Food & Drink

How to store wine properly

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Wine bottles on a wine rack
If you keep your red wines in a cellar, they'll get better with age
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You’ll save time by learning how to store wine properly.

Ideally, wine should be stored horizontally in a dark, cool or temperature-controlled, vibration-free environment. A basement or a refrigerated wine cellar is perfect. However, not all wines are meant to be aged. Most of the wines of the world are meant to be drunk young while they still possess their fresh aromas and flavors.


Secure Your Wines


Generally, wines that need to mature in a cellar are red. Few white wines need time to mature. For this reason most white wines are purchased on an as-needed basis. However, there's no doubt that all wine will benefit from even a few days rest after bringing it home.


Storing a wine bottle horizontally keeps the cork wet and allows it to expand, thus preventing the wine from escaping and oxygen from entering. This does not apply to screw tops and plastic corks, since they are securely tightened. Premature contact with oxygen will cause the wine to turn to vinegar. Upon opening the bottle, the cork should not be wet much beyond the first one-eighth inch.


Climate for Wines


Regarding light and temperature, a reasonably constant temperature of  about 50 degrees is preferred to one that varies greatly. Heat also ages wine quickly, so a cool or temperature-controlled environment is preferred. Many people choose to turn closets or other small rooms in their home into wine cellars in order to make use of space that may otherwise go unused. Wine cellars can be both a useful and beautiful addition to your home with custom-built doors and other key design elements that will really make it stand out and add to the value of your home.


And, wine exposed to light, especially sunlight, also ages more rapidly than when the wine is stored in a dark place. Temperature is the most important factor when storing wine. Other important factors are the degree and rapidity of fluctuation the wine is subjected to. A slow change of temperature is not a problem, but a rapid increase is. The damage will be noticeable through the cork. If it expands and contracts, it will damage the integrity of the cork. Moderate humidity is important to keep the cork from shrinking.


Store in a Vibration-Free Location


The reason wine experts mention that wine should be stored in a vibration free environment is it's thought that the vibration occurring during transport would unsettles the wine's characteristics, and it needs a few days rest to return to its optimum state. At home, don't store it under a staircase, as vibrations are said to spoil any fine wines by causing it to age prematurely.




Clear Bottles


Clear bottles are susceptible to premature aging when hit by sunlight, but ultraviolet light will penetrate even dark-colored glass. It can give wine unpleasant aromas and ruin the taste. Poor ventilation in wine cellars can result in wine having a musty taste, because smells can enter through the cork and contaminate the wine.


Storing wine is so important because wine needs to properly reach its maturity. Wine is alive, so it reacts to its environment either positively or negatively. That's why it's important to learn how to store wine properly, if you are considering the purchase of several bottles of wine. How it is stored determines how it ages and how the wine will turn out in the end.


Wine-Storing Alternatives


Most of the homes today are not equipped with elaborate temperature and light-controlled basement wine cellars. However, there are many alternatives. You may purchase a small electric wine cellar that you can install in your kitchen, den or even closet. If you don't want to go that route, there are a variety of wine racks readily available online or probably even at your favorite wine retailer. Since light and temperature are important to the well being of the wine, place the rack in an area that best meets the wine's storage requirements.


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