There’s nothing better than picking up a pricey chiraz when you get the opportunity and stashing it away ready to celebrate your Friday night at the end of a long week at work. But if you’re going to go home and simply dump it on the kitchen top and forget to store it properly, you will notice a difference in taste as the wine’s balance and aroma can be disrupted if not stored correctly. The greatest merlot in the world can taste like a cheap, economy version if you leave it for a long period of time in the upright position in temperatures that are either too hot or too cold.
Initially when transporting your haul from A to B, you should carry your bottle or bottles upright to ensure they do not leak. It is also best to travel during more moderate weather, when it is not extremely hot or cold as temperature is possibly the largest factor when it comes to altering the taste of wine. If you allow a wine to become too hot, it will become flat and age prematurely. On the other hand a lack of moisture in too cold conditions will cause the cork to dry out and permit entrance to oxygen, which immediately distorts the taste of your wine. Placing wine in a fridge is an okay short term solution if you intend to consume your wine within a few days, but long term it is just so cold. Steer well clear of freezers as these will cause the liquid in the bottle to expand and explode!
A fine wine does not appreciate rude shocks so you will need to let it rest for two to three weeks before serving it. So if the kitchen top is not the right place to leave your wine, then where is? Well as mentioned before temperature is crucial to the well being of your wine. So leaving it in an open space like a kitchen which gets heated up when cooking and where sunlight beams through the windows is not a good idea. Around 12 °c is often cited as being the most perfect temperature for wine storage; however we must not forget to distinguish between the red and white varieties. Red wine can take a little more heat than white and can really be stored anywhere between 8 and 16°c. White wines can be stored at lower temperature ranges, around 7°c. Worrying about slight fluctuations in temperature however is pointless, only when wine has been exposed to extreme temperature swings should you panic!
You want to opt for cool areas of you house which are most devoid of heat fluctuations- airing cupboards, boilers and washing machines are obvious no go zones. A cellar or underground basement would be the most ideal location for storing wine as it is cool and devoid of sunlight. However the vast majority of people do not have a cellar so it may be best to go for a dark corner of the garage or if you do not have any suitable space for your prize wine collection at home, it might be worth considering off-site storage. Temperature controlled spaces and cellars will help ensure the protection and longevity of your wine so if you love your wine, it might be something worth investing in.
When you have found the perfect space to store your bottles, it is essential that you do not place them upright in the same formation as found in the supermarket. Supermarket’s leave bottles upright for ease since they do not have facilities to store each bottle sideways and to avoids spillages. If your visit a specific wine shop, you will find a much more professional attitude with wine stored in the horizontal position. You need the liquid to remain in contact with the cork as if the cork dries out, it will allow oxygenation to occur.
Some people believe that storing wine bottles at an angle is the best tactic since both wine and an air bubble are in contact with the cork. This theoretically allows some degree of expansion and contraction due to any temperature variations. Storing your wine horizontally or diagonally is subject to preference, just so long as you do not leave bottles in the upright position… unless they have a screw top of course!
Lucy Carswell is a Blogger and Marketing Assistant for Cube Self Storage, Cube Record Management Services and Cube Fine Art Services. UK based storage companies specialising in secure storage of documents and climate controlled storage for fine art.