Is there anything worse than opening up a bottle of wine that you were very excited to try, just to find that it somehow spoiled overnight? After all, wine can come at a higher price point than some of the other adult beverages on the market — and it’s also one of the more precarious types of alcohol storage-wise.
Whether you’re a casual wine enthusiast or an educated wine connoisseur, wine is typically understood to be an investment — one that requires careful consideration when it comes to the way it’s stored.
Wine is essentially fermented grape juice, and juice spoils easily when it’s not stored at the proper temperature or in the right conditions. The same will happen with wines — that’s why it’s so important to properly store wine in order to prolong both its lifespan and its body of flavor.
Now, there are some types of wine that shouldn’t be stored for a prolonged period of time — for example, a cheaper bottle of wine doesn’t need to be saved for a long time because it won’t make it taste any better or make it worth more money in the end. In fact, it will probably spoil.
But fine wine can last several years with the proper storage and its flavors will also continue to get better as it ages. But this will only occur if you’re taking care to safely store your bottles of wine.
Here are some important things to know in order to store your wine correctly so it does not spoil prematurely:
Store Bottles on Their Side
Most (if not all) fine wines will be bottled with a natural cork, which means these bottles must be stored on their side. Doing so keeps the cork moist, and having a cork dry out can lead to it letting air into the wine and increased evaporation over time.
A dried-out cork could even eventually fall into the bottle over time! Regardless, keeping your high-end wine stored on its side will avoid many of these issues from occurring.
Store in Dim Light
Exposing your wine to light should always be kept to a minimum. Direct sunlight or even artificial light is known to react with wine’s phenolic compounds, spoiling it quickly.
Storing it in a dark place will not only ensure that it is kept in cooler, more humid conditions but also prevents UV rays from penetrating the bottle and prematurely aging the wine past the point of perfection.
Store in Proper, Consistent Temperatures
Heat is the primary culprit for destroying a wine’s viability. Temperatures higher than 70° F will age a wine faster than is typically desired, and anything hotter than that will “cook” the wine, resulting in flat flavors and aromas.
You will want to store your wine between 45° F and 65° F, because anything lower than this can dry out your cork or freeze the wine and build up pressures to push out the cork over time.
Most important of all, you will want to keep temperatures consistent at all times to avoid issues with excessive heating and cooling temperatures affecting the wine’s quality. Massive fluctuations in temperature can cause the fluids in the bottle to expand and contract, potentially damaging the cork’s integrity. Aim for consistency around temperature levels at all times for optimum results.
Store in a Secure Location
Too much movement of a bottle can interfere with the aging process and shake up the sediment. If you’re saving any special bottles for a certain occasion, keep them in a secure location and don’t move them until you’re ready to pop the cork and enjoy!
You also want to keep your stored bottles of wine away from any overwhelming odors like food or trash. These odors can permeate the cork and taint the flavors of the wine over time. Keep your storage area away from common areas like the kitchen or by cleaning supplies in the basement.
It’s best to find a designated spot for a wine rack in a dark corner or closet that maintains a cool, steady temperature away from the light.
Store with an End Date in Mind
As we mentioned earlier, not all wine is meant to age over time. In fact, the majority of wine you can purchase in your local grocery store or wine store won’t last more than a year or two.
No, there’s no specific expiration date that you’ll find on the bottle, but it’s best to consume most wine within a reasonable timeframe.
Typically, most bottled red wine can spend up to three years in storage, and bottled white wine for a year or two at the most.
If you’re in the market for a wine that will last ten years or more in the proper storage conditions, you will want to work with a knowledgeable wine vendor who will help you select the proper balance of tannins and sugars.
When in Doubt, Store with Morningstar Storage
It’s not uncommon to lack the space or resources to keep your growing wine collection safe and secure during the aging process. That’s why Morningstar Storage offers wine storage options that ensure temperature, humidity, and light control all while keeping your collection safe and secure, 24/7.
We understand the storage space needs of wine collectors and winemakers alike, that’s why we provide climate-controlled wine storage units in a variety of sizes. These units are designed specifically to house your wine collection, from small case lots to the largest requirements.
Our climate and humidity-controlled units keep your wines stored at the perfect temperature, with 65-70% humidity and the highest quality air. These storage units also feature motion-activated light sensors so your collection is exposed to light on a very limited basis.
Our secure facilities allow only you and those you designate to enter your storage space, with around-the-clock surveillance and monitoring on-premise.