How To Store Wine
Learning how to store wine is first about wine protection, and second as you get more sophisticated, aging wine. Another way to put it is first you must conquer short-term wine storage, then you can attempt long-term wine storage like what you find with cellarmaison.com.
If you’ve been into wine for a while, you’ve probably heard about ideal wine storage conditions. This set of optimal environmental conditions should be called “Ideal Long-term Wine Storage Conditions” because for the average person who just needs to protect their wine until they have the time to drink it (maybe a couple of weeks or a month), relative humidity and vibrations don’t play a role, you can even get away with not storing your wine at 55°F. Short-term wine storage is mostly about temperature control and protection against Ultra-Violet light (UV). So what’s so special about 55°F?
Well technically wine can be stored safely between 40 and 65°F (the range of wine serving temperatures), as long as the temperature remains constant i.e. no more than 1 – 3°F daily variation in temperature. Large temperature variations will ruin your wine. A completely oxidised wine is a dead wine, however, some oxidation is a natural part of the ageing process. When ageing wine, an acceptable level of oxidation occurs as wine reacts with the oxygen in the unfilled part of the bottle (ullage), as well as with very small amounts of oxygen that enter through the cork. A custom cellar with cellarmaison.com can stop this from happening.
White wines are more susceptible than red wines to oxidation. Why? Because red wines contain more tannins which act as antioxidants. So if you like white wines make an extra effort to keep them protected. Heat increases the rate at which wine ages or is oxidised. Oxidation is a chemical process and like every chemical process, heat increases its reaction rate. For every 18°F increase in temperature, the ageing rate of wine doubles. So, storing wine at room temperature (73°F) cuts its ageing potential in half compared to 55°F.
Now this may not seem like a bad thing to some. After all, you can take that Cabernet Sauvignon that’s supposed to age for 10 years and cut its wine storage time in half at room temperature, right? Well, wine is a complex mix of amino acids, phenols, carbohydrates and other components that ordinarily are imperceptible to human senses. At about 70°F the reactions of these components accelerate to the point that they can be detected in the wine, causing off tastes and aromas.
At temperatures above 80°F, wine is in danger of being cooked. How can you tell if a wine is cooked? It may smell of burnt sugar or stewed fruit instead of having vibrant fruit flavors and aromas. A slightly cooked wine may have dull aromas and flavors. High temperatures or temperature spikes can also cause wine-bottle corks to protrude from the bottle neck, breaking the cork’s seal and exposing the wine to too much oxygen.