If you’ve recently become a big fan of wine, you might find yourself gradually accumulating more bottles of wine to try, and we fully support this! Just make sure you know how to store the bottles you add to your collection, as proper storage will help maintain the quality and flavor of your wine.
Fortunately, you don’t have to have a fancy wine cellar to start storing wine the right way. You just need to keep in mind the main elements that tend to damage wine—such as heat, oxygen, and light—and then find ways to avoid exposing your wine to them in storage. So read on to learn the best way to store wine to preserve its quality for years.
Store Your Wine at the Right Temperature
You might have heard that wine should be kept at room temperature, as this is a commonly held belief. However, this idea is a little misleading, as when wine connoisseurs refer to room temperature, they’re talking about the temperature of the average wine cellar. This is usually much lower than the temperature most people keep their homes at.
More specifically, wine cellars usually have a temperature of about 55° F, which is suitable for wine storage. Of course, there’s some wiggle room there, as a range of 45° to 65° F is generally accepted as ideal for wine. Yet try not to store your wine at temperatures above 70° or below 40° if you want to maintain the quality. Whichever temperature you choose for wine storage, make sure it’s consistent. Otherwise, the wine will expand and contract inside the bottle, letting in oxygen that can change the flavor.
Keep Your Wine Out of Direct Light
Whether you’ve been inside a wine cellar or have just seen a few on TV, you may have noticed that they’re never brightly lit. There’s a good reason for that: light can change the flavor of the wine. In particular, too much light can change the chemical compounds in the wine so that the taste, aroma, and mouthfeel all worsen over time.
Both sunlight and bright light bulbs can cause damage to wine. So if you were thinking of storing your wine in your sunroom or even next to a window, don’t do it! Instead, pick a room in your house that’s generally kept darker, whether that’s a closet or basement.
Put Your Bottles on Their Side
Another wine storage tip is to place the bottles horizontally, not vertically—especially those with a cork top. This is because keeping wine on its side will keep the cork from drying out. A dry cork can allow oxygen into the bottle, leading to seepage and even premature aging, which will ruin your wine.
If you have some bottles of wine topped with a screwcap—not a cork—you don’t have to worry about this tip on the best way to store wine. But keep in mind that storing your wine horizontally can save space, and if you’re doing so with your corked bottles, you might as well do the same with the screwcap ones.
Try to Avoid Using the Kitchen for Wine Storage
Many people store their wine in or near their kitchen, whether on the counter, in the pantry, or in the refrigerator. So if that’s your current spot for wine storage, you’re certainly not alone! Nevertheless, it turns out this is not the best room for it. It probably sounds counterintuitive since you likely open and drink wine in the kitchen often, but there are a few good reasons to switch your wine storage spot.
First, the kitchen is filled with different smells throughout the day. Whether it’s bacon for breakfast or garlic and onion with dinner, most kitchens have strong scents at some point. And it turns out that it can affect the flavor of your wine! So unless you want to infuse your wine with different foods over time—or even other strong smells, like garbage and cleaning products—you shouldn’t store your wine on your counters or in your pantry.
You should not store your wine in the fridge long-term. Not only will your wine pick up the fragrances of the food surrounding it, but it will get jostled often as you open the fridge and move food around. This vibration can keep any sediment from properly settling, giving your wine an odd texture when you finally open it. Additionally, your fridge is likely a little too cold for wine, as the average refrigerator is kept at 40° F or below for proper food safety. So a better alternative would be to buy a wine refrigerator—also called a wine cooler—for the best way to store wine in your kitchen. This is a simple way to keep your wine at the right temperature and away from food, trash, and cleaning products that could alter its flavor.
Know the Best Way to Store Wine Once You Open It
Now you know how and where to store your wine collection long-term, but what about when you open a bottle and don’t finish it? How can you keep it fresh? The key is to keep oxygen out of the bottle, just as the cork or screwcap has done during storage. So always put the cork or cap back on before putting the bottle away.
An even better option is to buy a wine vacuum pump that will remove the excess air from the bottle before you put the top back on. You can also purchase similar wine gadgets, such as special rubber stoppers that will tightly seal the bottle, which is handy to have around if you ever lose or break the cork or screw cap once you open your wine.
Finally, store your opened bottle in the fridge to slow down the deterioration of the wine. These steps should keep your wine tasting fresh for three to five days after you’ve opened and enjoyed some!
Proper Wine Storage
As you might have guessed, proper wine storage isn’t as obvious as many people think. Even seasoned wine drinkers may be making the mistake of keeping their collection of wine on the counter, in the fridge, or on a bar cart next to a window. But as you now know, these habits can slowly damage the wine.
That’s why the best way to store wine is to keep it around 55° F in a dark room away from strong scents, such as in a wine cellar, basement, closet, or wine fridge. Now that you know how to store it, it’s time to stock up on some new bottles! You can shop on our website or join our wine club to get started.