You know the feeling, right? When you come home with a new bottle of wine and feel like a kid leaving the candy store with a golden ticket. But if you’re saving that bottle of wine for a special night, make sure you’re storing it correctly so you don’t spoil the evening with a rotten bottle. Here’s how to store wine to get the most out of your bottle.
HOW TO STORE WINE CORRECTLY
STORE WINE ON ITS SIDE
The biggest mistake wine drinkers make is storing their wine bottles upright. Not only will this dry out your cork, but it also fails to protect the wine from oxidation. With the bottle vertical, air has a better chance of seeping through the cracks and oxidizing your wine before it’s ready (think of an apple being exposed to air before you’re ready to eat it —browned apples just don’t taste as good). By storing the bottle horizontally, the cork will stay moist and ensure that no oxygen will tamper with your wine. If you’re drinking from a screw-top, disregard everything above. You can store those bottle at any and every angle.
STORE WINE WHERE ITS COOL AND DRY
With any bottle, you want to keep it in a cool, dry place. Think of your wine as juice (or technically fermented juice). You don’t want to leave juice in your hot garage to stew, right? Nope nope nope.
If we’re getting picky, there are four different temperatures your wine should be stored at depending on which type it is: full red, light red, whites & pinks, and sparkling.
For full reds, like Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, they should be stored in a cool, dark place (think a basement). Ideally, 60°F – 65°F is perfect.
Lighter reds like Grenache and Pinot Noir should be served slightly chilled at 55°F – 60°F. If you accidentally left your Pinot out, just stash it in the fridge about an hour prior to serving it and you’ll be fine.
Starting to pick up on the trend? The lighter the wine, the cooler the serving temperature.
Whites & pink wines are fit to store in the fridge, ideally between 45°F – 55°F. Twenty minutes prior to uncorking, take your bottle out of the fridge so it has time to warm up a little. Just remember, if a wine is served too cold, its flavors will be masked. You can always warm up the wine by cupping the glass with your hands.
If you’re celebrating a promotion, a breakup, or just the start of the weekend with some sparkling wine, make sure your bubbly is ice-cold leaving the fridge. Any wines with bubbles should be served as chill as can be.
KEEP WINE OUT OF DIRECT SUNLIGHT
In addition to storing your wine in a cool, consistent temperature, it’s important to keep your wine bottles out of direct sunlight. UV rays are actually quite harmful to wine and can affect your wine quite quickly. If you’re curious about the science of it all, UV rays can react with the wine’s phenolic compounds, resulting in sulfurous compounds that can smell (and taste) super funky. We wouldn’t recommend.
HOW TO STORE WINE AFTER OPENING
Now that we’ve covered the basics of storing sealed bottles of wine, here’s how to store wine after opening. Your first line of defense is using a bottle stopper or the original cork to re-seal the wine. Next, we recommend storing your open bottles in a wine fridge or traditional refrigerator. Keeping wine (both white and red) in the fridge with the cork can help a bottle last longer.
There are also preservation systems you can use to slow the oxidation of your wine and keep it fresh. There are two different types – vacuum systems and blanket systems. Vacuum systems use a pump to remove air from inside the bottle. Blanket systems pump a gas (commonly argon gas) into the bottle, forcing the air out. Note: this gas does not negatively affect the wine.
IN VINO FINITO
Now that you know how to store wine, you’re in a better position to enjoy your wine, and enjoy your wine for longer. Cheers to making the most of every bottle!