How to Store Wine at Home
January 5th, 2022
From aficionados to stay-at-home moms, people of all backgrounds, economic statuses, and professions enjoy a good glass of wine. Whether it’s with a meal or after a long day, that first sip can be quite a pleasurable experience. But as much as wine is loved by all, not many individuals actually know the proper way to store wine. Wine storage is extremely integral in ensuring a wine’s taste stays fresh and yummy. A wine cellar would be the ideal choice, but not everyone can afford such a luxury. Learning some basic tips about wine storage can keep even the oldest of bottles tasting crisp and new down the line.
Keep Wine Chilled
Most people make the common mistake of leaving their wine out on their countertops or even in a cute wall-hanging bottle holder. While you might like how it looks, this storage is not ideal for your wine. Warm temperatures can impact the way your wine ages and will cause it to go bad much quicker. While most homes have some kind of temperature control, like air conditioning, it’s still best to keep it chilled. However, you shouldn’t keep your wine in a standard refrigerator, as it’s far too cold and lacks the humidity necessary to keep the cork moist. If you can, store it in a wine fridge.
Store Wine on Its Side
There’s a reason why all of those adorable wine storage pieces keep wine bottles resting on their sides - or even upside down. As mentioned above, it’s critical that a wine cork maintains moisture in order for it to stay expanded and produce a proper seal. When you store your wine bottles upright on the counter, you run the risk of drying out the cork and ruining the taste. Keeping bottles on their side or tilter downward keeps the cork in contact with the wine and keeps it moist.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Direct sunlight and even harsh lighting can be terrible for the integrity of your wine. Sunlight and UV rays give off damaging heat that will significantly impact the taste of wine. Likewise, many household light fixtures are too harsh for wine. These lights also give off heat, which can make your wine go bad faster. The best lighting for wine is LED lights, which effectively illuminates your bottles without heating them up.
Don’t Fluctuate Temperature
It’s easy to put wine through the wringer in terms of fluctuating temperatures. You buy it chilled in the store, then it warms up in your hot car, then you tuck it away in the fridge, and then you pull it out again to serve to guests. Temperature fluctuation is not good for wine. It’s best to keep your bottles at a consistent, mild temperature to avoid poor aging and negative chemical processes.
This is the same reason why expensive wines in restaurants are often brought to your table in ice buckets. The buckets serve to keep your wine at a consistent temperature to avoid harming the flavor.
Vacuum Seal Open Bottles
If you’re opening a bottle of wine for yourself, there’s a good chance you’re going to have plenty left in the bottle. An open bottle of wine is typically good for 3 to 5 five days when stored properly, and you generally have three options:
- Rubber cork
- Vacuum seal
When you recork a bottle, wrap the bottom in wax paper first. Then, slide it into the bottle for a tight, air-locked fit. You can also buy rubber corks to use on any open bottle of wine. These come especially in handy if your cork breaks or splinters when you open the bottle. Rubber wine corks can create a great seal. But your best option overall is to get a wine vacuum pump. These pumps pull the air out of an open bottle of wine, which gives you the best possible airtight seal. The better the seal, the longer your wine will taste great.
Store in Cool, Dark Places
If you don’t have a wine cellar or a wine fridge, the best thing you can do is store your wine in cool, dark places. Basements that are not damp or dirty can actually make great makeshift wine cellars. You can also choose a cool, dark cupboard to keep your wine in. Avoid storing your wine in the kitchen, as this room often gets hot due to cooking. Pick a low hutch cabinet or a liquor cabinet in another room instead. You should never store your wine in the garage, the attic, or on top of the fridge.