How to Store your Wine the Right Way

Whether you have 1 bottle of wine or are collecting hundreds for posterity, it’s important to keep your wines properly stored. The last thing you want is a bad taste or odd smell when you pop the cork.  Yuck!   Unfortunately not all of us wine lovers have the luxury of a personal wine cellar or a sommelier on hand to tell us when to drink each of our wines.   Wines are alive. You paid good money for each bottle. The last thing you want is for that bottle to go bad.

Here are a few important tips to make sure that every bottle that you purchase taste as good as a day you opened it as the day you took it home.

Keep your wine chilled but not in your kitchen refrigerator.

You may have heard this before but it’s 100% true. The average room temperature is too warm to both serve and store your wine. The warmer the ambient temperature, the quicker the wine will age and potentially go bad. If you’ve ever had a little leftover wine in your car during the summer and then wondered why it tasted like pure alcohol or maybe even a bit like vinegar, you’ll know what I mean.  A room temperature wine is not given the chance to really show off its true character.

Many people think that the way to store a wine is just put it in the refrigerator. However, unless that is a wine refrigerator, you can do just as much harm to the wine as leaving it on your kitchen counter or in the backseat of your car. Your average kitchen refrigerator is not only too cold for your wine but also dries out the winds cork.  Have you ever left and uncovered tomato in your refrigerator? If so, you’ll probably notice how the tomato shrivels up in just a day or so. That’s because her kitchen refrigerator removes humidity as it cools. Every bottle of wine needs a cork that is moist. A dried out cork leads to a musty smell and a destroyed wine.

Keep your wine stored on its side or upside down.

Have you ever wondered why most wine refrigerators wine storage cabinets position the wine bottles to lay down and not up? That’s because keeping the wine bottle on its side or, upside down, forces the cork to stay in contact with the wine.  simply put, you need a cork to have moisture. Keeping your bottles in this orientation helps you avoid the risk of turning your wine into a “CORKED” wine.

Keep your wine at a constant temperature.

Vibrations and fluctuating temperatures can negatively impact the aging process that is happening in your wine. Once the wine is put into the bottle, the aging process continues. This is why wine cellars and why refrigerators are temperature controlled. It’s important to make sure that your wine stays within 10°  of a baseline at all times.   You don’t want the wine too cold nor too hot.   We recommend your wine be stored at 57°F 65% humidity at all times. As long as you can keep it within 5° north or south of that you should be a good shape to keep your wine at the right temperature.

Never ever put your wine on the top of your kitchen refrigerator.

Although it’s a great idea to find a convenient place to store your wine, think twice before using the top of your kitchen refrigerator. First of all, the vibrations from your refrigerator that are given off when the compressor cycles will certainly affect the aging process.   Wine does not like to be moved around and pushed back and forth until you are ready to swirl it in the glass.   Second, it’s warm.   the top of your refrigerator is probably very close to your light fixtures. This may not be the case for everyone, but if it is true, definitely it’s not a good place for your wine to be. Light bulbs give off heat and can prematurely age her wine.  Finally,  the wine is exposed to light.   the type of lighting used is very important when it comes to storing wine. Sunlight and UV rays are even worse for your wine. Keep your wine away from Windows were other sources of natural light. The best light source is an LED light. LED lighting creates a soft glow without giving off any heat.

Wine is alive, take good care of it.

Remember, that winemakers age wine in barrels and continue the aging process after it goes into the bottle, slaps a label on it and offers it to you.  When you take home a bottle of wine, you are taking control of the aging process itself.  If you really want to enjoy that bottle you just brought home, it is important to take on the responsibility of caring for it.   I highly suggest investing in a wine refrigerator. Most wine refrigerators will maintain the proper temperature and humidity needed to age wine. They’re not expensive.   Depending on how many bottles you wish to store,  a wine refrigerator can range in cost from under $100 to several thousand. However, most and up spending just a few hundred dollars to maintain their investments. It really depends how many bottles you want to hang onto before drinking.

So,  pick up a few bottles, store them properly, and start the drinking process.


Jason McClain, Proprietor
McClain Cellars


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