We like to have several bottles of wine around the house at any given time — various cuvees for various occasions, to match various types of food, and to be ready for the occasional unexpected guests.
When you’re not planning to drink a bottle within a few days of bringing it home or having it delivered, it’s important to be able to store it so it’s still in good shape when you do get around to opening it.
Here are four simple “rules” that will ensure your wine is just as good on the day you open it as on the day you it arrived at your home…
- Keep it in a “still” place.
Okay, this isn’t always possible 100% of the time in earthquake-crazy California, but the goal is to keep your wine from being moved around as much as possible. Vibration can damage wine. So keep it off the top of your refrigerator, as well as any areas of the house that may be shaken by small children running around, such as under staircases.
- Keep wine bottles on their side.
This is important only if the bottle is sealed with a traditional cork. Keeping a cork moist with wine from inside the bottle will help prevent it from drying out and cracking. When a cork cracks, even slightly, air can leak into the bottle, and that can damage the wine.
More and more bottles today — particularly whites, but many reds as well — are being sealed with metal screw caps instead of corks. Those bottles need not be laid down.
- Keep wines at a constant temperature.
Generally speaking, about 50-55 degrees is ideal for most wines — white, red, rosé or sparkling — but even more important is that the temperature not fluctuate widely. Temperature-controlled coolers and refrigerators are great for storing wines, but a constant temperature also can be achieved in a closet or basement in many homes.
- Keep wine bottles away from bright light.
That goes not only for direct sunlight that shines through windows, but also lighting you may use in a home office or built-out basement. Bright light, just like too much movement or temperature fluctuation, can damage wine.