Having a place to store wine in your home has a variety of benefits that both sommeliers and casual wine drinkers can enjoy. With proper wine storage, you can age select bottles of wine and enjoy them them at their peak flavor or save money buying your wine in bulk. And, having wine storage means you’ll more than likely always have some wine on hand. What’s worse than when you’re craving a glass of wine after a long day, only to discover you’re plum out and need to make an inconvenient run to the store?
Whether you’re already storing wine in your home and are looking for some tips on upgrading your storage room, or if you’re looking to design a new wine cellar from scratch, here are some tips to storing wine at your house.
It’s useful to remember that very few wines benefit from long-term aging. It doesn’t matter how well constructed your wine cellar is, most wines that you store down there will simply spoil with time. The majority of wines that are on the market are intended to be enjoyed with a few years of their release.
If you are planning to age wine, the basic rack, shelf, or refrigerator storage concept just won’t do. Instead you’ll want to invest in a cooling system to install in your cellar that keeps the wine at a continuous temperature.
Not aging wine? The rest of the tips are just for you!
Ideal Temperature for Storing Wine
Temperature plays a pivotal role when it comes to the health and taste of wine. The biggest culprit when it comes to compromising wine is heat. Temperatures higher than 70° F accelerates the aging process of a wine. A wine that is stored in too warm of temperatures will result in your wine having flat aromas and duller flavor. The ideal temperature range is between 45° F and 65° F, with most experts citing 55° F as the most-ideal temperature for storing wine. Don’t fret too much if your storage runs a couple degrees warmer, as long as you’re opening the bottles within a few years from their release.
When it comes to cold temperatures, keeping wines in a refrigerator is fine for shorter durations of time, but it’s not a good bet for the long run. Try to limit the time wine spends in your fridge to about a month of two. The average fridge temp falls well below 45° F in order to keep perishable foods fresh. Those temperatures and the lack of moisture can dry out the wine cork, which lets air seep through the cork and into the bottles, damaging the quality of the wine.
Be careful not to store wine anywhere, even temporarily, where it can freeze. Leaving a case of wine in an unheated garage can freeze the wine, which can push out the cork and spill or ruin the wine.
Avoid Temperature Swings
Don’t overthink achieving a perfect 55° F temperature in the room you’re storing your wine in. Do your best to get the temperature into the ideal range, but more importantly, ensure your wine does not experience drastic temperature swings. Sudden changes in temperature can cook the flavors of the wine. Worse yet, the changes in temperature causes expansion and contraction of the wine, which can push the cork out.
Aim for consistency, but don’t get paranoid about minor temperature fluctuations of a few degrees. During their transit from winery to the store you bought it from, wine will usually experience a few degrees of temperature change. The key is avoiding drastic changes.
Sunlight is Not Your Friend
Light, especially sunlight, can pose a potential issues for the long-term storage of wine. The sun’s UV rays can degrade and prematurely age wine. In fact, the reason vinters use colored glass for bottles of wine is that the glass shields the contents of the bottle from the sun. Storing your wine in a windowless room or basement that doesn’t receive much sunlight is ideal.
Light from household bulbs probably won’t damage the wine itself, but can fade your labels in the long run. Try to avoid having a light shine directly on your wine if possible. Incandescent bulbs may be a bit safer than fluorescent bulbs, which do emit very small amounts of ultraviolet light.
Humidity Conditions for Storing Wine
The ideal humidity level to store wine is 70 percent. The threat that humidity poses is in drying out the corks. As we mentioned earlier, dried corks cause holes, which lets air ruin your wine. However, in most climates, the humidity level of the room your wine is stored in won’t have much effect if the wine is opened within a year or two.
For wines that aren’t being aged, anything between 50 percent and 80 percent humidity is considered safe. An easy DIY way to improve the humidity conditions where you store your wine is placing a pan of water in the room.
Wine Cellars From Harkraft
If you’re not aging your wine, storing wine at home doesn’t require much effort and a makeshift wine cellar can be made in most homes. In fact, you can convert a closet into a functioning wine cellar. Wherever you choose to store your wine, try to keep the wine at the ideal temperature range and avoid temperature swings and sunlight as much as possible.
Are you interested in a custom wine cellar to take your wine storage to the next level? At Harkraft, we specialize in constructing beautiful wine cellars that will preserve the flavors and aromas your wine possesses. Contact us today to discuss your custom wine cellar project.