Cellaring Your Wine: How-To-Guide
One of the biggest benefits of cellaring your wine is curating a personalised collection to suit your taste. As your collection grows, and you learn more about wine and your preferences, you’ll start appreciating the importance of cellaring more than ever. You don’t want your favourite vintage to be spoiled, right?
High-quality wines deserve to be stored properly, and we want to help you do it. So here are some of our top tips for storing your wine – with or without a cellar.
Find somewhere dark
Did you know that UV rays can damage the wines flavours and cause it to age too early? It’s therefore important to put your cabinet or cellar in a dark place. If you don’t have access to a cellar, the best place to store them is in a dark closet or wardrobe, the bottom shelves of your pantry, or even box them up and put a blanket over them.
Wine stored in the dark will not lose its flavour or quality for up to two years. However, if you want to store wine even longer, you should keep it in a cool place as well as away from direct sunlight.
Getting the perfect temperature
Temperature is a crucial factor when storing your wine properly and, if not controlled, is a sure way to spoil wine. In general, the temperatures that are best for long-term or short-term wine storage are around 13ºC, but this will vary from wine to wine. Regardless of the type or label, wine should never be kept at temperatures below -4ºC, as it can cause the wine to freeze. It should also not be stored at temperatures higher than 20ºC, as this may age the wine too quickly and destroy volatile compounds.
As well as optimal temperatures, ensuring minimal fluctuations in temperatures is also important to ensure the wine doesn’t spoil. Unstable temperature can cause the cork to expand and contract, meaning air can seep in. Even if your wine is kept in a warmer-than-ideal temperature, if the temperature stays the same, your wine should still develop properly.
Positioning is key
For wines with a cork, it’s important to not let the cork dry out. Ideally, your wine should be positioned on its side to ensure moisture is going into the cork – which is best for long term storage. Even if the bottle is a screw top, storing them on their side is usually the most efficient way to cellar. However, if you don’t have a cellar, or the space to put them on their side, wine bottles with a screw top can be stored standing up.
Once you’ve found the ideal position for your wines, try to keep them in one position as much as possible. Especially for cork-sealed bottles, minimal movement is key for proper development. This includes vibrations from refrigerators, stereos, and washers and dryers.
Stop using a normal fridge
If you don’t have space for a temperature-controlled wine cellar, consider getting a wine fridge. Unlike a normal fridge, a dedicated wine fridge stays between 10-15ºC and can control the humidity, promoting the longevity of your wine. And you’ll ensure no smells from food get in the way. If you plan on purchasing wine as an investment, then a wine fridge is a great way to protect your investment.
Storing open bottles
If you’ve opened a bottle of wine but don’t plan on finishing it all at once, you can store it for up to 5 days if done properly. For screw cap bottles, you can place your wine back in your wine fridge for a few days (just be sure to keep track of when you opened it). If you’re wanting to save a corked wine, the key is to recork it by placing wax paper around the top. Other options include using a vacuum pump or a rubber wine stopper.
Use a system
We recommend using a system to cellar your wine to keep track of your collection and ensure no wine is lost. It should cover details such as the wine’s name, region, vintage, and price, as well as your own tasting notes and thoughts.
We know there is a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to cellaring your wine, but it’s important you follow these steps to get the best tasting wine you possibly can, and make sure you don’t lose any of your wine.