The wine storage guide

Everything you need to know about the correct way to store wine

There’s nothing better than a crisp glass of white wine at the end of the workday or a bold red to accompany a delicious dinner, but how much do you really know about the correct way to store wine?

The conditions wine is kept in can have a major impact on the delicate flavour combinations within each bottle, making all the difference between a subtly balanced vintage and a vinegary glass of undrinkable wine.

So to bring the best out in your bottle collection, we’ve put together the ultimate list of wine storage tips.

In the dark

Exposure to UV rays can cause wine to become ‘light struck’, particularly for white or rosé wines in clear glass bottles. This process ages wines prematurely and leaves them with an unpleasant aroma, so it’s always best to store bottles in a dark area of the kitchen away from direct sunlight, such as a built in wine storage rack.

Stay horizontal

If wines are stored standing up vertically for an extended period, this can cause the corks to dry out, allowing air into the bottle and spoiling the taste. To preserve delicate vintages for longer, make sure to place bottles on their sides for long-term storage.

Keep your cool

The perfect storage temperature varies for each type of wine so if you’re a real connoisseur, it might be a good idea to install a wine cooler with dual temperature control zones to store several wines at different temperatures. If that’s not an option, as a general rule the ideal temperature is usually around 12 degrees for a fridge containing several different varieties of wine. Never let temperatures rise above 24 degrees and always aim to keep heat levels as constant as possible, as fluctuations affect air-flow through the cork.

Perfect timing

Even in ideal conditions, there is a limit to how long you should store wine before the flavour will start to deteriorate, rather than improve. While most unopened red wines can happily be aged between 2-10 years, many white wines should be consumed within 2-3 years for their best flavour. Of course we don’t blame you if you can’t wait quite that long to taste them!

The 70% rule

You can also stop corks drying out by ensuring humidity levels stay at around the 70% mark. The simplest way to maintain steady moisture levels is to store bottles in a cooled environment such as a fridge, as these will automatically control for humidity.

Say no to garlic

The corks in wine bottles allow the wine to ‘breathe’, but this also means that storing a subtle Sancerre or fruity Sauvignon Blanc alongside strong-scented ingredients like garlic can affect the flavour of the wine itself. To avoid these unwanted flavours, store wine in a built in wine cooler, separate from potent ingredients in the fridge. As an added bonus, the extra space will also mean you always have room for a full wine collection – perfect for when unexpected guests turn up.

Category: Kitchen