Once you’ve acquired a nice collection of wine, the question becomes – how do I store it all?!?
Well, if you don’t have a wine cellar – and of course, many of us do not – then pay attention to these tips to ensure your wine stays in tip top shape until you’re able to pop that cork.
1. Lay Them Down
Laying your wine on its side keeps the wine against the cork which keeps the cork wet. If the cork dries out it can allow air into the bottle and start the oxidizing process (which is what makes your wine lose aroma and flavor!)
However, if you’re planning on drinking the bottles soon, or if the bottles have screw caps or synthetic corks, it’s not necessary to lay it down. (Though it doesn’t hurt…)
2. Keep It Cool, But Not Too Cool
Heat is wine’s enemy! In addition, don’t keep your wine in an area with large temperature fluctuations (more than 10–15°F), as it’s detrimental to its aging process.
Higher than 80° F: Your wine may get “cooked” = flat aromas and flavors.
Between 70° F and 80° F: Your wine may age too quickly.
Between 45° F and 65° F: The ideal temperature range! Don’t worry if your storage runs a couple degrees warmer, but don’t store it that way for more than a few years. The “magic” storage temperature is between 55 and 57° F.
Below 45° F: Most household refrigerators are colder than this, so don’t keep your wine in the fridge for more than a few months. The lack of moisture could dry out the cork, and the cold slows down the aging process, which many wines actually want (and need) to reach their full potential.
Below freezing: If you keep your wine somewhere it could freeze — an unheated garage in winter, forgotten for hours in the freezer — the liquid turning to ice, could expand enough to push the cork out.
3. Don’t Wait Too Long!
Don’t wait too long to open that special bottle… After a wine peaks, it’s decline can happen quickly. It’s always better to open a wine early – and decant or aerate it – than too late. And remember, few wines actually NEED aging, so don’t stress it and pop that cork!
“Great wine works wonders and is itself one.”
– Edward Steinberg, Making of a Great Wine