Tips on Storing Wine

Whether storing wine in a cellar, wine refrigerator or even a converted closet, there are some fundamental rules to follow in terms of light exposure, temperature, humidity, orientation, odors, vibration and movement.

Though most of the wine we buy in the United States is meant to be opened within two to three years, you may be storing something older and more valuable in your wine cellar that you hope will improve with age. Storing wine correctly will ensure it ages properly.

Light Exposure
Why are most wine rooms dimly lit? Direct light, particularly sunlight and fluorescent light, is damaging and can cause unpleasant odors. Some bottles protect wine from UV rays better than others, but wine should be kept in a dark place to avoid spoilage. If you can’t avoid all light sources, store the bottles inside a box or wrap them lightly in cloth to block out harmful rays.

Temperature & Humidity
The ideal temperature for storing wine is 55°F, or a consistent range of 53°-60° (if you can’t keep your storage area at 55° at all times). Dramatic temperature changes can ruin the wine, especially at higher temperatures, which can cause it to oxidize. Humidity should be 60 percent, which keeps corks in supple condition and prevents them from drying out or shrinking.

Wine is best stored lying down on its side so the wine keeps constant contact with the cork and prevents it from drying out. This is the reason wine cellars are designed the way they are, especially for long-term storage of wines meant to age.

Vibration & Movement
Wine should be stored in a stationary place that doesn’t require a lot of movement and disturbance. Vibrations and disruptions from appliances, motors and even traffic can negatively influence wine. Make sure the storage location is as far away from commotion as possible.

Since wine is made to “breathe”, strong smells and odors from paint, gasoline or other substances can filter through the corks and ruin the wine. Good ventilation and proper storage materials are important. Some wood species like cedar are not recommended for wine storage because its odor can negatively influence wine. Good ventilation is also important to keep musty odors from harming the wine. Remember that wine temperature may need to be adjusted before serving. While wines are best stored at these conditions, some may actually be better served at higher or lower temperatures. View our post on the best temperatures to serve wine for more information.

Wine is an investment, so make sure you also invest in storing it properly and securely. For more information, visit our Residential Wine Storage Education Center.

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One Response to “Tips on Storing Wine”

  1. Wine Storage says:

    Thanks for sharing useful tips. I agree with your advice that wine Storage location should be as far away from commotion as possible.

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