It’s a terrific day when your schedule includes a trip to the wine shop! It’s your chance to stock up on your favourites while also trying something new. You’re confident about your flavours, but are you as confident in your knowledge of how to properly store wine? Are you aware of the ideal temperatures and conditions for preserving your carefully selected wine?

The best way to store wine

Having a Wine Cellar vs. Not Having a Wine Cellar

Location: Keep it Cool and Especially Keep it Away From Natural Light

When it comes to wine storage, your best bet is to keep your bottles away from natural light and ideally somewhere a little cooler than average room temperature. Bottles made with non-clear glass will offer varying rates of protection. Generally speaking, the darker and thicker-walled the better, but some amount of UV light will still be able to penetrate the glass. Light-damaged wine will often develop unpleasant musty aromas and tastes from the slow formation of sulphurus compounds; but, this can be easily avoided if you have free space in your pantry or anywhere that you can store your wines behind closed doors. If you have a basement, use it! They're naturally resistant to temperature changes and tend to take care of the natural light issue without any additional effort. If everything else fails and you don't have a basement or free space in the pantry, keep your wine in a container or wrap it in a tea towel.

Set it and Leave it

Store wine bottles with cork closures on their sides to ensure the corks stay moistened while they are cellaring. Once you've stored the wine, don't move it until you're ready to enjoy it. If you have access to a wine cellar this is ideal because you can control the temperature while ensuring that the wine is not moved around or disturbed; but otherwise, try to find somewhere in your home that is less-travelled where you are not likely to bump into them or need to move them to access something else.

Consistency is Key

The most critical aspect of wine storage is maintaining a consistent temperature. A wine cooler or cellar will come in handy here, but if that isn't an option then the next best thing you can do is keep your bottles in your basement. If you intend to keep the wine for more than a year, it must be temperature-regulated. A temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.8 Celsius) is optimal, but even average basement temperature of 15-18°C will do the trick . Allowing the temperature to rise above 24 degrees Celsius or allowing the temperature to fluctuate may cause the wine to deteriorate. To keep the cork from drying out you will need to keep the humidity level at less than 60 percent, which will also help to keep mould at bay.

White wines can be kept in the fridge for 2-5 days after opening, and red wines will last up to 5 days if you can put the cork back in. It should be noted that the more you open them over the following days the quicker they will deteriorate.

Typically, inexpensive wines whether they are red or white should be consumed within 2-3 years of purchase, while some reds intended for cellaring can last up to ten years or even more. Usually, bottles that are more expensive and higher in tannins can be kept for longer and will improve with age—true to the famous adage—ageing like fine wine. Funnily enough, often times more expensive wines intended for cellaring are no more palatable than cheaper alternatives while still in their youth. They need time to properly mature in-bottle to show their true depth and complexity.


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