Most wine is meant to be enjoyed within a few years of its release. Red wines can generally be stored for up to three years, whereas whites should only be stored for one to two years. Fine wines are a different story and can last much longer while increasing in value and quality, but if you are in this league of collecting, then your investment needs some serious storage that will protect those assets. For those who want to store their collections successfully, here are some tips to follow.
Temperature, Humidity, and Light
These are the three most important considerations when it comes to wine storage. Wine needs to be kept at a stable temperature with no fluctuations that can cause the cork to expand and contract. The ideal temperature for long- or short-term storage is 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The optimum humidity level is 70%. Wine needs to be protected from the UV rays of direct sunlight that can damage the flavors and aromas. This is why most wine is stored in colored glass – built-in sunglasses for your beverage.
Achieving These Optimums at Home
If you have more than 4-5 bottles on your wine rack, you may want to consider better storage facilities. If you are fortunate enough to have a basement, you could turn this into your cellar. Some simple DIY can provide you with racks for storage. Corked wines need to be stored horizontally to keep the wine moist. With screw tops, glass, or plastic corks, this is not necessary but horizontal storage is efficient for maximum use of space and easy access.
A cupboard or small room, or even a section of the garage can also be used for storage but avoid the kitchen, laundry room, boiler room, and areas near a window or too much foot traffic. The worst place to keep it is on top of the refrigerator. The vibrations from the compressor disturb the sediment, which adversely affects the aging process. The top of the fridge is also too warm for optimum storage, and the kitchen has too many odors like food and trash that could permeate the cork and taint the wine. In addition, it is too light up there, so avoid it at all costs even though it may seem convenient.
To obtain the correct humidity level, you could place a container of water in the storage area to improve conditions.
A wine refrigerator is a great investment and can optimize your storage potential. Standalone or under-counter units are available that are designed to maintain consistent temperatures with humidity control (unlike a regular refrigerator), away from light and vibrations. Some options have duel temperature settings to keep reds and whites at their best, ready to drink temperatures.
Larger Collection Storage
If you have an ample collection that you are perhaps intending to resell in the future, perhaps it is better to use a company that offers wine storage in ideal conditions, such as Underground Cellar. This type of service will hold your wine purchased and deliver it to you on request.
Poor storage can spoil even the greatest wines, so be sure to consider these options for your collection, big or small.