Here at IDEAL, we recently wrote about drinking less – but better – wine. One major part of this endeavour was a pledge to buy fewer bottles of the stuff, but to make more effort in researching, sourcing, and enjoying those rare drops we did drink.
Whilst it’s a simple mantra to follow, it’s one that may well improve your enjoyment of wine hugely, in a responsible, sustainable way, too.
Why bother spending more (both in effort and money) on wine we hear you ask? Well, according to the experts, the difference in flavour, aroma and mouthfeel between a moderately priced bottle and a cheaper one is pronounced, and far outstrips the discrepancy in price tag, with a marked jump in quality between, say, a £5 and a £20 bottle of wine.
If you are considering investing in some premium wines to savour rather than slug with abandon, then firstly, cheers! But more importantly, as the old saying should say, your wine collection is only as good as its storage. Indeed, you could lose a significant amount of the colour, flavour and value if you keep your carefully sourced wine at the wrong temperature, angle, humidity or level of light.
Yep, there’s a fine art to this thing, but storing your wine with thoughtfulness and dexterity can help ensure its longevity. With that in mind and with the help of winecoolershop.co.uk, here are 5 IDEAL tips for storing your wine to guarantee longevity.
STORE WINE AT THE IDEAL TEMPERATURE
Of every factor that can influence the quality of stored wine, the temperature its held at is probably the most crucial; too warm or cold temperatures in your kitchen or cellar are a surefire way to ruin the wine.
In general, the best temperature for wine storage, whether that’s short or long term, is around 13ºC (55ºF), but this can vary from wine to wine.
For temperature recommendations for specific wines, you should consult the manufacturer. Regardless of the type or label, wine should never ever be kept below -4ºC (25 °F), which can cause the wine to freeze, or above 20°C (68°F), which will hasten the wine aging process and destroy volatile elements of the wine which contribute to its complexity of flavour and colour.
Most importantly, your wine storage temperature should be kept stable, since constant temperature changes can cause the cork to expand and contract, allowing air in; oxidation is the worst enemy of great tasting wine, and should be avoided at all costs.
STORE WINE BOTTLES HORIZONTALLY
This only applies to wines with a cork, particularly, and isn’t necessary for screw tops, but in cases of the former, you should make sure that you store your bottles of wine horizontally. Keeping your bottles like this will help to keep the cork moist, which is key for long-term storage. Should the cork dry out, shrinkage, seepage and premature aging can occur.
For screw top wine bottles, it isn’t necessary to keep them on their sides. Horizontal storage is, nevertheless, a more efficient way to hold your wines in order to maximise space and enable easy access. Keeping a screw top bottle horizontally certainly won’t do it any specific harm. In fact, many wine connoisseurs now regard screw tops as the smarter investment if you intend to keep your wine for a while.
PROTECT THE WINE FROM LIGHT AND VIBRATION
As soon as you start storing a wine, whether for months, weeks, or days, you should keep it in the dark, as much as possible. UV rays from direct sunlight (and even incandescent light) will harm the wine’s flavours and aromas immeasurably; the reason bottles have a green taint. This tinted glass blocks sunlight and prevents oxidation.
It’s also a wise move to prevent physical disturbances occurring close to your bottles. As such, keep wines away from sources of vibration, such as your washer and dryer, exercise area, or stereo system. Vibrations can disturb the sediment in your wine bottle, disrupting the delicate process that causes the wine to age favourably.
STORE WINE AT THE PROPER HUMIDITY
Fluctuations in humidity in your storage area can also impact your wine’s longevity. The lower the humidity, the sooner your cork will dry out, letting the wine become vulnerable to the effects of oxygen. The higher the humidity, the more prone the labels are to peeling, making them harder to display and sell.
Instead, you want to get that humidity balance just right; between 60 and 68 % RH is ideal.
STORE YOUR WINE IN A WINE COOLER, NOT A REGULAR FRIDGE
Your storage space should ideally tick all the boxes we mentioned above. A dual zone wine cooler is a good option to fulfill this job. Unlike a standard household refrigerator, which keeps your food cold and dry, a wine fridge keeps wine in the region of 10-15˚C (50-60˚F) and at the proper humidity required.
A good wine cooler will also have a multi zone cooling option, enabling you to cool your white and red wine to the optimum temperatures (red requires a slightly warmer temperature than white, 12-19˚C and 8-12˚C, respectively, with sparkling needing 5-8˚C) without needing a separate wine fridge.
This also helps prevent cross-contamination from food odours, which is a threat when keeping wine in the fridge.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Without wishing to repeat ourselves; your wine is only as good as its storage. As such, it’s important to bear in mind temperature, humidity, angle, light and vibration when storing your wine. Cheers!
If you do have some wine which you feel has gone over and is no longer drinkable, then consider these 5 creative uses for leftover wine.