Firstly, let’s start by saying that ALL wine has a shelf life. Even expensive examples from the best vintages aren’t immortal. If you’re unsure about your wine, it’s worth doing a quick internet search on the producer and vintage or asking your wine merchant for advice.
Why do you need to store wine correctly?
As wine ages, it gradually loses its freshness of fruit and develops complexity in the form of dried or jammy fruit and savouriness. The longer the wine is left, generally the less freshness there is so it is important to keep an eye on the wine, and most importantly bear your personal tastes in mind, or those of the people you are buying it for. Tobacco, mushroom, leather and gamey notes can add complexity, but eventually, these will dominate the wine.
It’s all about timing
If you’re planning to drink your wine within a few weeks, it will be fine on your wine rack in the kitchen or in the fridge and no harm will come to it. Ideally, it should be kept out of direct sunlight and not too close to the oven or hobs, where temperatures regularly go from extremes.
When keeping wine for longer, keep it out of direct sunlight, bright artificial lights and extremes of temperature. All of these can prematurely age your wine (and not in a good way!) or damage it, causing off aromas and flavours. That would be a real shame if it were a special bottle you bought, or even worse, were gifted.
Where to store wine
Wine cellars at a winery are often underground, where there is a cool, consistent temperature and humidity of 12-15 degrees Celsius. Lights are only turned on when required, often with special bulbs that emit less damaging wavelengths of light. This ensures that the wine ages slowly and carefully.
Got a cellar? Happy days! Stick a wine rack or two down there for a cool, constant temperature & humidity year-round.
Not got a cellar? If you’ve some spare cash, invest in a wine fridge with as many bottle spaces as you can afford. This filters the UV light and mimic cellar conditions and start from as little as £100 to £1000 and over, if you have a few hundred to store!
Otherwise, keep your wine in the box it came in and place it in the coolest, darkest room in the house- such as a north-facing one.
It’s important to store wine correctly to avoid affecting the quality and taste. Not doing so could result in lots of wasted wine so it’s much better to invest in appropriate storage!