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Friday, July 7, 2023

7 Tips for Wine Storage

Whether your tastes run to Trader Joe’s or the most expensive online offerings of Cabernet or champagne, how you store your wine matters.

“Wine is a living and breathing thing that is constantly evolving and changing. This is why caring for your bottles is so important.”
                       –  Marshall Tilden III, Wine Enthusiast’s chief revenue and education officer

Many of us enjoy trying different wines, sharing them with friends and giving a bottle as a gift. But what do we know about how to store them? Wine experts agree that you shouldn’t just keep a bottle on your countertop. While a wine refrigerator may be ideal, there are good places to keep wine in your home if you remember these seven tips for how to do it so your wine or champagne stays as delicious as the day you bought it.

Which Wines Keep Longest  

The folks at Fine Wine Concierge know their wine, and they’ve got a handy list of how long different varieties will last in storage before their flavor is affected. Check the vintage year and move wines that need to be drunk soon to the front of your storage area or mark the cap with a Sharpie or sticker.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: 7-10 years
  • Pinot Noir: 5 years
  • Merlot: 3-5 years
  • Zinfandel: 2-5 years
  • Chardonnay: 2-3 years. Better ones can keep for 5-7 years.
  • Riesling: 3-5 years
  • Sauvignon Blanc: 18 months to 2 years
  • Pinot Gris: 1-2 years

What to Do with Leftover Wine 

We know, you may be wondering who has leftover wine. But the gourmet staff at Bon Appetit knows you may want to use that Sauvignon Blanc in a fish sauce, or add the last cup of red wine to a marinade, pan sauce, or ragu.

If you prefer to store the wine for later, you can freeze it into ice cubes and then put those in a resealable plastic bag. Another tasty trick is to add three parts of wine to one part vinegar, store it for a month, and youve got your own delicious wine vinegar for salads and sauces. Finally, if you have wine that has gone bad for drinking, try using it on salads. It will retain much of the original flavor, and its a great alternative to pouring it down the drain!

  1. Temperature Matters. Wine is very sensitive to temperature, and this should be your top consideration for storage. Never keep wine near your furnace, an appliance that gives off heat or where it will get direct sunlight. The optimal temperature for your wine is about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Most important is keeping your wine at a steady temperature, since fluctuations can cause the cork to expand or contract, potentially letting in air.
  2. Wine Needs to Lie Down. A wine rack  is a great way to store bottles at home. Lying horizontally will keep corks moist, preventing air from contaminating the bottle and prematurely aging the wine. Even for screw-top bottles and those with plastic corks that don’t need to lie on their side, storing your wine in a rack saves space and gives you easy access to every bottle.
  3. Find a Place That is Dark and Still. Your wine should be kept away from vibrations and light. Don’t put it next to your washer/dryer, exercise area, or stereo system. Vibrations can cause sediments in the wine to move, affecting the aging process. Wine bottles are often dark to keep light at bay, but they are no match for the sun. Find a dark corner, closet, basement, or interior room for your wines. 
  4. Moist, But Not Too Moist. Just like your skin, wine thrives in a humid environment. That’s to keep those corks from drying out and prematurely aging the precious liquid they are protecting. However, you don’t want humidity so high that the labels start to peel off, so keep your storage humidity between 60 to 68 percent
  5. Refrigerate Temporarily. It’s fine to keep bottles in the fridge for a month or two, so feel free to put the wines you’ll drink or give away shortly in your kitchen refrigerator. But never use it for long-term storage; it’s too cold and dry. On the other hand, a wine refrigerator will keep your bottles at the proper temperature and humidity, as well as isolating them from food odors that could permeate the cork. It should also have a cooler setting for champagne.
  6. Prepare to Serve. Before you open a bottle of wine, let it cool down (or warm up) to the ideal temperature for optimal aroma and flavor. Red wine does best slightly cooler than room temperature, at about 58 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Older wines and those with more tannins should be at the top of that range, while younger, lighter ones do best at the lower end. White wines thrive at a chillier range of 45 to 55 degrees, with lighter, sweeter wines near the bottom of that range. Champagne should be served colder yet, at 38 to 45 degrees. 
  7. Storing Open Bottles. Open wine is easy to store if you seal it well. The easiest way is to put a piece of waxed paper around the cork (to help ease the cork in and ensure no pieces fall in the wine) and reseat it in the bottle. This will give you about three to five days of storage. An upgrade is a vacuum pump, which removes air from the bottle and seals with a rubber stopper. 


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors