How to Store Wines



How to Store Wines

Where to put your wine rack ?

Most households do not have, or need, a special wine cellar but it is still worth paying attention to how your wine is stored and and where you place your wine rack. If you always drink the wine within a few weeks of purchasing it, a small rack can be placed anywhere that isn't too hot or in bright light, but if you tend to keep even some of your bottles longer it is worth trying to achieve the best storage conditions you can.

Most homes have a few areas that will provide reasonable wine storage conditions. Possible spots include the area under the stairs, a hall cupboard, an unused fireplace or a basement. Rooms with fluctuating temperature, such as kitchens, are not suitable. Table wines and ports should be stored lying down so that the cork remains moist. Only wines with metal caps are stored upright.

How Wine Ages ?

Each wine is meant to be drunk at a certain age, when its flavor will be fullest. Wine that hasn't reached this stage or is past its best will inevitably be a disappointment. The conditions in which wine is stored affect how quickly it will age. Ageing should progress at a certain rate. If the storage conditions are not right, the wine will age too quickly, but premature ageing doesn't mean the wine is ready to drink sooner - it ruins it - and keeping a wine chilled below the optimum temperature just prevents it ageing properly and reaching its full potential.

Temperature

Temperature is the most important factor when storing wine. A cool, stable temperature of 10-12 degrees Centigrade can be stored between 5 and 18 degrees without adverse effect. It is most damaging if the temperature fluctuates rapidly as this causes the wine to expand and contract, eventually damaging the cork. Even wines meant to be drunk chilled should not be kept in the refrigerator for more than a few days.

Light

Light can increase the ageing process in wine and so wine should be kept in a dark place. Certainly avoid bright light, and don't store wine close to a window. Wine in light colored bottles is most affected, and sparkling wines are more susceptible than others.

Humidity

Moderate humidity is best for storing wine, for although the humidity will not affect the wine itself, too little (below about 50 per cent) will dry out the cork. High humidity is less damaging to the wine but it can cause the labels to rot and make it impossible to identify your wines.

Vibration

Some vine authorities believe wines are affected by vibration and so should be stored where they will not be disturbed or subjected to vibrations such as those caused by passing road traffic, low-flying planes or even very loud noises.

Odors

Wine can absorb odors through the cork so don't store it in a place where there are strong odors or food that may ferment.


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