To drink or not to drink? That is the million-dollar question when deciding whether to drink or store a bottle of wine from your collection. While the majority of wines are meant to be consumed right away, there is a small percentage that are crafted for storing and aging, to be consumed many years down the road once they have reached their full maturity.
Wine storage requires ideal climate conditions to ensure that wines age at the appropriate rate, and to maximize the taste. Before storing and aging your wine, be sure to address these three important factors:
While there are differing opinions on the exact temperature wine should be stored at, approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit is a good base point for red wine; whites can be stored at a slightly cooler temperature. Most importantly, consistency in temperature is vital to avoid damage to the wine. Additionally, heat will rapidly increase the aging process.
Many wine makers still use natural corks to seal their bottles. The corks are essential to blocking out oxygen, which can damage wine.
Like temperature, there are varying opinions on the optimal range of humidity that should be used. Generally speaking, to keep corks moist and maintain the airtight seal, keep wine at a range of 55 to 85 percent humidity.
Keeping bottles on their side versus standing up can also help to keep corks moist.
Exposure to direct sunlight, and even fluorescent lighting, can negatively impact the taste of wine. While many bottles are made with tinted glass to help protect the wine from light exposure, it’s important to keep wine in a dark location.
Where to Store Wine
There are several wine storage options available today. From small wine coolers to extensive cellars, enthusiasts can maintain their collections in their homes, and restaurants and wine stores can keep their inventories onsite.
For those that lack the budget or space to keep their collections in-house — or who require additional storage space — there are self-storage facilities that offer wine storage for an affordable monthly rate. Rentable wine storage units can provide consistent temperature and humidity, and limit light exposure, which may otherwise be difficult to achieve without the proper equipment.
Once you’ve stored and aged your wine to its peak maturity, be sure to enjoy with friends and family. After all, wine is always best when shared.
Have a wine storage tip? How do you store your wine — at home or at a self-storage facility? Share you wine-storage secrets below