You might be aware that different wines have different serving temperatures, but you might not be aware that the temperature at which you store your wine is also important. In fact, the wine storage temperature can affect both the flavor and quality of the wine. To get the best out of your wine, especially those expensive rare vintages, you should store it at the ideal temperature in addition to serving it at the proper temperature.
Back before the advent of refrigeration, wine was stored underground in cellars because the temperature underground remains at a fairly constant temperature. Certain wine enthusiasts still use cellars, especially if they are planning to age the wine further after they have purchased it. However, most casual drinkers store their wine on racks, in refrigerators, or in wine coolers.
· You can set up wine racks anywhere in your home. In a kitchen or bar area, the rack can serve as a warming area if the wine was initially too chilled. You can also use the racks to convert your basement into a cellar. However, whether or not your basement provides the optimal temperature for storage will depend on the type of wine and the temperature and humidity control in your basement.
· The refrigerator could be good for some types of wine, but not all. Some wine needs to be stored at less-than room temperature, and at a humidity level that is significantly different from your average refrigerator. A refrigerator is good if you need to chill the wine down to a specific serving temperature.
· Wine coolers allow you to set the optimal storage temperature, for one type of wine. However, there are also dual zone wine coolers that let you set different temperature zones for more than one type of wine.
Before you decide which storage method to use, you should find out the temperature and humidity requirements of the type of wine you want store.
White wines store best at between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They should also be stored away from sunlight. The humidity should be no less than 60 percent RH, and no more than 75 percent RH.
Because red wines are often served at room temperature, they can usually be stored at higher temperatures than white – between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Like the white wines, the humidity should be between 60 and 75 percent RH.
Storing Multiple Types
If you are using your basement as a cellar, or storing both types in a single temperature zone wine cooler, you will need to keep the temperature at approximately 50 degrees, which is the middle ground between the temperatures for red and white. However, your best bet is to use the dual-zone cooler so you can set each side individually.
The temperature should be kept as constant as possible. With the wine cooler, you shouldn’t have to adjust the temperature once you have set it. For the rare times that you do have to adjust the temperature, you should do it gradually and avoid changing it too frequently to avoid prematurely aging the wine. If you have to adjust the temperature often, it could mean that your refrigerator needs maintenance or repair.
Basements and cellars can be more problematic, especially if you haven’t installed any sort of temperature control. If you notice that the temperature in the area where you store you wine is constantly fluctuating, it could mean that you need to find another storage option.
Storage Position and Movement
Wine should be stored on its side with the liquid leaning toward the cork to keep the cork moist. Most wine racks and wine refrigerators are designed to store wine this way, but if you make your own wine storage, you need to be sure that it holds the wine in the proper position.
Once you put the wine in place, you should avoid moving the wine as much as possible because movement can negatively affect the aging process. In fact, it’s best to keep it in place until you plan to drink it. You should also keep it away from vibrations, such as setting up a wine rack or wine refrigerator near a ventilation system.