So you received a bottle of personalized wine, but you don’t plan on drinking it right away – now what do you do with it? We get this question all the time, so we created this handy guide to proper wine storage that will help you protect your wine gifts over time:
Keep It Cool…
When it comes to the long term preservation of wine, heat is your worst enemy. If a bottle is exposed to temperatures in excess of 70°F for a sustained period of time, the wine will age at an accelerated rate and lose a great deal of its shelf life.
If temperatures get much higher, the wine will become maderized or “cooked” and take on off-putting flavors that are often described as stewed or raisinated. According to experts, the ideal temperature range for wine storage is between 45°F and 65°F, with 55°F often cited as perfect.
…But Not Too Cold
Cold isn’t nearly as bad for wine as extreme heat, but long term exposure to temperatures below 45°F can stunt a wine’s development. If temperatures drop below freezing, liquid wine can turn to ice and push out the cork or crack the glass of the bottle as it expands.
Consistency is Key
More important than maintaining a perfect 55°F environment is avoiding extreme or frequent swings in temperature. On top of cooked flavors, abrupt temperature swings cause the wine itself to expand and contract inside the bottle, which can push out the cork or cause seepage.
Sweat the Humidity
There’s a general consensus that wine should be stored at an ideal humidity level of 70%, with anywhere between 50% and 80% considered safe. If the humidity level is too low, corks can dry out which allows air to seep into the bottle and spoil the wine. If the air is too moist, mold will form which can damage wine labels.
The UV rays in light – especially direct sunlight – can adversely react with wine and cause a host of faults. Light-bodied white and sparkling wines are most susceptible to light damage, and because of this, many are bottled in darkly tinted glass which offers some measure of protection.
Wines bottled in clear glass are especially vulnerable to light and require extra precautions, as with the example of the Champagne house Louis Roederer, which uses a yellow cellophane wrap to protect is premium cuvée Cristal from light.
Think Sideways (Not the Movie)
Wine bottles should be stored on their sides in order to keep the liquid up against the corks and keep them from drying out. If the bottles have alternative closures such as screw caps, then this step is unnecessary.
So Where Should I Keep My Bottle?
Other than a professional wine storage facility, the best place to store your wine is in a cool, dark, not-too-damp environment such as a dedicated wine refrigerator, basement, or closet.
We do not recommend storing wine in kitchen refrigerator for extended periods, as their average temperatures fall well below 45°F to preserve perishable foods, and the lack of moisture can eventually dry out the corks.