We’ve all heard the saying ‘like a fine wine, you just get better with age’. Perhaps we’ve even been on the receiving end, and not quite known how to take it. But what if we told you that fine wine can, in fact, deteriorate if stored in the incorrect conditions? There must be a joke in here somewhere, but this is no laughing matter. 

Particularly if you are investing in high-end wine, storing it professionally and in controlled conditions is vital in increasing its value, keeping the wine fresh and allowing it to reach its full potential. To navigate you through the storage process, we’ve teamed up with the experts at Cult Wines to bring you these; our 5 IDEAL tips on how to store fine wine.

KEEP A STEADY TEMPERATURE

Heat and fine wine do not a happy couple make. In fact, heat is the number one reason your wine may lack flavour and end up tasting flat. The ideal temperature to store your wine is between 10-13°C, much higher or lower could potentially damage your wine. If the temperature is too low, there’s a danger your wine could freeze or cause pressure to push the cork out. Too high, and you could inadvertently ‘cook’ and taint the wine. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature in your wine cellar or on your rack (note to self; move rack away from next to the oven) as this will ensure that your wine matures correctly and help secure its value. 

CONTROL THE LIGHTING

There is a reason wine cellars and storage units are so dark. It’s crucial to keep your wine bottle shaded from the light as much as possible since too much light can result in premature ageing. Sunlight and UV rays can also increase the wine’s temperature which can substantially alter its taste for the worse. This is why wine is generally stored in coloured bottles, such as in green and amber, in the wines original wooden box. Some will opt for a storage unit which uses LED light, as this provides enough illumination to navigate around the facility whilst not giving off any heat.

KEEP BOTTLES HORIZONTAL & CONTROL THE HUMIDITY

It’s recommended that you store your wine lying down. This way, the liquid can hit the cork preventing it from drying out and creating a musty, unpleasant flavour in your wine. You also want to stop your cork drying out on the outside too, which is why some humidity is required. This will stop air being let into the bottle which will spoil the wine’s taste. But be sure not to store your wine in a location that is too humid, as the moisture might damage the bottle’s label, and mould could harbour. A relative humidity (RH) of 60% is considered perfect for wine storage.

DON’T SHAKE THE BOTTLE

There are varying theories on whether shaking your bottle of wine will ruin it. Some serious enthusiasts believe that even the subtlest of vibrations can affect the taste and colour of your wine, due to the sediment at the bottom of the bottle being stirred into the rest of your wine, creating a gritty and lacking flavour. The sediment can also taint the colour of your wine, causing rich reds to dull and whites to cloud. And to tamper with the saying just a little; ‘you drink with your eyes first’, so colour matters. For long term storage, it’s best to store your wine in a location away from any harmful vibrations.

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT

It is important to protect your investment. If you’re a serious wine enthusiast, it might be time to consider investing in professional storage with temperature, light and humidity controls. This way, you can store your wine where there are the most optimal conditions to increase its value and taste, without having to worry about the maintenance and rules of correct bottle storage. Furthermore, if you’re selling your wine on with the intention of making a profit, it will give your buyers confidence that it was stored correctly, further increasing the sell on value of your fine wine.

Hey you! Before you go off for a glass of the good stuff, check out our 5 beginner’s tips for navigating a restaurant’s wine list confidently, IDEAL for impressing dates, business clients or, well, yourself.