Wine Storage

You've just found this great wine, and think it would be the perfect bottle (or case) to set aside. You figure, "this wine has great staying power, and will been even better a few years down the road". So where do you store it? In the closet? On that wine rack on your kitchen counter? Or, do you have a cellar? I would venture to guess that most of you do not have cellars, so there are steps you can take, to make sure those bottles you set aside do live up to your expectations.


When I started collecting wine in the 80's my wine storage consisted of a plastic milk crate located in the basement of our house. I have no idea what the temperature was, but the wine held up pretty well. Later on, I expanded to a nice wooden wine display rack, that I located in my living room (this way I could show off some of my collection)....but the wine didn't seem to hold up very well. I ended up putting my best bottles in the closet in the center of the house (they did much better there). I learned the basics of wine storage by trial and error. Let me save you some steps, as well as help you save your wine. There are five things you should keep in mind, when storing your wine: 1) Temperature; 2) Humidity; 3) Light; 4) Vibration; and 5) Cleanliness.

Temperature - The most important thing is consistency of temperature. Think about it, heat makes liquids expand, and cold causes them to contract. If your temperature goes up and down, there is a danger of the cork (or any other seal type) failing. This would lead to oxygen entering the bottle, and your wine oxidizing.  There are ideal temperatures to store wine at. Whites are usually stored at lower temps than reds, so your storage range should be somewhere between 45 and 64 degrees. The ideal range is a little tighter: between 50 and 56 degrees (these are obviously fahrenheit). Keep in mind that the higher the temperature, the faster the maturation, and keep the temperature consistent. My cellar has one temperature, so I store my white wines on the lower racks and the reds higher up.

Humidity - with traditional sealing (corks) humidity is very important. Think about it...cork is bark from the cork tree, so the humidity of your storage area will affect the integrity of your seal. If it is dry, the cork could dry out, shrink, and expose your wine to air, and possibly leak wine out of the bottle. Too much humidity can also be a problem, causing mold to develop. Ideally, your humidity should be around 75% to 80%.
Light - have you noticed that most wine bottles are green, or brown? Not too many clear bottles out there. Reason...wine is photosensitive. In other words, it reacts to light. White wines will darken, and red wines will fade. If you save wine labels, the light will also fade your labels. Store your bottles in a dark location.

Vibration - wine is a living organism. Great efforts are made to treat the wine gently during the winemaking process, and the maturing process should be the same. Over time, the wine settles out. Those bottled without filtering will have sediment that needs to settle down. If you are constantly turning, and shaking, you may upset the desired physical changes. I store my bottles, label up, and with wine tags on the neck, so I don't have to pull bottles in and out to determine what is in the rack.

Cleanliness - store a bag of garlic next to your wine, and tell me what happens. How did that garlic smell get into everything? Trust me here, keep your wine in a clean, odor free, well ventilated area.

Besides storing your bottles, the only other thing I would recommend is keeping records of the wines you have stored. There are wine cellaring software programs you can buy, but I just keep all mine on an Excel spreadsheet. I keep track of the name, style of wine, vintage, purchase price, estimated "drink by" dates (based on my estimates, and write-ups in trade magazines) and my tasting notes.

So where do you store you wines?  Is it time to move them to a better location?

7 comments:

  1. Yes wine storage is something that requires lot of things that should be kept in mind before selecting the wine storage bottles..!

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  2. Thanks for your comments Sydney. Please continue to participate in the discussion. Anything you'd like to add?

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  3. Wine storage facilities consist of vaults where wine gets all the room for itself…!

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  4. Hi, Thanks for the extra ordinary information about wine storage. Here I found lots of new things which are really helpful to me.

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  5. One should also know about the size of the respective wine bottles and store accordingly. That helps and it is comfortable for wine bottles.

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  7. The post is written in very a good manner and it entails much useful information for me.
    Thanks for sharing!

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