An infrequent wine drinker may think nothing of storing a bottle of table red right side up on the counter or in a cupboard. A bottle of white may be chilled indefinitely in the kitchen refrigerator. A party might necessitate several bottles or even a box of wine. No harm done. The wine police will not issue a ticket! However, a wine lover or burgeoning aficionado would do well to heed a few basic facts about wine storage before beginning a collection of cherished and expensive varietals.
There are three key best practices for wine storage:
-Maintain low lighting
-Balance room temperature at 50-60 degrees F
-Keep the cork wet
Early wine makers discovered that wine retained its best flavor and quality when it was stored in barrels that were kept in dark, cool cellars. Both light and heat created a chemical change in wine that was detrimental to its flavor. The corks needed to be kept damp to prevent them from drying out. A dry cork would shrink and allow oxygen to enter the bottle and infuse the wine. The process of oxidation in the wine also changed its quality and flavor. These guidelines are followed even today.
What does this mean to modern day wine enthusiasts? The traditional wine cellar is still preferred for those true oenophiles who invest much money into their wine wine import license collections, and who have homes equipped with the designated, properly designed wine cellar. However, even people without a grand budget and home can keep their wine in excellent condition and flavor by following these tips:
-Low lighting is partly achieved by the manufacturers, who bottle their wines using dark glass. Storing the wine in a pantry, basement room, or basically, a low-lit room, will do the trick.
-Cool temperature can be accomplished in a lower level room, like a basement, a refrigerator, or cool home area. Special wine refrigerators can also be purchased.
-Wine corks are kept wet by laying the bottle on its side. Screw top bottles prevent the problem of a dry cork, and are even used today on some high quality wines.