Storing Your Wine

In a perfect world, all wine enthusiasts and culinary academy graduates would have their own wine cellar. However, the world isn’t perfect and more often than not, we have to figure out how to store our wine in our average houses and apartments – sometimes with little room to spare. With so many supposed “rules” about how to properly store fine wine in order to get the most out of it, which ones do you really need to follow? Now that you know how to buy and serve wine, here are some guidelines for keeping those bottles of wine fresh until you’re ready to pair them with the perfect meal.

Find the right temperature
Unless you’re planning on drinking your white wine soon, do not store it in the refrigerator. The ideal temperature to store both red and white wine is between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and refrigerators are usually colder than that. This can dry out your cork, allowing air to seep in and affect the flavor of the wine. A good rule of thumb is to store your wine in the coolest area of your house, though your kitchen or bar area will usually suffice as long as the temperature doesn’t get too high in the summer or when you’re cooking.

Keep it away from direct sunlight
The light from your house’s light bulbs won’t have an effect on the taste of your wine. However, UV rays from the sun can prematurely age it. Even if you’re saving those bottles to mature, you don’t want to ruin them by making them age too quickly. This is easily preventable, though, as long as you don’t store your wine on a windowsill.

Store the bottles on their sides – maybe
If your wine has a traditional cork, it is beneficial to store the bottle on its side so the cork is prevented from drying out. If your bottle has a screw cap, a plastic cork or some other sort of closure, it isn’t necessary to store the bottles on their sides. However, there are no negative effects from storing wine on its side, no matter which type of cork is used, and it is a great space-saver.

What if the bottle is already open?
If you’ve already opened your bottle of wine, your best course of action is to just finish it. However, sometimes we have responsibilities and aren’t at liberty to down a whole bottle of wine in one sitting. In cases, like this, there are ways to seal your wine and store it for a couple of days, before the flavor is affected.

  • Seal the bottle with stained side of the cork or with a wine preservation kit. This removes the oxygen from the bottle and vacuum seals it.
  • Transfer what’s left to a smaller bottle. While that wine has already been exposed to oxygen, transferring it to a small bottle keeps more oxygen from getting to it.
  • Put it in the refrigerator. Yes, even red wine. Keeping it on the counter after oxygen gets to it will cause it to spoil quicker.
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