The Basics of Storing Wine

While most wines are sold ready to drink, many folks buy in bulk for a discount or save something unique for a special occasion without intending to open it right way. As long as the wines you buy don’t come in a bag, the thought of proper storage has probably crossed your mind at least once or twice, but not everyone knows where to begin. Since a wine hobby can begin adding up in a hurry it’s wise to consider how to best to protect that investment, so here are a few tips on the basics of storing wine.

What to Consider

While some truly can improve with age, in most cases the goal is simply to help maintain the wine’s quality, or slow the rate of deterioration. Oxygen is the simultaneous best friend and worst enemy as good wines need a bit to age, but too much or too long can turn them acidic and vinegary. Beyond oxidation, the three factors that impact the quality of the bottle’s journey through time are temperature, humidity, and exposure to light. While specialized wine coolers exist for optimizing storage conditions, a humidity of 50-80% and temps in the mid 50s to low 70s is suitable for most wines.

Typical At-Home Environment

Consistency is ideal, so mitigating fluctuations in any of the above variables is key. When considering the best place in your home to store away your burgeoning bottle collection, the basement is typically ideal given the characteristically cool temperatures and stable humidity.

While it’s tempting to keep bottles close at hand, areas like the kitchen can be the worst case scenarios for wine as cooking with the oven or stove both drastically alter the environmental conditions in the room.

For those without a basement at hand, a closet (far from the kitchen!) can be a viable alternative. While temperature and humidity fluctuation will be roughly on par with the rest of the home, the major benefits shared by both basement and closet is limited exposure to light and helping ensure that bottles aren’t bumped, jostling the sediment in the bottle.

No matter where you end up keeping your bottles, it’s typically best to store them lying down on their sides. While this isn’t necessary for bottles with plastic or synthetic corks, those with natural corks can dry out over time when upright, accelerating the rate of oxidization. Lying prone helps keep the cork moist from the inside and stay fully expanded, better sealing the neck of the bottle.

When is it time to upgrade?

For most of us, identifying a place in the home that’s best suited for wine storage is where the journey ends, but as your collection continues to grow it becomes even more important to protect that investment. Adding a humidifier or dehumidifier to a spare room is a fairly easy upgrade, whereas creating separate thermostat zones or a true cellar with adequate ve

 

While most wines are sold ready to drink, many folks buy in bulk for a discount or save something unique for a special occasion without intending to open it right way. As long as the wines you buy don’t come in a bag, the thought of proper storage has probably crossed your mind at least once or twice, but not everyone knows where to begin. Since a wine hobby can begin adding up in a hurry it’s wise to consider how to best to protect that investment, so here are a few tips on the basics of storing wine.

What to Consider

While some truly can improve with age, in most cases the goal is simply to help maintain the wine’s quality, or slow the rate of deterioration. Oxygen is the simultaneous best friend and worst enemy as good wines need a bit to age, but too much or too long can turn them acidic and vinegary. Beyond oxidation, the three factors that impact the quality of the bottle’s journey through time are temperature, humidity, and exposure to light. While specialized wine coolers exist for optimizing storage conditions, a humidity of 50-80% and temps in the mid 50s to low 70s is suitable for most wines.

Typical At-Home Environment

Consistency is ideal, so mitigating fluctuations in any of the above variables is key. When considering the best place in your home to store away your burgeoning bottle collection, the basement is typically ideal given the characteristically cool temperatures and stable humidity.

While it’s tempting to keep bottles close at hand, areas like the kitchen can be the worst case scenarios for wine as cooking with the oven or stove both drastically alter the environmental conditions in the room.

For those without a basement at hand, a closet (far from the kitchen!) can be a viable alternative. While temperature and humidity fluctuation will be roughly on par with the rest of the home, the major benefits shared by both basement and closet is limited exposure to light and helping ensure that bottles aren’t bumped, jostling the sediment in the bottle.

No matter where you end up keeping your bottles, it’s typically best to store them lying down on their sides. While this isn’t necessary for bottles with plastic or synthetic corks, those with natural corks can dry out over time when upright, accelerating the rate of oxidization. Lying prone helps keep the cork moist from the inside and stay fully expanded, better sealing the neck of the bottle.

When is it time to upgrade?

For most of us, identifying a place in the home that’s best suited for wine storage is where the journey ends, but as your collection continues to grow it becomes even more important to protect that investment. Adding a humidifier or dehumidifier to a spare room is a fairly easy upgrade, whereas creating separate thermostat zones or a true cellar with adequate ventilation represents a far more serious investment. One great solution between these extremes is a wine cooler or beverage fridge, as they’re available in a range of capacities that still fit under a countertop. Perhaps most importantly of all, one available advantage over other systems is a dual-zone capability, since not all wines thrive under the same storage conditions.

Some people say that it’s time to consider serious storage solutions when your collection eclipses 20-30+ bottles, or when your annual purchases exceed “X thousand” dollars, but by either rule you should consider your needs and your means. If most of your bottles cost less than $20 they’re likely ready to drink now, and if you’re a fan of whites or sparkling wines there’s no real upside to the prolonged aging that benefits some reds. But for those who want their ready to drink wines held at the ideal conditions, or have some bottles that won’t be consumed tomorrow, it could be time to make the leap.

ntilation represents a far more serious investment. One great solution between these extremes is a wine cooler or beverage fridge, as they’re available in a range of capacities that still fit under a countertop. Perhaps most importantly of all, one available advantage over other systems is a dual-zone capability, since not all wines thrive under the same storage conditions.

Some people say that it’s time to consider serious storage solutions when your collection eclipses 20-30+ bottles, or when your annual purchases exceed “X thousand” dollars, but by either rule you should consider your needs and your means. If most of your bottles cost less than $20 they’re likely ready to drink now, and if you’re a fan of whites or sparkling wines there’s no real upside to the prolonged aging that benefits some reds. But for those who want their ready to drink wines held at the ideal conditions, or have some bottles that won’t be consumed tomorrow, it could be time to make the leap.

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KingsBottle 50 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler, Black

Overall dimensions: 23.62W x 23.42D x 33.86H inches. Holds up to 50 bottles in one space. Solid frame made from sturdy metal. Choose from the available design options. Compressor-style dual-zone controller. Front heat vent for integrated installation.

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 750 mL Wine

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 750 mL Wine

The third consecutive cool and late growing season of 2012 was perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon. Our dry winter ended with moderate rainfall in March, giving us a long growing season and also led to richer flavor development. We opened the vine canopies to ensure sunlight, warmth and good air circulation around the grape clusters. The night-harvested grapes retained their enticing aromas and naturally pleasing acidity all the way to the bottle.
Price:$52.00

Read more2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 750 mL Wine

2013 Textbook Merlot Napa Valley 750 mL

2013 Textbook Merlot Napa Valley 750 mL

Rainfall returned with a vengeance in 2011, including a wet winter and storms into June, delaying flowering. A cool summer pushed ripening back, and led the most diligent of growers to trim canopies and yields as a precaution. Shatter, combined with aggressive crop management, led to one of the smallest harvests in years. In the end, quality was better than expected, and again showed that Napa Valley, even in a cool, wet year, can deliver the flavor and structure required for delicious world-class wines.
Price:$25.00

Read more2013 Textbook Merlot Napa Valley 750 mL

Uproot Wines Napa Valley Wine Mixed Pack, 2 x 750 mL

Uproot Wines Napa Valley Wine Mixed Pack, 2 x 750 mL

We love a challenge and 2011 was one. For our Cabernet we went to Howell Mountain in St. Helena, where two ideal blocks on a rocky hillside gave us the warm weather conditions and drainage we needed for great fruit. We aged it in 65% new oak to give it just the right amount of smoky flavors. Cooler weather meant it took three weeks longer for our Sauvignon Blanc to ripen. We harvested from two different blocks of a single vineyard and fermented in stainless steel barrels. We fermented half in stainless steel for brightness; the other half in oak to smooth out the green notes. Then we blended them back together for a complexity that reflects the best of both worlds. We got an excellent Napa Valley vintage in spite of-or maybe even thanks to-the weather.
Price:$120.00

Read moreUproot Wines Napa Valley Wine Mixed Pack, 2 x 750 mL

2013 Textbook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 750 Ml

2013 Textbook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 750 Ml

Rainfall returned with a vengeance in 2011, including a wet winter and storms into June, delaying flowering. A cool summer pushed ripening back, and led the most diligent of growers to trim canopies and yields as a precaution. Shatter, combined with aggressive crop management, led to one of the smallest harvests in years. In the end, quality was better than expected, and again showed that Napa Valley, even in a cool, wet year, can deliver the flavor and structure required for delicious world-class wines.
Price:$30.00

Read more2013 Textbook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 750 Ml

2012 Alta Napa Valley Chardonnay 750 mL Wine

2012 Alta Napa Valley Chardonnay 750 mL Wine

The 2012 Alta Winery Chardonnay has a compelling nose of lemon blossoms, bananas, and pineapples layered above clove and allspice and the perfume of toasted oak. In the mouth, the oak integrates seamlessly with tropical fruit and pineapple flavors, while the acidity brightens the fruit as it stretches out across the palate. This wine has good complexity, with a crisp mouth feel, hints of citric zest and tropical fruit creaminess. The palate is warmed by the oak influence, which works well with the flavors evolving over time into spiced pears. The wine was made for early consumption, but the acidity and aromatic sophistication should last for up to a decade.
Price:$24.99

Read more2012 Alta Napa Valley Chardonnay 750 mL Wine

2013 Textbook Chardonnay Napa Valley 750 mL Wine

2013 Textbook Chardonnay Napa Valley 750 mL Wine

A delicious, medium-bodied Napa Valley Chardonnay with creamy pear notes and a richly textured palate. Dry and delicious, this critically-acclaimed "small lot" Chardonnay is a winner!
Price:$25.00

Read more2013 Textbook Chardonnay Napa Valley 750 mL Wine

2012 Uproot Wines Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Somerston Vineyards 750 mL Wine

2012 Uproot Wines Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Somerston Vineyards 750 mL Wine

2012 was the perfect Napa Valley vintage. Spring bud break, warm days, cool nights, and rain at all the right times. Harvest took place overnight on August 30th to preserve the desired acidity level. The two lots were pressed separately and placed into tank to cold settle. Fermentation began in stainless steel tanks and was later transferred to oak barrels. The Kelso block was aged in neutral French oak Puncheons, while the Julia block was aged in both one-year-old French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. Aged for 8 months.
Price:$42.00

Read more2012 Uproot Wines Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Somerston Vineyards 750 mL Wine

2010 Anthem Estate Merlot Mt. Veeder Napa Valley 750 mL Wine

2010 Anthem Estate Merlot Mt. Veeder Napa Valley 750 mL Wine

Our 2010 Napa Valley growing season was another successful vintage. The season will be remembered as relatively long due to the wet Spring and cool Summer temperatures that lasted until the end of August. We welcomed higher temperatures in late August and September that helped our grapes fully mature, and more mild weather in October that gave our grapes the hang time needed to achieve optimum ripeness. As a result, our 2010 Cabernet is a very deep, intense wine in both color and concentration.
Price:$70.00

Read more2010 Anthem Estate Merlot Mt. Veeder Napa Valley 750 mL Wine