Whether you pour a glass of vino to celebrate a special occasion or wind down after a stressful day at work, you’ll want to make sure it’s going to be tasty. That’s why it’s a good idea to know how to store wine.
Maybe you have a collection of some of the finest wines from your Napa travels or a few bottles you set aside for a quiet night at your place. Whatever the case, we’re here to make sense of how to store wine at home, as our guide provides all the pro tips to help ensure your wine tastes like a dream every time.
But before we dive into all the best ways to store wine, we need to get a few things straight.
Why Is Proper Wine Storage Important?
Believe it or not, wine is sensitive. It can spoil if it’s exposed to factors like direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, strong odors, and fluctuating humidity levels. Even the way you position it in storage can play a role in its shelf life.
Because of this, it’s important to find storage for wine that will keep your vino in tip-top shape.
Can I Store Every Kind of Bottle of Wine the Same Way?
No, not all wine should receive the same kind of treatment.
For starters, there’s a big difference between the $20 bottle of wine you picked up at the grocery store and the $2,000 vintage bottle you got from a French vineyard in Burgundy.
That $20 bottle probably isn’t meant to be stored for years. To be honest, it can go off in that amount of time, so it’s best to enjoy it within a year or two. However, if you have a fine wine from a world-renowned vineyard, it will likely get better with time, so it’s OK if it ages while in storage. In fact, we encourage you to let your fine wine age!
So, what does this mean for your collection? It’s best to have a temporary, easily-accessible storage option for your everyday wine and a more long-term storage solution for your fine wine.
How Should Wine be Stored After Opening?
Unfortunately, most wines don’t last more than three to five days, no matter where they came from or how expensive they were.
To help prolong its shelf life, be sure to tightly seal the wine bottle with a cork to avoid too much oxygen from entering the bottle, which can cause the wine to spoil. If you really want to get fancy, you can look into special corking systems, gas preservations, pumps, or vacuums that help remove or reduce oxygenation.
It’s also a good idea to refrigerate the wine after opening it—yes, even red wine! If you don’t like the taste of chilled red wine, simply let it reach room temperature on the countertop before consuming it.
With that in mind, let’s get into some of our tips for storing wine.
Tip 1: Assess Your Wine Collection
What kind of wine are we working with here? Are you a casual wine drinker who stocks up on Two-Buck Chuck? Or are you more of a connoisseur who only drinks the finest selections?
If you fall into the first category, then a short-term storage solution is best because the majority of wine doesn’t last more than a few years anyway. White wine usually only stays good for a year or two, while red wine tends to last until around the three-year mark.
While you’re assessing your collection, see if any of these wine bottles have expiration dates. Of course, toss and recycle any that are past their expiry date and make a note to consume those coming up to theirs.
On the other hand, if you have a collection of vintages, you’ll want a longer-term solution where you can keep your bottles in good condition for years to come.
While inventorying your wines, also consider how many bottles you have. Do you have just a few bottles on hand, or have you accumulated crates of them over time? Understanding how many bottles you have will determine what size storage solution you need.
Tip 2: Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Extreme or fluctuating temperatures won’t do any favors for your wine collection.
If temperatures dip especially low, they can cause the wine to freeze, which could cause the bottle to crack and the wine to spoil.
Heat can do a number on your collection as well. Temperatures over 70 degrees F can taint the wine, while temperatures over 80 degrees F may “cook” it—which is exactly what it sounds like. Furthermore, storing it in hot weather can put pressure on the cork and push it out, causing the wine to leak.
When it comes to the best temperature range for the storage of wine, we recommend 45 to 65 degrees F, with the sweet spot around 55 degrees F.
Tip 3: Consider Humidity Levels
Like temperature, humidity levels play a role in how well your wine keeps in storage. Too much humidity can cause mold to grow, while too little can cause the cork to crack and wine to evaporate. However, it’s a bit of a balancing act, as some humidity is actually good for prolonging the life of the wine.
When considering where to store your wine, it’s best to find a location that maintains a humidity level of around 60%, or somewhere between 50% and 70%. Not sure what humidity levels you’re dealing with? Pick up a hygrometer from your local hardware store.
Tip 4: Don’t Store in Direct Sunlight
Wine and sunlight don’t mix. When wine is exposed to direct sunlight, the rays alter the wine’s compounds. This phenomenon is called light-struck, and it creates an unpleasant taste and aroma. Not to mention, the heat of the sun can also ruin the wine, as we discussed in Tip 2.
Darker-colored wine bottles can usually withstand direct sunlight better than light or translucent bottles, which means you need to be especially careful with your white wine collection as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio tend to come in clear-colored bottles.
This just goes to show that there’s a reason why many people like to keep their wine in the cellar. After all, many cellars are dry, dark, and void of direct sunlight. If you’re wondering where wine should be stored, find a place away from any sources of sunlight or even fluorescent lights.
Tip 5: Keep Bottles on their Sides
It might be tempting to store your wine bottles upright, but this isn’t a good idea if they have corks, as this upright position can cause the corks to dry out. When a cork dries out, it can let oxygen seep in, which will spoil the wine.
Instead, lay your corked wine bottles on their side while in storage.
Tip 6: Keep Away from Strong Odors
While it’s rather unpleasant to think about, aromas can seep into your wine bottles. Some say the wine “breathes” through the cork, which means it’ll take on any strong odors associated with your wine storage area. Keep your wine bottles away from anything that may emit a powerful scent.
Tip 7: Consider Your Storage Options
Now that you have a better idea of how wine should be stored, you can begin thinking about what storage solution would be best for your own wine collection.
If you’re looking into at-home storage for wine, think about a dark, dry place, away from direct sunlight, where you can control the temperature and humidity range. For you, this might mean a place in your kitchen, garage, or basement. You can also consider wine cooling cabinets, which help maintain the best humidity and temperature range for your wines. Remember, when considering storage solutions, always store your wine on its side.
Alternatively, if you’re searching for an off-site storage solution, a self-storage unit may be a good option for you. If you go this route, we recommend choosing a climate-controlled storage unit that regulates the temperature and humidity levels at all times so your wine won’t be affected by outside weather conditions. However, it’s important to check with your particular storage company, as some do not permit tenants to store liquids in their units.
Learn More About Storage With Stor-It
Storing your items can feel like an uphill battle, especially if you’re in the middle of a big move or home renovation. And that’s where we come into play. Here at Stor-It, it’s our mission to take the stress out of storing your belongings, no matter how big or small.
We’re the oldest—and largest—storage company in Idaho, which means we have years of storage experience under our belts. Whether you need help finding a storage solution for your seasonal gear or a parking spot for your recreational vehicle, we have you covered. We have storage locations all over Treasure Valley, so you’re sure to find a storage facility right in your background. Contact us today!