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Best way to store your wine

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Best way to store wine

A lot of people ask what the best way is to store wine to make sure it doesn’t go bad.

Should you always store wine lying on its side with the neck of the bottle tipped slightly forward to ensure the cork is kept moist?  There is actually no scientific proof to support this notion but it’s probably not worth taking the chance by storing bottles upright for the long term.

Of course, with screw-caps, it doesn’t really matter.

There are four primary environmental considerations for wine storage:  Temperature, light, humidity and vibration.

As far as temperature is concerned, the most important factor is keeping the wine at a steady temperature.  Ideally, for reds, 14C (57F) allows wine to age at the right rate, not too slow and not too fast. Warmer temperatures (up to 18C) aren’t necessarily bad as long as they are steady.  The primary difference is that the wines will age faster. Less than 14C and they will age much more slowly.

While it’s true that wine should be kept away from excessive sunlight, as the UV rays can alter the chemical composition, indirect artificial light (from fluorescent or incandescent bulbs) isn’t really strong enough to affect the wine.

Humidity is a factor but only it’s really high.  Most bottles are well protected by tightly driven corks wrapped in everything from wax, tin, aluminum or plastic which act as a shield against humidity.  One caveat is very high humidity (over 85%) which can cause the labels to get moldy and, in some cases, fall off the bottle.

Try to ensure that the bottles are kept as still as possible and away from any sources of vibration as well as paints, solvents and other odorous sources.

So, a cool (steady temperature) relatively dark place in your basement can be an ideal place to store wines for the short term (1-2 years)

If you want to store wine for longer periods of time you should consider investing in a proper storage/cooler unit.  There are many available on the market that can accommodate 50-250 bottles.

If you have (or are planning to have) a more extensive collection, then a custom-built wine cellar can be a valuable choice that will pay off in the long run.

One final note about the best way of preserving a bottle of wine after it’s opened.  Extensive research indicates that a good vacuum pump then storing the wine (red or white) in the fridge, is the most effective way to preserve wine for 2 or 3 days.