Posted on May 06 2016
Storing wine is something that is both very important for the quality of your wine and confusing to do properly!
Wine is a vulnerable thing. After spending time and money choosing it, you probably want it to be delicious when you open the bottle. And, if you do store it correctly, then you give it the best chance to be as delicious as it can be.
So, what are the criteria for storing wine?
- Keep it cool.
- Keep it humid.
- Keep it dark.
- Keep it on its side (if it has a cork).
- Keep it still.
These are the main variables to consider when storing wine. Let's deal with them one by one.
- Wine likes to be cool. Ideally this would be between 10-15 degrees Celsius, but you might find it hard to do that without a wine cabinet or cellar. So, what to do? Well, in reality we would advise you keep the wines under 22 degrees celsius as much as you can. But, here is the important step - it is the fluctuation in temperature that will eventually cause the wine to spoil. If it has to be in warmer temperatures, make sure it doesn't fluctuate by more than 3 degrees over the seasons. We advise you buy a digital thermometer and keep it where you intend to store the wine to make sure the fluctuations are not too dramatic - a good place may be an under stair cupboard, an unheated larder or an insulated garage.
- So now the wine is cool, but how about the all important humidity? Cork is a natural product and thus breathes, unlike a synthetic enclosure. If the cork dries out it will shrink and allow air in (and wine out!). You can buy all sorts of expensive cellar conditioners and humidifiers - and if you have a significant collection this may be worth it for you. However, if you are storing a few dozen bottles under you stairs then butting a bowl of water in the room will allow for some humidity. Ideally it should be between 50-70% humidity in the room - another thing that can be tested using digital kit.
- Strong light is certainly damaging to wine, changing the taste over time. This can be particularly so for sparkling wine, which is often in clear bottles. Keep your storage space dark and that is one less way for your wine to go off.
- By keeping wine on its side the liquid will remain in contact with the cork - another great way to keep it humid and stopping it from shrinking.
- Your wine doesn't like to dance... or vibrate. So, don't keep it next to a washing machine or drier or anything else that can shake it!
We'd all like a gleaming mansion with a beautiful cellar. But here at Hook & Ford Mansions we are well aware that that is not always a reality. If, however, you follow the above advice then your wine should live a long and delicious life.