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Looking After Your Valuables: Storing Wine

18 April 2014

Storing your wine properly means that your wine will age well, and taste good when you decide to drink it. It makes a difference to both the flavour and the character.Wine storage

Wine will go bad, as it is made from food and the alcohol content isn’t high enough to prevent it going off.

The way to store your wine will often depend on the wine itself. For instance, most cheap wines are designed to be consumed within a few days of opening and within approximately a year of bottling. These wines are usually given screw-cap tops.

More expensive wine is designed to get better with age, which is why proper storage is essential.

A Dusty Cellar?
Wine storage might make you think of a dry cellar with lots of dust covered bottles of vintage red, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be this grandiose or expensive. Follow these tips for perfect wine storage.

Temperature
This is one of the most important things when it comes to storing wine. A consistent temperature between 7-18 degrees Celsius is preferable with 12 degrees cited as perfect. Temperatures higher than around 21 degrees will speed up the wine’s ageing process and may even cook it. If your storage is a little warmer than ideal, don’t worry. As long as you plan on opening your wine within a couple of years of its release, it should be fine.

Consistency is the key when it comes to temperature, which is why you should avoid keeping your wine in the kitchen for a long period of time. Instead try and keep it somewhere that stays the same temperature the whole year round. Now this is where a basement or a cellar does come in handy. However, as long as the change is gradual, and it doesn’t fluctuate more than too much, you can keep your wine wherever you think is fit. You could invest in something to stabilize the temperature, but this is really only for the real wine connoisseur.

If you plan on opening your wine within a couple of months, then you can keep it in the fridge. However, the standard fridge temperature falls below 7 degrees and the lack of moisture could dry out corks, which could allow air to damage the wine.

Don’t freeze wine in the bottle, as it can push the cork out.

Humidity
The ideal humidity level for wine is around 70%. This is for the corks. A cork’s purpose is to keep air out, and so your wine needs to be at the optimum humidity for the cork to keep its shape. They need to be at a humidity level that doesn’t dry them out, but isn’t too damp as to cause mould. Mould doesn’t affect the contents of the bottle, but it does affect the quality of the label.

However, unless you live in the desert or the arctic, you needn’t worry about the cork drying out. Mould might be more of an issue if you live in Britain, but if the temperature is relatively cold then the mould should be kept at bay. You can buy a dehumidifier if you’re really keen on preventing mould.

Darkness
Wine should be stored in darkness so that ultraviolet light doesn’t prematurely age your wine. For long term storage, you should avoid leaving your wine in the light, which is why wine is stored in coloured glass. Light from household bulbs probably won’t damage your wine, but you should play it safe and avoid long term exposure to any light.

Sideways
Traditionally bottles are stored on their side to make sure that the liquid is up against the cork, preventing it from drying out. Horizontal racking is the most efficient way to store your wine too.

Do you have any more tips for storing wine? Take a look at our tips for storing art work too.

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