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Home Wine Basics How to Store Wine

How to Store Wine

Stored wine does not remain static. It ages. Aging your wine properly involves being in control of the rate of change. You also want to have your wine age in just the right way. In order to age your wine properly, you need to control such environmental factors as air, humidity, light, temperature, and vibrations.

If you allow too much fresh air into your wine storage area, you may actually cause your wine to spoil. High levels of oxygen cause oxidation. This basically means that the wine ages too quickly. You can minimize this problem by using high quality glass containers and corks. There is plenty of air trapped inside the bottle to create the proper aging rate if your bottles are not too small or large. Just make sure your wine bottles are stored horizontally to keep the corks moist, which will prevent the cork from drying.

Generally the ideal humidity to maintain your corks is about 70%. If you get below this, they corks may dry out, but if you go above this, you may encourage mold on the corks and storage racks.

Temperature is equally important. Cold corks will shrink. Cold wines will age very slowly. On the other hand, warm wines will age too quickly. Quick or frequent temperature changes can be even worse.

Moderate temperatures are the reason why cellars are ideal for wine storage. The ideal temperature range for the storage area is about 45F to 55F. In warmer areas you may need some kind of refrigeration to maintain this temperature range. If you only have a small collection, a wine cabinet will be more efficient.

Light is an often forgotten aspect of aging. This type of aging makes the wine repugnant. Light increases oxidation rates. UV filtration bottles can help, but they aren't perfect solutions. So you'll want to keep the bottles away from sunlight and fluorescent lights.

Vibrations cause constant stirring of your wines. This can age the wine and also cause breakdowns of bottles and racks.

If you ever open your wines and will not be finishing them within a few days, you will need to put them in smaller bottles that hold less air and re-cork them.

Wine Aging

If you purchase a good wine, you'll need to age it just right to get good flavor. In general, a Cabernet Sauvignon should be aged five to six years, Merlot three to four years, Syrah three to five years, Chardonnay no more than five years, and California Riesling three to four years. Follow the proper guidelines and you'll have perfectly aged wine.