Got a couple bottles of good wine that you wish to save for special occasions? Storing wine at home should not be an issue if you have one of those temperature controlled wine refrigerators, or if your house has underground wine cellar or wine cave (lucky you!). But if you don’t, there are still a couple of tricks to keep those wine in close to ideal condition. Text books always say the ideal wine storage temperature should be at around 55°F because this is the best temperature if you want to age your wine. However, as long as you can find a cool, damp and dark spot in your house, you can normally get away without the 55°F rule. Now then, what exactly does it mean by cool, damp and dark?
If aiming for the ideal storage temperature is not possible for you, try to shoot for the ideal serving temperature instead, which is normally at a range of 45-65°F. Higher than 65°F, your wine might risk undesired premature aging. Don’t go too cold either, it will end up slowing the aging process and changing the properties of the wine. Which means, guys, freezer is a big no no. Can you store wine in the fridge? Might be okay, but does it cover all three criterias? Let’s talk about it more in a second.
Apparently, when it comes to wine, nothing is as literal as it sounds. When we say cool, it is 45-65°F. When we say damp, how damp? Actually the reason you want to store your wine in a damp place is to keep the wine cork moist. Dry wine cork will shrink and crack and more air will enter the bottle. You want the wine cork to stay plump and seal the bottle tight. On the other hand, if the wine storage area is overly humid, the mold and mildew can damage your wine label. what we are looking for is the humidity sweet spot of 60-80% RH. Here is where it gets a bit tricky, doesn’t it? Normal humidity for a home is around 30-50%. Unless you live in a humid area, finding a place with 60-80% humidity level can be challenging. The good news though, if you are going to drink your wine anyway within a month or so, you don’t need to worry too much about humidity. Just watch the temperature of the wine storage area and limit the light exposure, and you are good. It is when you need to store your wine for long term that the humidity level comes into play. In that case, consider getting a wine cellar or wine cabinet. Keep in mind that a wine refrigerator or wine cooler does not regulate humidity – wine cellar does.
Wine without tannins, such as white and sparklings, tends to be more sensitive to light exposure. Which is why when you want to display your bottle with our balancing wine holder, we recommend displaying it with those that come with extra dark colored bottles. (yeah, pardon our self promo :P). Exposure to light can affect the wine color, aroma and flavor. Light is not a friend of wine. The ideal places for wine are the dark places.
So after reading all the requirements above, what is the best place come to mind? A Batman Bat Cave *Wink*
Don’t know Batman well enough for him to keep the wine for you? Guess you have to rely on your own home then. Where is the best place to store wine at home? What are your options? Refrigerator? Garage? or Closet?
Can you store wine in the refrigerator?
By refrigerator, we mean the fridge section of course. That depends on where in the refrigerator and for how long. Refrigerator is generally not the ideal place to store wine. It’s cooler than 45°F with low level humidity and if your refrigerator is the frequently used ones (the one you put in your kitchen), it most likely won’t keep the constant temperature and still condition the wine prefers. However, if you must, do it only for short period of time – for the wine that you will drink in a couple of weeks. Also, never ever put your wine bottles on the top shelf. Yes, we know it’s convenient but just don’t. There is where the fridge lights are.
Can you store wine in the garage?
The answer most definitely is NO! Most garages have poor insulation thus the temperatures inside always fluctuate. Really cool during winter and very hot during summer – worst condition for wine. The only time you can keep wine in the garage is if you have a working refrigerator in there (sometimes people do put their old refrigerator in the garage).
Can you store wine in the closet?
Most closets we know are usually not humid enough for wine. However, if your closet is cool and dark, it might work well as a short term solution. To find out, you can use the hygro thermometer. This type of thermometer can measure both temperature and humidity so it is quite a handy tool to have when you tend to store wine at home. We stored our wine in the closet before and the wine still tasted fine afterwards.
Two more rules to keep in mind
Now that you get the concept of “cool-damp-dark”. There are 2 more rules you need to follow:
- For storage, the proper way to store wine bottles is by laying them flat on their sides AKA horizontally.
By laying them flat, the wine will touch the corks and keep them moist. Humidity keeps the cork moist from the outside, wine from the inside. Don’t arrange the bottles upright like the stores do. They are not doing it for the sake of the wine. They arrange them that way just so that you can read the wine labels and find your wine easily.
- Keep your bottles in a still area.
Wine needs a stable environment. Excessive shaking can change the wine characteristics. If you are going to put your wine bottles in the closet, for instance, make sure they are organized neatly and away from all your other clothings. Find the spot where you don’t have to move around stuffs frequently.
Most important of all, despite all the guides you read, don’t fuss too much about where you place your wine. Just enjoy it. That should be your top priority. Isn’t that why you got them in the first place? Most people consume their wine within a week or so from the purchase date. If that is your case as well, have fun with it. Display it on a cool wine bottle holder, make it a conversation piece and build some anticipation. Enjoying wine is a process. As long as you keep them away from sunlight and heat, it should be fine, ready for the opening. Now go and drink in good health.
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