So, you’ve bought wine, and you don’t plan to drink it right away. At the same time, you don’t want it to go bad or its taste to be compromised before you open it. You don’t even have a fancy wine cellar to preserve it.
What should you do?
There are a few things to consider when storing your new bottle of wine. Whether you have one or a hundred wine bottles, the following tips can help you store your wine properly until you are ready to drink it.
How to store wine bottles at home?
1. Mind the right temperature
From all the factors that have an impact on stored wine, the temperature is the most important one. Too cold or too warm temperatures can easily spoil a perfectly good bottle of wine.
Generally speaking, for both long-term and short-term storage, the ideal temperature should be 13º C (55º F).
However, some specific wines need to be kept at other temperatures, which are known to their manufacturer.
But even if it is the most specific wine in the world, it shouldn’t be kept at temperature beyond 20º C (68 º F) or below -4º C (25º F). If the temperature is below that level, the wine can freeze. While if it is above the recommended range, the waging process can be accelerated, and some of its compounds can be inevitably lost.
Other than that, the temperature needs to kept constant at all times. Failing to do so can make the cork to contract and expand, allowing for air to seep in (or wine to seep out).
2. Wine Bottles Need to be Stored Horizontally
Bottles with corks need to be stored horizontally. This is an efficient and practical method for long-term storage. Storing the wine on its side will maintain the cork moistened.
3. Protect the Wine from Vibration and UV Lights
Whether you plan to store the wine for a couple of days or maybe years, it needs to be kept in the dark place, far from direct sunlight and UV lights. UV rays can disrupt the wine’s delicate aromas and flavors.
At the same time, the wine needs to far from any sources of vibration—for example, dryer, washer, or even a stereo system.
Vibration can interrupt the sediments in the bottles and with that the delicate aging processes going on within the bottle.
4. Mind the Humidity
Humidity needs to be balanced to preserve the quality of the wine. Ideally, it needs to range from 60 to 68%.
If humidity is too high, the wine’s labels can peel off. That can make all bottles look alike and difficult to distinguish them from each other.
If humidity is too low, then that can make the cork dry out, leaving the wine exposed to oxygen.
5. Consider Buying a Wine Fridge
First of all, there is a big difference between a regular fridge and a wine fridge. Wine fridge, the same as a regular fridge, controls the temperature, but at the same time, it can also keep the humidity at acceptable levels. A regular fridge can only keep the items dry and cold.
The best wine fridges even come with a separate, cooler section for champagne.
6. Serve Wine at a Proper Temperature
There is a difference between storage temperature and serving temperature. Sometimes, to reach the serving temperature, the stored wine’s temperature needs to go down, while other times to come up. This ensures that you and your guests will taste the full expression of wine’s aroma and flavor.
On average, most red wines are served between 12-19˚C, while white wines are typically served between 8-12˚C. Then there is the champagne that is served on temperatures ranging from 5-8˚C.
If you want to know the optimal serving temperature, check the label or ask the manufacturer. Usually, the precise serving temperature is related to the age of the wine. It is also important to note that fruit wines or liquors such as plum wine, honey wine (mead), or blueberry wine may need to be stored at different temperatures than traditional wine from grapes. Please make sure to check storage instructions for non-standard bottles!
7. Storing Open bottles
Sometimes you don’t have it in you to finish an open bottle. The best way to store it for later is to recork it immediately. To do so, lay wax paper around the cork and push the cork to its original position.
The wax can is there to help the cork slide into the top, and at the same time, make sure that there aren’t any stray parts falling into the remaining wine. If the cork is too damaged to be reused, rubber with stopper can be used instead. That can also create a tight seal. The remaining alternative is a wine vacuum pump that can easily suck all the air from the bottles while creating a super tight seal.
In any case, if the opened wine is stored properly, it can last from three to five days.