very good. This is because, after it is prepared and bottled, sugar, acids, phenolic compounds, and tannins are found in it in various complex combinations. As time progresses, it evolves and becomes more refined. However, this process involves a very delicate combination of reactions and substances that take place within it, that tend to be very unpredictable.
These combinations and reactions are significantly affected by three factors, light, humidity, and temperature. The more stable they are, the better is the wine. According to Coates Law of Maturity (which is used to asses the quality of wine), the duration of aging and maturity, and the peak drinking or tasting period are almost congruent.
Wine requires a constant and stable environment to age and mature, and even a slight change in light, humidity, or temperature tends to affect its quality substantially. Enologists always predict only the end result of the storage process on the basis of several factors, such as the grape or fruit content, and the brewing and fermentation process.
However, the end result can be quite different from what has been predicted. The chemical reactions are highly versatile, and almost infinite in number. For this very reason, wine bottles would be buried or stored in deep caves or cellars in France, where the probability of them being disturbed was almost nil. The resultant drink would be fantastically aged and matured, with the perfect aroma, color, taste, and density.
The temperature at which the wine can be stored varies as per its origin and type. Though an absolutely balanced environment is not possible to obtain, a proper temperature ensures that it ages and matures properly. There are several organic compounds and esters found in this drink, and the reaction between them has to be delicately balanced and controlled.
These reactions, which also involve several other compounds, take place in a very well-balanced manner at 56 to 58 ºF (about 14 ºC). They tend to go off balance as the temperature rises or falls. There are several other temperature ranges that are considered ideal, for example, the ranges 50-55 ºF (10-16 ºC) is believed to be a realistically achievable range. It even goes up to 18 ºC for faster aging and maturity.
Different types of wine require different storage temperatures. Given below are some examples.
- Red wine (the full-bodied variety which is rich and dark) can be stored at a temperature ranging from 59-68 ºF (15-20 ºC).
- The lighter and less denser variety, on the other hand, is stored at 54-57 ºF (12-13 ºC).
- For the dry varieties like Rose and Blush, 46-57 ºF (7-13 ºC) is considered to be an ideal range.
- Champagne and sparkling wines are stored at 43-47 ºF (6-8 ºC).
- White wine is stored between 53-57 ºF (11-13 ºC).
The aforementioned temperatures have been rounded off for the sake of convenience. You will have to check with your wine manufacturer for the ideal temperature, and also for the ideal position in which it is to be stored. The information sticker on the carton often contains such information. There are refrigerators which have the precise temperature settings that are very helpful for preserving, storing, maturing, and aging the wine.