How to Store Wine (Dark, Cool, Still, and Horizontal)

Most people who drink wine are probably buying wine they plan to open and enjoy within a few years, while others are amassing serious collections that require dedicated cellars and climate control systems. Even if you fall on the more casual end of the spectrum, you probably want to make sure you’re storing your wine in a way that will keep it at peak condition until you’re ready to share a glass. After all, no one wants to waste wine! Keep reading for some simple things to keep in mind when storing wine.

In the Dark

You don’t need to have access to a cave to store your wine in an ideal fashion, but there are many reasons wine is traditionally stored and aged in caves. Relative darkness is one of those reasons. Sunlight is powerful, and exposure to direct sun can change the temperature of your wine quickly and cause oxidation. To be safe, be sure to keep your wine out of the brightest lit spaces in your home. A closet, an insulated spot in the basement, or a custom wine storage space if you have the option will keep your wine safe from the sun’s damaging rays.

Keep it Cool

Most people have some vague ideas about keeping wine in a cool place, but cool itself is a little vague and might mean something different to everyone—especially to people living in varying climates. Wine is best kept at temperatures ranging from about 50 degrees to 65 degrees. A little cooler or warmer is not a huge deal, but you will want to avoid significantly colder temps for longer-term storage. 

But Not Too Cool

Storing wine long term in your refrigerator, as opposed to a wine refrigerator or wine cellar, might prove too chilly or too inconsistent. Kitchen refrigerators often have cooler and warmer zones near the back or by the doors, and it’s tricky to know for sure at what temperature your bottle of wine would be spending time. Your everyday food refrigerator is opened and closed many times each day and can create fluctuations to which you don’t want to expose really valuable wine. Feel free to store a casual bottle of white wine in the fridge if you plan to drink it soon, and you like it chilled, but think about other options if you plan to hold on to a bottle for a while. 

And Not Too Hot

While it’s not strictly necessary to keep your wine collection at a constant 55 degrees unless you’re managing a valuable collection, you do want to keep all your wine from spending time too far above the ideal range. Wine stored above about 75 degrees can become “cooked,” and the flavors and aromas can become altered. Keep your wine away from the furnace and out of hot zones in your house. Keep wine out of the garage.

Be Still

The thing to remember about storing wine, whether long term or for a shorter time, is that you should store it in the right place and then leave it alone until you’re ready to drink it! Once you’ve created the right environment for your wine (cool and dark), place corked bottles on their side to make sure the cork doesn’t dry out and then resist the urge to handle it. A dry cork allows what is outside your bottle of wine to find its way in causing alterations in color, flavor, and aroma. 

Vibrations, too, can damage a cork or compromise the integrity of your wine bottle. Not to mention a vibrating wine shelf might cause some breakage, and no one wants to see that happen. If you live in an earthquake zone, you’ll want to seek customized solutions if your wine collection is financially or sentimentally valuable, possibly including insurance. For most casual wine enthusiasts, however, making sure to find a wine storage area free from excessive vibrations merely means keeping the washing machine or other appliances away from wine storage.

Wine Storage Solutions From the Experts

If you’re beginning to build a valuable wine collection or you simply love to have your favorite bottles on hand to share with friends, you want to make sure you’re storing your wine in a way that will preserve its value and unique flavor profile. Let Harkraft help you work through the choices for building wine storage into your house. Options vary from converting unused space in the basement to store 30 bottles horizontally to creating a showpiece cellar to keep your wine in a climate-controlled environment. The possibilities are truly endless, and we can work with you to create wine storage that works within your existing home or remodeling project. Contact us today to find out more. We can’t wait to get started. Cheers!