The fact that wine needs to be stored properly to maintain peak quality is common knowledge. However, knowing how to store wines properly is not as common. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid the negative effects of improper storage on a wine’s colour, nose, or taste. For some people, the change may be too subtle to notice or may attribute it to other factors. But if you enjoy wine, storing it properly will ensure maximum quality when you are ready to open that bottle.
So what constitutes proper storage? That depends on whether your bottle is unopened or opened.
Storing Unopened Wine
In general, you can consume wine up to twelve months after purchase without any meaningful loss in its quality – as long as you have stored it properly. There are several factors that you should follow:
Temperature: In general, a wine should be stored in a location that is between 11°C and 14°C. Chemical reactions can cause the components of the wine to become imbalanced when stored at warmer temperatures, or when temperatures drop and the wine freezes.
Temperature stability: The temperature of the storage location should not fluctuate more than 2 or 3 degrees Celsius. These fluctuations may allow oxygen into the wine. Eventually, this can cause the wine to oxidize, which affects the taste of the wine, or even evaporate a little.
Humidity: The relative humidity level should be between 60 and 80%. This will help keep wine corks from drying out, but too high can create mildew in your storage area. Lower humidity can cause the cork to dry out, which permits oxygen to mix with the wine.
Light: Wine should not be in contact with excessive amounts of light. Light will eventually break down the complex molecules that create some of a wine’s flavours. Keep away from direct sunlight, even if the wine is on a darker bottle.
Location: If your storage location for your wine meets the requirements above, you can keep your wine wherever you want – the basement, a spare room, even your attic! If you have problems with humidity, you can set a bowl of water next to the wine. You can store the bottles themselves in a wine rack, wooden case, or even a cardboard box.
Storing Opened Bottles
Once a wine has been opened, oxygen infiltrates the liquid and can flatten the taste and dampen both the nose and flavour. As a result, the next time you decide to have a glass from that bottle, the more likely it will not taste as good as it originally did.
Refrigerating opened wine is your best bet for preserving its quality as long as possible. Although it will not stop the oxidation process, it will slow it down. Remember to recap the wine, or insert a wine-stopper into the bottle to help slow oxidation.
White wine and rose: Re-capped, bottles of white or rose wine can last in your refrigerator between five and seven days. The flavours will not be as bright or vibrant, but it will still be enjoyable.
Red wine: In general, red wine that is re- capped can last in a dark and cool location between three and five days. However, lighter wines, such as a Pinot Noir, will not last as long as a bolder red such as a Syrah.
Storing Wine the Professional Way
If you are looking for storage tips for a specific wine, take a tour with the Niagara Vintage Wine Tours. Not only will the vintners explain the oxidation process in detail, they will also show you first-hand the best way to store specific varietals for maximum quality. As well as our professional Wine Experience Guides will be able to suggest different ways store your newly-purchased wine!
Book a Tour Now!
If you want the personal experience, contact Niagara Vintage Wine Tours at 1-866-628-5428 to arrange your wine tour lead by industry professionals. Learn from the number one rated Niagara wine tour company as reviewed on TripAdvisor.