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How To Store Red and White Wine Properly

Updated on June 24, 2013

It is said that wine is a great source of antioxidants, red wine that is, so having a bottle or two on hand is not all that uncommon these days. Knowing how to store wine in a variety of circumstances is essential.

Whilst some wine benefits from long term ageing, most are enjoyed within a few years of their release. Regardless, there are a few simple guidelines to follow which will ensure that your purchased bottles of wine are stored correctly and safely, ready for you to enjoy, no matter the time or occasion.

How to store red and white wine
How to store red and white wine

Best Temperature To Store Wine

The temperature that we store our wine at, is important to ensuring it does not spoil. It can be said that heat is the worst enemy for wine.

Wine stored in temperatures greater than 21 degrees celsius (70 degrees fahrenheit) will age at a faster rate which ultimately can spoil its desired aroma and flavor.

The ideal temperature range to store wine is between 7-18 degrees celsius (45-65 degrees fahrenheit). This is generally hard to maintain in our homes as the seasons change and our weather warms and cools.

We often keep white wine chilled in the refrigerator. This is ok for the short term however as our refrigerator temperatures are typically set to much lower ranges it is not ideal.

The best solution is to opt for a location where temperatures can be maintained as regular as possible. Fluctuations in temperature are going to occur, the aim is to minimise.

Avoid storing wine in areas in your home where there tend to be warmer or cooler pockets of air. For example, next to a stove or a refrigerator.

How To Store Wine
How To Store Wine

Light

We have all seen the way wine is stored in big old oak barrels in dark cellars. This is because light, typically sunlight can effect the natural intended aroma and flavor. Think of a wine bottle, typically shaded glass, as a pair of sunglasses for your wine. The aim is to protect wine from prematurely ageing.

Unless you have an underground cellar, the best tip here is to keep all wine bottles out of direct sunlight contact and where possible store as low to the ground.

Wine Wipes

If you love your red wine but are not keen on the effect it has on your teeth or mouth, you must invest in Wine Wipes. Take a look at this miracle product.

Should wine bottles stand up or lay down?

Wine bottles are typically stored laying on their side. This is generally done to ensure that the cork remains moist at all times. Bottles are however more commonly seen nowadays with either plastic corks or screw cap lids so this theory does not always stand (pardon the pun).

Laying your bottles down is a space efficient way to store wine and even if you do have bottles without natural cork, it won't hurt it.

Never store wine bottles upside down as any sediment in the bottle can collect on the cork and provide for an unpleasant taste.

Steady as she goes

Do not apply the 'shaken but not stirred' concept to wine. Vibrations to a wine bottle can disturb any sediment, particularly in older bottles, and cause their flavor to change dramatically.

The odd bump or shake from the drive home from the bottle shop is not going to turn your wine sour, just refrain from any major movement once it is stored.

Best location to store wine

Not every home has a wine cellar, in fact you'd be hard pressed to find one that does these days so what is the best alternative for storing bottles of wine?

We now know to avoid temperature fluctuations and light, so storing wine in the kitchen or laundry is out of the question due to their constant humidity fluctuations. You can opt for a traditional wine cooler or utilise one of many modern-designed wine racks, making sure it os placed in a relatively dark room in your home.

Another idea can be a storage shed that is dark with stable temperatures. Unless you are planning to retain wine to age it, there is no need to be too pedantic as typically wine purchased will be consumed within a month or so.

Wine is an investment for some so think carefully about how much you are paying for your wine and its intended use.

If you want to buy a wine cooler, what should you look for?

A wine cooler is typically a stand alone unit designed to regulate temperature and store your wine at optimal conditions. The cost of units can vary significantly depending on their size and shape. They come with clear glass or shaded glass doors and some even have locks and alarms. Some storage units have split temperature zones allowing you to store red and white wines at their own optimal levels. Select features that best suit your wine collection and drinking habits.


Wine is best savoured so don't drink it all at once. Enjoy every little drop. Store any remaining wine in the original bottle by either re-corking it with the original cork, replacing the screw on cap or by using a wine stopper which are relatively inexpensive and reusable.

Storing your bottle upright is then a suitable solution since the air seal has broken. Consume any white wines, stored in the refrigerator, within two to three days, and red wine sooner.

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