How to store fine wine
When you have a high-quality wine, it is important to know the best ways to store it because it can make a big difference between a wine that is perfect or disappointing when you do decide to open it. As a specialist fine wine company, we know a thing or two about wine, it’s our passion and we enjoy sharing what we have learned over the years with others. So, whether you’re just getting started in the world of fine wine or you have some knowledge and experience, this guide will provide some top tips on the best ways to store your fine wine.
The ideal temperature
For long term storage of wine (i.e., if you don’t want to drink the wine for at least a year) the recommended temperature for storing wine is between 10C and 13C. This is because it encourages a steady maturation and avoids any quick fluctuations that might result in air and bacteria accessing the wine. You can sometimes notice this as the glass will expand more rapidly than the cork which can allow the wine to leak out and if wine can get out, bacteria can get in.
If you only intend to store your fine wine for the short term, for example if you’re planning on giving vintage wine gifts. Temperatures of between 7C and 21C will be acceptable as long as you meet the other conditions of storage set out below. The key to temperature when storing fine wine is consistency.
You should avoid keeping it in places where the temperature is likely to fluctuate regularly like your kitchen or garden shed. High temperatures of above 26C or lower temperatures of less than 7C are not good for storing wine. Also, keeping wine in the fridge for an extended period of time can cause the corks to harden and air to get in, making the wine go stale.
Minimise exposure to light
A less well-known factor that can affect fine wine storage is light. Even short-term exposure to light (natural or artificial but especially sunlight) can damage the wine and lead to premature aging. This is a more significant problem for wine that is kept in clear glass bottles, which includes several white and rose wines. It’s important to keep your wine in as dark of an environment as possible, hence why they are often kept in cellars. Light bulbs in your home probably won’t damage the wine, but the labels on the bottles are likely to fade and having a dark area for storage will avoid any risks to the quality of the wine.
Avoid too high humidity
Humidity is required to prevent the cork in wine bottles from drying out, especially during long-term storage. The ideal level of humidity when storing fine wine is between 50% and 70%. Anything above 70% will create the right conditions for mould to grow and will eventually damage the labels on the bottles too.
Keep in mind that many modern centrally heated homes will have humidity levels of below 50% and therefore aren’t a good environment for long-term storage of fine wine. Cellar conditioning units and reliable wine storage solutions have humidity controls to ensure your wine is kept in perfect condition.
Positioning the bottles
Wine bottles should be kept horizontal so that the cork remains in consistent contact with the wine. This prevents it from drying out and causing the wine to oxidise. It’s also important to make sure that the bottles aren’t going to be exposed to any vibrations where you place them. Vibrations disturb the sediment in old wines which impacts the preserved quality of the wine.
Additionally, it is not recommended to keep wine in a normal household fridge because their compressors naturally create vibrations. For this reason, specialist wine fridges and storage units are designed to keep the compressor separate from the main body of the fridge. So, if you want to avoid the risk of problems with your wine, make sure your storage can keep your wine bottles secure when horizontal without interactions with any vibrations.
We hope this guide has given you a useful insight into the key factors to remember if you’re planning to store bottles of fine wine. At Jean Juviniere we specialise in a wide range of wine gift boxes that include some of the finest and most exclusive wines on the market. If you’re looking for the perfect corporate wine gifts for your employees or clients, be sure to shop our full collection to find the perfect option for your business occasion. Christmas will be here before we know it, so avoid the last minute rush and shop Christmas wine hampers from Jean Juviniere today.