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When it comes to wine, it’s generally true that the older it is, the better it will taste. But there is one aspect of wine that affects the flavor even more than age, and that’s how it’s stored. You see, how you store wine can directly affect the flavor because of certain chemical reactions and physical changes that can take place in the wine. For the best tasting, longest lasting wine there are a few things you’ll want to remember about how to store wine properly. Here are a few of the most important factors that can affect your wine.
People will often store wine in the fridge, on the counter, or in a cupboard with little thought to how temperature affects it. While this is a fine practice for less expensive wines that will be consumed quickly, it’s by no means a recommended method of storage for anything costly or for long term storage. No other aspect of wine storage is more important than proper temperature. Bottles should be stored at a constant 55-58 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. The cool temperature will allow for “good” chemical reactions while preventing the “bad”. Improper temperature can be detrimental to how your wine tastes with age.
Avoid Direct Light
It’s important to keep wine out of direct sunlight. This is because light, especially the UV rays that accompany light, can and will destabilize the stable organic compounds in wine and ruin the wine’s flavor. When wine is exposed to light a chemical reaction occurs that produces the same compounds that skunks use for their defensive spray. Low levels of light will have less effect on the wine so try to store your wine in a dark space. If you absolutely need to light the area your wine is stored in, be sure to use a motion sensor lighting system with wine safe lights.
Keep Humidity in Check
Humidity levels in the 65-70% range is ideal and helps to keep corks from drying out while not allowing them to be too moist. A dried out cork may shrink and allow more air to seep into the bottle which can cause dreaded oxidation (more below) and drastically affect the flavor of the wine. Likewise an overly moist cork is no better. If a cork is too moist it can begin to mold or even allow moisture from the air to seep into the wine, which will also have a very negative affect on the flavor of the wine. Most wine storage units will have an option for controlling the humidity.
To avoid oxidation in your wines be sure to lay the bottles on their side with the cork facing downward at a slight angle. Create a storage placement that will allow you to keep your wine in this position. This downward angle will help keep the cork damp with wine which will in turn help to prevent shrinkage. Additionally to avoid moving bottles around unnecessarily, it’s a wise idea to place tags on the top of the corks. This way you won’t need to move the bottle to know which wine is which.
No Odors, No Problem
Don’t store your wine in a room with odors and no ventilation. One of the best ways to ruin a good wine is to place it near an odor causing substance. Whether garlic, paint, or even a musky basement odors are no friend of wine. While not an obvious concern, odors are able to sneak in through the cork and influence the flavor of the wine. When choosing a storage location for your wine, be sure to keep in mind what odors could be a potential hazard.
Although many wine drinkers put more thought into how their wine storage looks, rather than how it functions, that doesn’t mean functionality isn’t important. For your wine to store at its best you must achieve a consistently low temperature, without much light, no odor, all while keeping humidity in check. This can be done by purchasing one of the many wine storage units available on the market today, making it easy to create that perfect environment for your wine.
Jenny Young is a freelance writer working with Uncle Bob’s. She is passionate about beautifying her home and she currently writes about anything and everything related to storage and storage units. In her spare time, Jenn loves being active and traveling.
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