When it comes to proper wine storage, some may jump to the conclusion that it’s similar to that of beer or spirits. However, due to wine’s lower alcohol percentage, it is a perishable item that can spoil quickly when not kept in ideal conditions. If you have a collection of fine wines that are made and bottled to become better with age, take the time to create a long-term wine storage system that effectively keeps your wine collection tasting great and aging well.
How Does Wine Storage Differ from Beer or Spirits?
When collectors or sommeliers are aging their wines, they are careful to store them differently than they would beer or spirits. Brown or clear spirits can be aged in a dark, cool area like a pantry indefinitely. However, wine is not shelf-stable, so it must be kept in specific conditions as outlined below.
Keep Wine Out of the Light
You may notice that many wine bottles are tinted to keep light out of the bottle. Although this practice does help to defer light from reaching the wine, it is not completely effective. Just like aging beers, it’s important that any wine you are aging is dark without any light fluctuations. Find a space in your home or cellar that can be kept consistently dark and away from any direct light, such as in a cool basement or dark cupboard.
Create a Space with Consistent Temperatures
Ideally, the space in which you choose to store your wine collection will be around 55 degrees to delay chemical reactions that can cause your wine to turn bad. To age wine with the best end taste and results, it’s important that temperatures are kept consistent to allow proper characteristics to develop over time.
If you are choosing to age your wine in a dark area of your home, make sure that the wine is away from any heating or cooling units like boilers, air conditioners, or heating vents.
How Should Wine Be Positioned While in Storage?
People often age beer and spirits upright, as it is the natural orientation of the bottles. However, these types of alcohol do not use a cork to age the product correctly as wine does. This is the reason wine bottles are most often aged horizontally, as this practice keeps the cork moist and prevents it from drying out.
Storage can differ between wineries, with some choosing to store horizontally, while others may store their bottles upside down to maintain moisture throughout the entire cork.
Maintain Humidity for Superior Results
As you probably found from the above tips, moisture matters when it comes to storing wine. The cork is key to aging wine correctly, so try to keep the area that you store your wine quite humid as compared to where you would typically store beer or spirits. A humidity level between 55 to 75% is ideal, but these levels are usually only safely achieved with a specialized system or at a professional wine storage site, as high humidity can cause damage to surrounding areas.
No matter if you’re collecting fine wine, beer, or liquor, make sure that they’re kept in the proper storage conditions to maximize their flavor and your end results.