No matter what you tipple is; white, red, pink or sparkling, storing your wine correctly is essential. Simply putting your favourite bottle above the fridge and forgetting about it for a year could drastically alter the taste, then, when you come to enjoy it at that special occasion, it might not be as favourable as you hoped.
Despite wines being a perishable commodity, properly caring for and storing your wine can actually improve its’ aroma, flavour, texture and complexity over time.
Step 1: How long are you storing your wine for?
The first decision to make is how long you are planning to store your wine for. Generally short term storage means 3 to 6 months and should be your cheaper, less cherished wines, where as long term can mean decades and should be reserved for your quality, precious wines.
Step 2: Correct storage conditions
Whether it’s short or long term storage the same rules apply, firstly and most crucially the bottles should be laid horizontally instead of upright, this ensures the cork remains moist, to stop it drying out.
It is essential to keep the wines in a vibration free environment so they can not move about, therefore on top of electrical appliances or a place subject to external forces (i.e. from a subway) should be avoided.
Wine can be greatly affected by its surrounding temperature; the ideal temperature is roughly 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12°C). Bottles should be kept out of drafts and any temperature change should be very gradual.
Additionally light can negatively impact on a wine, which is why some wine bottles are made of coloured glass. Wine must be kept out of direct sun light, since too much light can react with proteins in wine, forming a haze and bad aromas to pollute its’ flavour.
For long term storage, the correct atmospheric conditions are required. Humidity has to be very high, approximately 70% or more, in order to stop the cork drying out and to reduce the chance of wine evaporating. Also when storing long term, consider the wines surroundings, ensure there are no other foods or liquids that could be absorbed into the wine itself. Substances with strong aromas for example fuel or vinegar must be kept elsewhere!
Step 3: Enjoy
When the time comes to pop the cork and savour all your hard work, drink responsibly but do try to finish bottles within a few days of opening, since as soon as the wine is exposed to air it starts mixing with oxygen. This is known as oxidation, which also alters the essence of the wine.
Correct wine storage is fundamental for any serious wine lover, enthusiast or even hobbyist. The most effective storage is in a wine cellar, since numerous bottles can be kept conveniently out of sight yet in the perfect conditions.