How to Store Wine

If you store wine correctly, it will last longer and retain the flavor that it should. The main factors to consider are temperature, laying bottles horizontally, and keeping wine away from light. 

We’re going to share everything you need to know about storing wine so that you can keep it as fresh as possible and don’t get a nasty surprise when you go to pour yourself a glass!

How to Store Wine

How to Store Wine Properly

Luckily, with the right knowledge and these top tips, you will be storing your wine like a pro in no time. We’re going to tell you how to store unopened wine and opened wine so they taste as good as new every time.

How to Store Unopened Wine

The most important factor is temperature. Anything higher than 70° F and wines age more quickly. If you’ve ever tasted one like this, you’ve probably thrown it out straight away because they taste more like vinegar and the distinctive flavor and aroma are less than desirable. Your wines will appreciate being stored somewhere that’s between 45° F and 65° F.

This can be tricky to achieve, depending on where you live and the time of year. While keeping them in your fridge is acceptable for a time, wine bottles are susceptible to the lack of moisture, and when the corks dry out air might enter the bottles which will ruin the wine.

If you’re serious about storing your wine properly you should invest in a dedicated wine fridge. This compact wine fridge holds 12 bottles and is ideal for red and white wines. It comes with a digital control so you can get the perfect temperature and conditions for your wine.

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If you don’t want to buy a wine fridge there are other ways you can store your wine. Remember to keep them away from light, particularly sunlight, as this will cause a wine to age prematurely. Also, lay them horizontally. This keeps the liquid against the cork, stopping it from drying out.

The best places to store wine bottles at home are in the basement. If you don’t have a basement, keep your wine in a cupboard in any room apart from the kitchen or laundry room.

How to Store Opened Wine

If you crack open a bottle of wine and don’t finish it there are some essential storage rules to follow. You have three options: use a wine vacuum pump, use a rubber wine stopper, or reseal it with the cork.

The best method is undoubtedly the first. This wine vacuum pump and stoppers will remove air from wine bottles and keep them tasting as good as new for up to one week. They are simple to use and a small investment for a big return if you consider how much wine you can save and better enjoy later.

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The next best option is to use a rubber cork stopper. This will stop air from entering and is a cheap and simple solution.

If you really must use the original cork, as long as it didn’t splinter when opening you can reuse it. However, there is a trick to this! Grab some parchment paper and wrap it around the cork before sliding it into the bottle. This will prevent it from breaking and bits of cork falling into your wine.

Serving Rules for White Wine vs Red Wines

Before serving wine, you will need to get it to the right temperature. Obviously, no one wants a white wine as warm as red or vice versa. The ultimate temperature for red wine is between 55 and 65˚F. This variance in temperature is to cater to the age of the wine. Older wines should be served at the upper end of the scale and younger wines at the cooler.

The ideal temperature for white wines is somewhere between 45-55˚F. Champagnes should be chilled even further and served at 38-45˚F.

How to Store Wine

How Long Can Wine Be Stored?

Despite what many of us have been told or read about, not all wines age well. Even if you store them to perfection, this doesn’t mean they will taste better with time. It will also depend on the type of wine and grape. Here are some guidelines to follow as a rule of thumb:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: 7-20 years
  • Garnacha: 5 years
  • Merlot: 3-5 years
  • Pinot Noir: 5-10 years
  • Zinfandel: 2-5 years
  • Malbec: 10-20 years
  • Bordeaux: 20+ years
  • Riesling: 3-5 years
  • Chardonnay: 2-7 years
  • Sauvignon Blanc: 1.5-2 years
  • Pinot Gris: 1-2 years

The better the quality of the grape, the longer you can store them. Any cheap(er) wine from the grocery store regardless of type should usually be consumed within a couple of years.

If you store an opened bottle of wine properly, red can last anywhere from 3-5 days, and white up to 7 days in the fridge. Don’t forget, you need to either use parchment paper with the original cork, a rubber wine stopper, or a wine vacuum pump.

How to Tell if Wine Has Gone Bad?

There are plenty of warning signs that wine has gone bad that you should heed. Here are some surefire things to look (and smell) out for:

  • Smell – if it smells sharp like vinegar or moldy you shouldn’t drink it.
  • Cork – if the cork is pushing out from the bottle (and has never been opened) it shows that the wine has been exposed to higher temperatures and the cork has expanded.
  • Taste – if you sip it and notice it’s fizzy but it’s not supposed to be a sparkling wine, or it has a strong vinegary flavor.

The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make (And Probably Have!)

It’s highly likely that anyone who has ever bought a bottle of wine before has made at least one of these fatal mistakes.

The biggest mistake you can make when storing unopened wine is leaving it in the kitchen. Even worse, would be leaving it near appliances or the stove. Heat is the number one enemy of wine. Another mistake would be placing it near sunlight or even exposed to lights in the house.

These same mistakes apply to an opened bottle as well and don’t even think about leaving a bottle of white wine out of the fridge. Another common error is shoving the original cork back in and bits break off.

Look After Your Wine

Needless to say that now you’re a pro, you won’t make any of these mistakes again. With just a little bit of knowledge and care, you can store your wine so it tastes as good as new the next time you’re ready for a glass.