Keep Your Wine at its Best
Now that you’ve got your wine, how can you store it to ensure it tastes its best? There are some cardinal rules about storing unopened bottles of wine that all wine enthusiasts should follow.
The worst thing for wine? Heat. That’s why, if you’ve ever tried to ship yourself wine and live in a hot climate, you’ll pay a large fee to overnight the wine. Heat can definitely ruin a wine if it’s left out for too long. Anything over 70 degrees F will age a wine much more quickly. If you’re storing your wine above 70 degrees F, you can actually start to “cook” your wine. This will cause the flavor and smell to go flat. So, what’s the best temperature for storing wine? Experts agree that 55 degrees F is the best, but anything within 45-65 degrees F is acceptable.
While heat is wine’s number one enemy, cold can also do damage to your delicious wine. This is why you want to avoid storing wine in your refrigerator. When the temperate gets too cold, the cork can dry out, letting air seep into the bottle and damage the wine. Also, never keep your wine somewhere that could potentially result in freezing (like a very cold basement). This could cause the wine to turn into ice, expand, and push the cork out. Not a mess you want to clean up!
Unless you live in a really humid or dry climate, judging the humidity can be tricky. Experts agrees that wines should be stored at around 70 percent humidity. Anything less could cause the corks to dry out. Anything more humid could cause mold and can damage the label. A range of acceptable humidities is 50-80 percent. So, unless you live in the desert, or a tropical rainforest, humidity will probably not be an issue.
Avoid storing wine in direct sunlight, which can cause damage to wine. The UV rays in the sun can age wine prematurely. That’s why many wines come in dark bottles – it’s to prevent premature aging and damage to the wine.
Wine bottles are typically stored on their side to keep the liquid up against the cork. This helps to prevent the cork for drying out. But, if your bottles are screwcap or have plastic corks, you don’t need to store your wine sideways. Furthermore, if you plan to consume your wine in the near future, storing them upright won’t be a problem.