For a wine lover, correct wine storage in the appropriate conditions is a necessity. Fine wines are worth paying extra for only if you can store and eventually serve them in good condition. The principles behind storing wine are not overly difficult to understand however achieving them can sometimes be challenging! Below is a summary of the ideal wine storage criteria.
Wine storage factors to consider
TEMPERATURE - Storing wine at the correct temperature is the most important factor to consider when deciding your wine storage solution. For more information on temperatures for wine storage click here.HUMIDITY - Moderate humidity is important to keep the win corks in good condition and thus preventing any shrinkage. A relative humidity of 50-80% is the acceptable range, but about 70% is recommended. Excessive humidity will not harm the wine but will cause the labels and any other paper products to rot. Insufficient humidity may cause the corks to dry out, lose their elasticity and thereby allow air to get into the bottle. Humidity can be measured using a digital thermometer hydrometer.
DARKNESS - Light will prematurely age a bottle of wine. Naturally, clear bottles are most susceptible to this problem, but ultraviolet light will penetrate even dark colored glass. Ultraviolet light may give a wine unpleasant aromas and ruin it. Extra care should be given to sparkling wines as they are more sensitive to light than other wines.
CALM - Constant vibration from machinery, nearby traffic or even loud music can be harmful to all wine, but the sediment in a red wine is particularly sensitive. Wine should be stored in such a way that once it is laid down, it should not be disturbed until it is opened.
VENTILATION - The space should be free from smells and debris. Extraneous smells can enter through the cork and contaminate the wine. Proper ventilation will help with this problem and keep the cellar from giving the wine a musty taste. Finally, debris that could be a home to insects that might infect the corks – untreated wood, food – should be removed. Never store fruits, vegetables, cheeses or any other food that is capable of fermenting in the same space.
ANGLE OF WINE STORAGE - Table wine is stored horizontally so that the wine stays in contact with the cork. This keeps the cork moist thereby preventing air from entering the wine. Fortified wines other than port, are stored standing. If bottles are stored with the labels up, it will be easier to see the deposit of sediment that forms on the opposite side of the bottle when it comes time to open it.
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