Your wine collection is not as durable as you may think - if you want it to stay fresh for long periods of time, then you need to store it correctly.
Knowing the best ways to store your wine is key to ensuring that each and every bottle ages well, and remains fresh for longer.
Wine goes through chemical changes as it ages, developing new flavours and textures.
If you age your wine without considering factors such as light or temperature, then your wine may taste sour, acidic, and generally unpleasant.
If you have a collection that you plan on ageing or storing for long amounts of time, keep reading for our guide to storing wine successfully.
Temperature is Key
One of the most important things you should consider when storing your wine is temperature.
All wine should be stored at temperatures between 10ºC and 15ºC - if you store your wine in temperatures outside of this zone, then it may not remain fresh.
You should store your wine in cooler spaces to ensure your wine doesn’t age too fast - warm conditions can cause premature chemical reactions in your wine, leaving it tasting unpleasant.
When you store your wine in very warm conditions, your wine can develop an irreversible ‘cooked’ taste, which is also somewhat acidic.
You should also ensure that you don’t store your wine in temperatures that are too cold. Cold temperatures (typically below 10ºC) can cause corks to shrink and push out, exposing your wine to oxygen.
You should never freeze your wine - frozen wine will lose all its natural and nuanced flavours, leaving it tasting bland.
For best results, store your wine in a cool and dark space. Avoid storing your wine near appliances such as microwaves or ovens, as this can negatively affect your wine.
Wine coolers and cellars are a great way to store your wine, as they maintain optimal temperature levels.
Some wine coolers will also offer dual or multiple temperature zones, which means you can store wine for ageing and for serving.
You can also store your reds, whites, and sparkling wines at separate temperatures for optimal storage.
Steer Clear of Sunlight
Another factor to take into account when storing your wine is sunlight. The UV rays found in sunlight can impact the ageing process of wine, ultimately affecting how well it tastes upon opening.
UV rays can speed up the ageing process, causing unwanted aromas and textures.
Your wine should be stored in dark spaces away from sunlight and incandescent lights.
If you must use light bulbs in your storage space, ensure that they have UV-protective features.
It’s recommended to store your wine in a dark space such as a cellar or basement - somewhere where sunlight won’t affect your wine.
Most red wine bottles are green, which offers some protection from UV rays.
However, most white and sparkling wine bottles are clear, and won’t protect your wine from UV light effectively - so you should always take extra care when storing wine with clear bottles.
If you opt for a wine cooler with a glass door, it’s important that you check the door is UV protected.
Although most wine coolers do offer UV protection, some models may not.
Maintain Humidity Levels
Humidity can also have negative effects on your wine. A little humidity is necessary to keep the cork moist enough to stay in place - corks keep your wine fresh by preventing oxygen from entering.
However, too much humidity can lead to the cork becoming too moist - which can result in the cork slipping out of place.
It can also result in mould and mildew developing on the bottle and destroying the label, which is the last thing you want when ageing your wine - especially to sell.
Storing your wine in an environment that is too dry can also have negative effects - the cork could dry out and lead to the wine oxidising, affecting the natural flavours and textures of the wine and speeding up the ageing process.
For best results, find a wine cooler that offers humidity regulation.
The optimal humidity levels for wine storage is between 55% and 75% - storing your collection in this humidity zone is sure to maintain the freshness of the wine, and ultimately, the quality of your collection.
Vibrations and movement can also affect how well your wine ages, and is something you should consider when storing your wine collection.
Any continuous or excessive movements can impact the taste and texture of your wine, so should be avoided.
Your wine should be stored either horizontally or at an angle so any sediment can settle at the bottom of the bottle.
When sediment remains floating in your wine, it can result in a bitter and sour taste, as well as an unpleasant gritty texture.
When you move your wine, especially when it’s aged, you should take care and not make rapid movements.
Many wine coolers feature shelves that store your wine at an angle, which is great at allowing the sediment to settle while preventing oxidation.
Use A Wine Cooler
A wine cooler is an appliance that offers optimal storage conditions for your wine.
Quality wine coolers will take into account all of the above, ensuring your wine remains fresh for longer and protecting the quality of your wine.
Wine coolers come in all shapes and sizes, but there are three main designs - freestanding, built-in, and fully integrated.
Freestanding wine coolers stand freely, and you can place them pretty much anywhere.
Built-in wine fridges are designed to be placed in cabinet space or under counters.
Integrated units are fully enclosed in a cabinet or kitchen space, whereas with built-in units, the cooler door is always visible.
When purchasing a wine cooler, ensure that it considers temperature, UV protection, and humidity.
The cost of a wine cooler can vary, with some costing just a couple of hundred pounds, whereas others costing thousands.
Click here for our wine cooler's buyer's guide.