Proper Wine Storage

Even if you don’t have a full wine cellar, and maybe only enjoy theoccasional glass or two, get the most out of your wine with properstorage. Since cost is not necessarily a determinant of quality, don’tforget to properly store those inexpensive bottles of wine as well. Youwill be rewarded with wine that will keep for years. Controlling thefollowing conditions will lead to proper storage.

Light. Wines are composed of many different chemical components. Some ofthese are affected by light, especially direct sunlight. Exposing yourwine bottle to sunlight for long periods of time can adversely affect thetaste, ruining the entire bottle. Even if your bottle is dark, that doesnot mean that light cannot penetrate through to the wine. Store yourbottles away from direct light.

Storage angle. You will often see many fancy wine storage cases for salewhich keep the bottle on its side. This is not just for looks or spacesaving solutions! Wine bottles should be stored at either a 45 degreeangle (cork down) or horizontally (on its side). The reason for this is tokeep the wine in constant contact with the cork. If you store your bottlesvertically, then the air space around the cork will cause it to shrink andallow air to come into the bottle.

Temperature. The ideal temperature for wine storage is between 50 and 55degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the wine in this temperature range will allowit to age properly. Too cold and the wine will take too long to age, andmay become cloudy. Too hot and the wine will age too quickly and lose itsflavor. You also want the temperature to remain constant. Temperaturechanges can cause the cork to shrink or expand, which can let air into thebottle. This is why many wine cellars in are lower portions of homes,since the below ground temperature will remain more constant. There arealso specialized wine storage units that are temperature and humiditycontrolled.

Humidity. Like temperature, too much or too little humidity can affectyour wine. Humidity that is too low can cause the cork to dry out, whichcan then shrink and introduce air into your wine. If you are a winecollector interested in a wine’s potential value, be aware that humiditythat is too high can cause your label to mold or peel. The label’scondition can be a big factor in the future resale value of your bottle. Too much humidity will not affect the wine itself. Recommended humidity levels are about 70 percent.

Cleanliness. Now if after reading the above tips, you get an idea to storeyour wine in a musty basement, think again. Cork is a very absorbentmaterial, so any musty or moldy odors can penetrate the cork and taintyour wine. Also, any type of food should be kept away from your bottles,especially anything with a strong odor, such as onions or cheese.

Once opened, your wine will stay good for a day or two – or up to threedays in the refrigerator. If you will not be finishing the bottle duringthis time, you will want to use a special wine stop which will pump outexcess air from the bottle.Setting an area up for your wine storage can be as simple or as complex asyou would like to make it. As long as you follow the tips for storage, youcan be sure that your wine will be the best it can be.

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