Learning about wine is such a great hobby to have. In fact, even expert vintners and sommeliers say that as much as you learn about wine, there will always be even more to learn!
As you add to your knowledge about wine, carefully curating your personal collection of wine to enjoy at a future date, it then becomes time to learn how to properly store your new finds at home. This is especially true for wines that need to age for a few years before they are in their prime.
In this article, learn what you need to know about how to properly store wine at home.
Match the Storage Temperature to the Varietal
Did you know that different varietals of red and white wine need to be stored at different temperatures and that champagne requires a different temperature range than wine?
Here is a handy list from KingsBottle USA to guide you in establishing the proper temperature for red wine, white wine and champagne.
- Medium-bodied red wine needs to be stored at 58˚F to 65˚F (12˚C to 19˚C).
- Heavily tannic red wine needs to be stored at the warm extreme of this range.
- Light red varietals need to be stored at the cool extreme of this range.
- White wine needs to be stored at 45˚F to 55˚F (8˚C to 12˚C).
- Sweet white wine needs to be stored at the cool extreme of this range.
- Sparkling white wine (not champagne) needs to be stored at the cool extreme as well.
- Champagne requires a colder storage temperature of 38˚F to 45˚F (5˚C to 8˚C).
A Word About Humidity for Long-Term Wine Storage
In all cases, and regardless of the varietal, aim to keep humidity between 50 and 80 percent. The longer you plan to store the wine, the more important keeping a proper humidity range can become.
Increasing humidity in your wine storage area can present some challenges depending on the type of climate you live in.
Too much humidity too consistently and you risk mold and mildew growth in your wine storage area as well as label degradation (sure it tastes great, but what was it?). But too-arid conditions may dry out the cork and let air seep in, spoiling your wine.
Adding a small portable humidifier (or even a pan of water) can help add humidity to the ambient air. Conversely, using a dehumidifier can remove excess humidity when the situation demands it.
How to Store Opened Bottles of Wine
A properly stored open bottle of wine can last up to five days so you can continue to enjoy it.
You want to re-cork the bottle with the original cork whenever possible. To do this, place a small strip of waxed paper around the cork, covering the bottom (the portion that will go into the wine bottle) completely. Then re-cork the wine bottle.
If using the original cork isn’t an option, you can use a wine stopper or a vacuum sealer.
The ultimate goal with any of these options is to remove as much air as possible from the open wine bottle and prevent any additional air from getting in after the bottle is stored away.
Tips to Ensure the Freshest Stored Wine
One of the keys to proper wine storage at home is temperature consistency.
Wine is much more susceptible to damage from temperature swings of even a few degrees than to much wider fluctuations in humidity.
Also be sure to protect stored wine from direct sunlight and from direct exposure to light bulbs, which may fade the labels.
When to Move to Professional-Grade Wine Storage
There is that point in many a hobbyist’s life when your thoughts may naturally turn to investing in a wine frig or professional storage compartment.
Here, a good rule of thumb is to look at your annual budget for investing in wine. If the cost of the wine storage container is less than 25 percent of your annual budget, it may be time to upgrade.