How to store wine?
Why is it so important to store wine correctly? Why are champagnes stored in underground cellars? Why do we store wines at controlled temperatures, away from heat and direct light even in our homes? Why should you never leave behind a bottle of wine in the car with a chance of overheating it? All this is because constant change in temperatures or being exposed to extreme heat or cold can alter the taste of wine. Not storing it right over a period of time can damage the wine, oxidise it and render it undrinkable. It can lose it aromas, flavours and freshness. Whether you are storing wine to drink in the near future or buying them to drink later, it never hurts to keep the following tips in mind:
- You can store wines at cool room temperature (18-20°C) but away from heat and direct sunlight. A wine cellar or cooling unit is not mandatory. However, this is applicable only if you wanted to store the wines for a short period of time (2-3 weeks) before consumption.
- Don’t store wines in the refrigerator / freezer at low temperatures for too long. For white wines, chill for 2 hours before you plan to drink them. 30 minutes for red wines would be sufficient.
- Make sure you don’t expose the wine to rapid, extreme or frequent temperature changes.
- For wines with corks, don’t store them upright but rather keep them lying down. This keeps the cork moist, preventing it from going dry. Dry corks crack and allow air in to the wine, thereby oxidising them. This will spoil your wine. This is not applicable for screw caps or plastic corks.
- Don’t store your wines in the kitchen, storage or laundry room to avoid exposing them to heat.
- If you plan to collect wines to drink later, then it is advisable to invest in a wine cellar as this will store your wines better over a period of years. Keep this cellar in a cool place and you won’t run a big electricity bill.
Another thing to remember is that most white wines are usually made to be drunk young; as soon as they are out. That’s when they are at their freshest best. It is usually the red wines that are capable of aging. If you are taking the effort to store and age the wine, might as well take the effort to know if the wine is actually worthy of the time, effort and cost. Internet is a good way to know if the wine has a potential to age and even though you might want to save some wines for the future, drink them at their peak and not wait too long, lest they start to decline. That would only be a terrible waste of a good wine. Remember only 3% of the wines made in the world are can improve with ageing for more than 2 years and beyond!