How to store wine at home

How to store wine at home

Unless you have been blessed with a not too wet or cold basement that you could use as a cellar (and your family allows you to do so), there is not another option than will improvise as a cellar at home. Let’s see quickly the factors that affect the wine depending on the type of wine you want to keep.

Humidity, light and temperature are the main factors to take into consideration when you keep wine. In case of humidity, the perfect % is 70 but unless you live in a dessert the little fluctuations won’t affect the conditions of the wine. Fight the excessive exposure to light is quite easy, especially avoid the direct sunlight.

So there is only temperature left. Heat is the number one enemy of the wine that keeps well between 45F to 65F (7C to 18C), consistent temperatures over 70C (21C) may get your wine “cooked,” resulting in flat aromas and flavors.
Keeping wines in your household refrigerator is fine for up to a couple months, but it’s not a good bet for the long term. The average fridge temp falls well below 45F (mine is 40F) to safely store perishable foods, and the lack of moisture could eventually dry out corks, which might allow air to seep into the bottles and damage the wine.

There are a couple of rules regarding the position of the bottle. Sparkling wine always vertical. Those with alternative closures, screw caps, glass or plastic corks, either vertical or horizontal. And those corked wines to keep, always horizontal in order to keep the liquid up against the cork, which theoretically should keep the cork from drying out.
It’s not necessary to be very strict with these rules. If you are going to drink the wines in the coming weeks or months they could be stored either horizontal or vertical. However I can say that horizontal racking is a space-efficient way to store your bottles, and it definitely can’t harm your wines.

And now that you have controlled the wine environmentally, you should pay attention to the wine itself keeping time limits. What a wine will last well depends basically on the type of the wine, variety, aging, etc. Even there are many exceptions (for instance, a young white could be fantastic in its third year), I’m giving you a basic guidance:

Young whites, roses and carbonic maceration        One year
Aged whites and roses                                         1 to 3 years
Sparking                                                             1 to 2 years
Aged sparkling                                                    2 to 6 years (or more)
Young reds                                                         1 to 2+ years
Aged reds                                                           2 to 10 years (or more)

It’s useful to remember that only a small percentage of fine wines on the market benefit from long-term aging. Most wines are best enjoyed within a few years of release. If you’re looking to buy wines to mature or you have found some ageworthy wines, you should really consider investing in professional-grade storage—a totally different ballgame. Salud!