Should you store wine on its side or upright? And is it OK to store it in the fridge?
Even if you don’t know much about wine, you can still store it correctly at home.
In this guide, we walk you through the basics of wine storage so you can keep your wine at its best until it’s ready to drink.
Store wine in a dark place
Got a bunch of wines from your wine club? The first thing you’ll want to do is find a dark place to store them.
UV light can damage wine, so your best bet is to store it in a wine cellar, cupboard, or pantry.
Keep in mind that a wine cellar doesn’t have to be an actual underground room; it could simply be a closet or corner of your basement that you’ve modified so that it has the ideal conditions for storing wine.
If keeping your wine in a dark place isn’t an option, put the bottles in a box or wrap them in thick paper. This helps block out some of the harmful UV rays.
Wherever you store your wine, avoid placing the bottles near windows that get direct sunlight.
Store wine somewhere cool
Temperature can also have a dramatic effect on the aging of your wine.
The ideal storage temperature range for both red and white wine is around 13 Degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit).
This is lower than room temperature, but not quite refrigerator cold.
Keeping wine in this temperature range allows it to slowly mature, develop more complex flavours, and soften its tannins over time.
Many serious wine enthusiasts choose to build their own climate-controlled wine cellars at home, but this is not a practical option for most people.
If you are looking for an easier way to store your bottles at a consistent temperature, consider investing in a dedicated wine fridge that keeps your bottles between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius.
A good wine fridge will also allow you to control humidity and prevent vibrations that can disturb the sediments in fine wines.
Avoid temperature fluctuations
Wine needs a stable environment: fluctuations in temperature can cause corks to expand and contract, allowing air into the bottle.
Small fluctuations are unlikely to cause problems for your vino. In other words, don’t worry about breaking out the thermometer and adjusting your storage unit’s thermostat from one degree to another; just don’t stick your bottles in any room that gets hot, such as next to a radiator or above a stovetop..
Protect from vibrations
Vibrations of a wine bottle can disturb sediments in the bottle, which can cause the wine to age differently than intended by the winemaker.
Make sure you don’t store your wine around a washing machine or dryer, next to an exercise area, near a garage door or speakers (especially bass-heavy ones), or anywhere else where there are vibrations that could be harmful to your wine.
Maintain the correct humidity level for corked wine
Now that your wine is good and cool, it’s time to maintain the correct level of humidity.
You should aim for a humidity level of 50-70%. You can keep track of the moisture level in your cellar or storage area using a hygrometer.
If you find that the humidity is too low, use a humidifier or damp towels to raise the moisture level.
At below 50% humidity you risk the cork drying out. If this happens, air can leak into the bottle and ruin the wine permanently.
On the flip side, too much moisture can lead to mould or mildew in your storage area—not ideal for anyone who wants a well-maintained collection!
Store your bottles horizontally and keep them in the same place
If you have corked bottles it’s important to store them horizontally.
The reason: keeping the wine in contact with the cork will help keep it moist, preventing it from drying out and allowing oxygen to break down the wine.
If you’re lucky enough to be storing a lot of bottles, invest in a rack that keeps them lying on their sides.
Once they’ve laid down in just the right way, make sure you’re storing your wines in an area where the temperature never strays far from a moderate 13 Degrees Celsius (this goes for both reds and whites.)
For screw-top varieties (a small but growing trend), feel free to store vertically or horizontally; there’s no need to worry about a sealer drying out here!