This post was originally published on October 3, 2013.
Wine fans, followers, connoisseurs and restaurant owners alike agree—proper wine storage can make or break a bottle.
The location and environment of the bottle prior to your first sip greatly influences whether you’ll have a perfect pairing or a feeling of distaste. Even the experts say it’s extremely difficult to predict the effect of storage on the wine’s taste, which means it’s very important to store it in the best possible conditions.
Below, we highlight four items you should consider to properly protect and preserve your collection during long-term wine storage.
1. Transportation: Can You Feel the Vibration?
Think through transportation of your bottle to its place of storage. For some, this may mean walking down a few stairs. For others, vehicular transportation may be necessary to take the bottle to an off-site facility.
If the latter is required, pay attention to how your bottles are packed into your vehicle and try to restrict movement of their contents as much as possible. Under too much vibration, wine’s contents can unsettle and begin to break down, changing your wine’s overall composition.
Bonus Tip: Assess the vibe of your storage space once there. Can you feel movement as you’re standing still? If so, this is probably not the best place to keep your wine. Take note of nearby construction, heavy foot traffic areas, ventilation systems and anything else that may impact your wine’s storage environment.
2. Bottle Temperament: Storage Temperature
Many wineries and wine experts site the optimal temperature for wine storage in the range of low- to mid-50s (degrees Fahrenheit), with 60-70 percent humidity. This will keep enough moisture in the air to prevent corks from drying out.
Regardless of the temperature you pick, keep the temperature constant. Fluctuations in temperature can cause chemical reactions in the bottle, altering composition and taste.
3. Bottle Temperament: Storage Position
Consider the logistics of your storage room before you put a bottle away. Take note of windows and light fixtures. Too much direct sunlight, or even artificial light, can make your wine too warm, and spark unintended chemical reactions. These, in turn, impact the color, taste and overall quality of your wine.
Once you’re set on a room to store, pay attention to the placement of the bottle in storage. The bottle should either be on its side or on a downward angle, never upright. Doing so allows the liquid in the bottle to keep the cork from drying out, which could cause it to crack or break the seal on your bottle, letting excess air in. The air can make your wine bubble and/or change color.
4. What’s the Aroma? Keep Your Storage Room Odorless
Keep your bottles in a room that is essentially odorless. Limit aromas from paint, furniture and basements with mildew smells. Why? Storing wine in places where odors are present can actually alter the overall taste of the wine, as the smell enters through the bottle’s breathable cork.
What’s your favorite wine to drink and keep on hand? Let us know in the comment section below.
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