How to Properly Store Wine at Home
Storing wine at home can seem like a daunting task. You may be asking yourself questions like, "Do I really need a wine refrigerator? Should I store the bottles standing up? Upside down? Laying down? Can I just keep them on my bar cart?" Here, we're highlighting the key factors necessary when storing wine, which means you'll never have to question were to stash your favorite bottles again.
Choosing to store wine in a designated wine refrigerator is never wrong, but unless you're investing in four- or five-figure bottles, you don't need a wine fridge. The great thing about these little refrigerators is that they keep your wine at a consistent temperature and have UV protection. If you don't have a wine refrigerator, controlling temperature and light are two important factors you'll need to keep in mind.
Look for a place in your house where the temperature stays consistent throughout the day and year. Somewhere like a dark closet or basement is ideal. Spots that fluctuate in temperature—like an attic, by a window, or near a radiator—may denigrate the quality and longevity of your wine. How do you know if a bottle is heat damaged? You'll be able to tell if your wines have suffered from extreme temperature shock if the corks start to push out of the bottle.
Keep wine in a dark place to preserve its freshness. Too much exposure to light will cause your wine to age faster than it should. Choosing a dark spot in your house to store wine is important for temperature regulation and preserving the quality of your wine. The most harmful types of light are natural sunlight, fluorescent lightbulbs, and UV light. Your normal household lightbulb shouldn't cause issues.
If you're not planning on aging your bottles for upwards of a decade or two, you don't need to worry about humidity as much as light and temperature. That said, avoid keeping bottles in your regular refrigerator for longer than a few months. The shifting humidity in an environment with food may cause your corks to crumble or mold if they're left in your refrigerator for more than a few months.
Many people suggest you keep bottles laying on their sides while they rest, as doing this keeps the cork in constant contact with wine and will help keep it from drying out and allowing unwanted oxygen into the bottle. Storing horizontally is always a good rule of thumb, but isn't necessary if you are going to drink your bottle soon.
If you plan on drinking your bottle within a year of purchase, the positioning of your wine doesn't matter as much as it would if you were planning on aging it for multiple years. Similarly, if your bottle has a screw cap or glass closure, you can store it vertically or horizontally. Dealer's choice! Holding on to a bottle for a special occasion? We recommend you store it on its side, as this will help keep the cork wet and prevent crumbling when you go to open it.
Myth Buster: Some people will tell you to rotate your resting bottle a quarter turn every few months, but as long as it's on its side, there is no need to do this.
In summary, there are so many ways to store your wine without a wine refrigerator. Most importantly, find a dark, temperate place in your house where the temperature doesn't fluctuate. Doing this will ensure your wine is delicious and ready to be enjoyed when the time comes pop the cork.