9 rules of storing wine if you don’t have a wine cellar
When a great wine is stored well, it can age into an even more interesting – and more valuable –drop. However, most of us are storing wine all wrong.
Most people keep wine in the kitchen but it’s the worst place in the house to store wine, because it’s one of the hottest and most well lit rooms in the house, with a constantly fluctuating temperature. Wine should be stored somewhere with a cool, even temperature. Even if you’re not planning on ageing the wine for years, storing wine well means you’ll get the most out of your wine when you want to drink it.
Don’t have a wine cellar or wine fridge, and have no idea how and where to store your wine? Here are the top rules for wine cellaring.
Store somewhere dark
Sunlight is a wine’s worst enemy, because UV rays can prematurely age a wine. So keep wine away from windows and sunrooms. If you live in a small apartment and can’t keep wines out of direct sunlight, keep wines in a box and throw a towel or sheet over them.
Box it up
If you order wine online, the wine often arrives in a box. If possible, keep the wine in the box – especially if it’s made of Styrofoam – as this helps minimise the effects of temperature fluctuations.
Store somewhere with an even temperature
Cooler temperatures (between 14 to 18 degrees Celsius) are optimal for storing wine, but the most important thing is that you store it somewhere with an even temperature. Yep, that rules out the kitchen, laundry and boiler room – even keeping it in a cupboard in one of those rooms.
Keep away from exterior walls
When considering areas to store your wine, look for spaces away from exterior walls so the outdoor temperature doesn’t have as much impact. Think built in wardrobes, closets or storage spaces under the stairs.
There are no good vibrations when it comes to wine, especially if you’re planning on cellaring it for a couple of years. Vibration can cause a chemical imbalance in a wine, and disturb the sediments that need to settle in good quality red wine. So keep wine in a space with little movement and foot traffic (another reason why the kitchen is a bad idea).
Position them right
Once you’ve found somewhere to store your wines, keep them in one position – don’t move them around every now and then. If it’s a bottle with a cork, store it on its side so the cork can stay in constant contact with the wine so it doesn’t dry out (this can lead to air seeping through the cork, which can cause premature oxidation). Bottles with screw caps can be stored standing up.
Avoid garages & storage sheds
Storing wine in a garage or storage shed might sound like a great idea (it’s dark and somewhat cool), but truth is, these spaces tend to get very hot in summer and cold in winter – in other words, they don’t have an even temperature. Also, you might use these spaces to store strong substances like petrol or heavy duty cleaning products, which can – if you’re unlucky – make their way through the cork into the wine.
Keep ventilated where possible
Keeping your wines in a basement or another space under the house is a pretty good idea, if there’s proper ventilation. If not, you can end up with a mouldy smell in your wines.
When it comes to humidity and wines under cork, anywhere between 50 percent and 80 percent humidity is considered good. Avoid extremely damp conditions, as this can promote mould – however, a dehumidifier can fix it.