How Should Wine Be Stored?

How should wine be stored? There are a couple of things to remember. You always want to store it in a cool place, somewhere the temperature stays fairly constant, say between 60 and 70 degrees. Wine should...

Wine should always be stored in a cool, dry place with the temperature ranging from 60 to 70 degrees. The temperature should be consistent, and wine shouldn't be exposed to sunlight because it makes the temperature fluctuate, which changes wine, says Brian Hay, a chef and culinary instructor at Austin Community College. He has taught at ACC for the past nine years. Temperature is the most important factor when storing wine. Other important factors are the degree and rapidity of fluctuation the wine is subjected to. A slow change of temperature is not a problem but a rapid increase is, and the damage will be noticeable through the cork. If it expands and contracts, it will damage the integrity of the cork. Wines kept at a warm temperature will age faster than wines kept at a cold temperature, so moderate humidity is important, as well, to keep the cork from shrinking.

Wine should always be stored on its side to keep the cork moist and wet. The wine should touch the cork so it can expand and keep air out. "One can tell if wine is bad just be examining the cork before and after opening," says Hays. "Wine always wants to change because of natural elements, so you must limit how much change happens." One can limit the changes in wine if the environment is controlled.

Wine can improve with age, but if it is exposed to sunlight it cannot progress. Instead of improving, it changes to vinegar. The Romans figured out that if a wine was placed in a tight, closed container, it could improve with age and without the taste going bad.

Wine also needs to be kept in a clean, dark, damp place with good ventilation. Clear bottles are susceptible to premature aging when hit by sunlight, but ultraviolet light will penetrate even dark colored glass. It can give wine unpleasant aromas and ruin the taste. Poor ventilation in wine cellars can result in wine having a musty taste because smells can enter through the cork and contaminate the wine.

Not all wines are supposed to be aged or stored; mostly red wines are. White wines are meant to be drunk young and fresh, according to the website, a website dedicated to the knowledge of wine. Very few white wines are aged so they should be bought as a needed basis.

A wine cellar needs to be a calm environment where vibration does not occur. The vibration disturbs red wine sediments, and constant vibration can be harmful to all wine. Excessive sound creates vibrations that can also be harmful to wine. Once a wine is laid down, it should stay there until needed, according to Hays.

Storing wine is so important because wine needs to properly reach its maturity. Wine is alive, so it reacts to its environment either positively or negatively. How it is stored determines how it ages and how the wine will turn out in the end.

© High Speed Ventures 2011