How To Properly Store Your Wine
In our line of profession, being Butlers and all, Thomas and I are around a lot of wine. Most of the time we are given bottles whenever we have finished with an event and the promotor will give us a bottle (or two) of each type of wine we had served that evening as a “Job Well Done” type of thing. Or, it’s because they don’t want to carry all that wine back to their car, I’m not quite clear, but regardless of the reason, it is always appreciated. So, you can imagine that after a few events, our wine collection is taking up most of my kitchen/bar space. My quandary is, what shall I drink now, and what to put in the chiller?
Unless you have your very own wine cellar, most of us are regulated to whatever storage area we have in our house; basement, home bar, behind the house plants, etc etc. but when you come across a bottle or two that you do want to save for a few years (or a few decades) it’s important to make sure you’re saving that wine the right way.
The best thing you can do for your wine is to keep it at a cool, stable temperature. If your wine gets hot, it can end up with flat aromas and flavours. The ideal temperature to store wine is between 45-65 degrees (7-18 Celsius ), and you never want it to go over 70 degree (21 degree Celsius). Your fridge isn’t really the right place (unless you’re storing that white wine you plan on drinking for dinner) because it gets too cold and might dry out the corks. Instead, opt for a nice spot in your basement or the back of a closet that stays cool. Or, if you’re storing several bottles, break open the piggy bank and splurge for a wine fridge.
Turn Out the Lights
Light is the conquer of wine (and beer in clear bottles). Make sure where you choose to store your wine it stays dark and isn’t getting exposed to direct sunlight.
Getting exposed to sunlight can make your wine prematurely age and degrade the overall quality of your wine. A long time ago I heard a tale that one should use regular bulbs over fluorescent light due to the latter able to penetrate the bottle easier. Not sure if that is true, it’s just what I’ve heard over the years. If you are a scientist reading this, please correct me if I’m in error…
Laying Down on The Job
Have you noticed that wine racks are for storing your bottles on their side? Of course you have, and you already know the reason, so I need not explain it to you. But since this an informative article I will explain briefly. Wine bottles (corked) are placed on their side so that the wine reaches the cork, so it stays wet, which equals the cork staying wet and prevents it from drying out. Don’t bother worrying too much about wines with screw caps or plastic corks on their side (you can), but corked wines should always be stored sideways.
Don’t Rock the Boat
Once you have your wine are sorted and comfortably laying on its side, try to let it sleep as much as you can, that is, don’t move it around from location to location. Let it rest. Unnecessary vibrations some say, may impact the quality of your wine over long periods of time. While a few bumps every now and then probably aren’t going to do much, it’s best to limit the movement of those bottles as much as you can.
Please don’t forget about your precious bottles once you have safely put them down for a long winters nap. Get online and check out what other people are saying. Your wine may be safe for many years in storage or, maybe not! I can’t think of a worse situation than opening my prized bottle only to find out that I should have drank it 5 years ago. It never hurts to label your wines as well so you can see at a glance when is the ideal date to open.