Like any perishable food or drink, wine needs to be stored correctly for optimal preservation, freshness, and taste.
Knowing how to store your wine collection is key to ensuring that each bottle ages well, and remains in a drinkable condition.
As wine matures, it changes chemically and develops new flavours and textures - and keeping your wine in the perfect environment ensures that your wine ages well.
There are certain factors that can affect how well your wine keeps, and not considering these factors when storing your wine can ruin a perfectly good wine.
Keep reading to learn more about wine storage, including what can affect wine storage, and where you should store your wine for optimal ageing, taste, and freshness.
What Can Affect Wine Storage?
There are various things that can impact how well your wine keeps - from minor things such as the type of cork used, to more prominent factors such as light, humidity, temperature, and movement.
Light can impact how well your wine ages, and how good it tastes upon opening.
Wine shouldn’t be exposed too much light, as it can speed up the ageing process and cause unwanted chemical reactions that can ruin how well the wine smells and tastes.
No matter what you use to store your wine, your bottles should be kept out of sunlight or incandescent lights.
The best lightbulbs to use in your wine storage space are bulbs with UV-protective features, as this can prevent any premature ageing.
Ideally, you should store your wine in a dark room such as a cellar or basement - especially if the wine bottles are transparent.
However, this isn’t always a feasible option, so wine fridges or cabinets are the next best option.
Be especially careful with white or sparkling wines, as these types of wine are typically kept in transparent glasses.
Most wines are kept in green bottles that help to protect the wine against damaging UV rays, but extra steps should still be taken to protect your collection from sunlight.
Another factor that can affect wine storage is humidity. Humidity can help the cork remain moist and prevent oxygen from getting into the wine, ultimately preventing premature chemical reactions.
The optimal humidity level for wines is anything between 55% and 75%, so keep that in mind when storing your wine, whether you use a cabinet, fridge, or a cellar to store your collection.
Storing your wine with good humidity levels can also prevent damage to the label, which is something worth considering if you have more expensive collections, as damaged labels can decrease the value.
Although a bit of humidity is good for your wine, it’s important that you don’t expose your collection to too much humidity, as this can cause the wine to develop mould.
Storing your wine correctly will make sure that it ages well, and remains fresh and drinkable for longer.
The temperature at which you store your wine can determine how well it ages and how long it remains fresh.
If you store your wine in a space that’s too warm, then your wine will age faster and the condition of your wine will decrease.
Wine that’s been stored in an overly warm space can also give the wine a ‘cooked’ taste, which is irreversible.
However, if you store your wine in a space that’s too cold, then you could lose aromas and tastes, and the wine could freeze.
Storing your wine at a very cold temperature can also lead to the cork shrinking and then pushing out, which will most likely lead to the wine oxidising.
The best temperature to store your wine is anything between 10º C and 15º C - most wine coolers, cabinets, and fridges will have this at their preset temperature.
If you have a wine cellar, make sure that the temperature is between 10º C and 15º C for the best taste and preservation.
Movement is another thing to consider when storing your wine collection - excessive or continuous vibrations can affect how well your wine ages.
It can also stop the sediment from settling at the bottom of the bottle, leaving sediment floating in your wine.
When sediment stays floating in the wine, it can taste sour and bitter, and it can develop a horrible texture.
Aged wine should always be handled gently, and you should always avoid quick movement when moving your wines.
Where Should I Store My Wine Collection?
There are two main ways of storing your wine - in a wine fridge or a wine cellar.
If you’re storing your wine to drink, you don’t need to worry too much about keeping labels in perfect condition or making sure the bottle remains spotless.
However, if you’re storing your wine as an investment in the hope that it will increase in value, then it’s important to make sure that your wine is stored in the best possible way.
Click here for the different methods of storing wine.
A wine fridge is a convenient way of storing your wine, and is generally a more affordable option than a wine cellar.
It’s a unit in which wine is stored - a way to keep your wine fresh for longer, preserve the right tastes, aromas, and textures, and to ensure that your wine matures well.
Whichever you choose, you’re sure to find a wine fridge that keeps your wine at the finest quality while matching the interior of your home or business.
Click here for our wine fridge buyer's guide!
Although wine cellars may be expensive to build and maintain, they’re by far the best option when it comes to storing your wine.
If you have a large collection, then a wine cellar is your best option as you can typically store hundreds of bottles.
A wine cellar is essentially a cool and damp space, typically located underground in a basement, but can also be somewhere convenient such as under the stairs.
If you're a wine collector and want to optimise your wine storage, then click here for our best tips.