How to properly store bottles of wine
We subconsciously place significant meaning to aging of wine: we associate it with the romance of special anniversaries, knowledge, and prestige. However, only one percent of the wines in the world are supposed to be aged and actually improve in quality when stored in a cool and dark place for several years. The rest of them are placed on the shelves in the stores when they are perfect to consume. There is different data on how long we can store a bottle of wine, ranging from one to five years. Young wines should be stored for the least amount of time and white wines are usually not suitable for long storage either. The often-heard unwritten rule is that the cheaper the bottle, the quicker you need to drink it. Do not wait too long to drink the wines you buy at a supermarket and consult the seller or cellarman about storing the more expensive, higher-quality, and more complex wines.
- Temperature and humidity
The ideal temperature for storing wine is 12 or 13 degrees Celsius, which makes your kitchen a bad place for storing it. Wine should be stored in a humid place, preferably at 75% humidity. This prevents the corks from drying out, which would allow oxygen to get into the bottle and affect the wine. This is also why wine should always be stored horizontally, so that the wine is in contact with the cork and keeps it damp. Unfortunately, not everyone has the capacity of storing their wine in such a humid place, and these conditions are essential for professional storage and aging of wine. But do not worry: if you make sure that your bottles are stored in a horizontal position, the wine will most likely retain its quality. You can also fill a cup with water and leave it in the room where you store the wine. If you are going to open the bottle soon, you can leave it in a vertical position.
Light can completely change the quality and structure of wine, so you should always store your bottles in a dark place. In extreme cases, strong light can trigger chemical reactions that make the wine go bad, give it an unpleasant smell, and cause it to attract insects.
When storing your bottles, you should make sure that they are not moving, so that they can age uninterrupted. But in most cases, you should not worry too much about that, as you are not likely to take out your bottles every day and play bowling with them, are you?
- Storing opened bottles of wine
You should store opened bottles of white wine in a refrigerator, while red wines can also be kept on the counter. In both cases, you need to make sure that the bottles are sealed well. Use the original cork and insert it in the bottle in the same direction you took it out to prevent any dirt on the dry side of the cork from getting in the bottle. But even that does not guarantee optimal storing, because the air in the bottle will still contribute to oxidation. On the market, you can find vacuum pumps or special stoppers, which squeeze out the air and keep your wine fresh for a day longer, or gas tools for prolonging the freshness of wines. However, these tend to be unnecessary for moderate domestic use.