Storing Wine

"The older the wine the better it is" is what most of us would have heard. Wines are sold by year and the older it is, the more expensive it is. This holds true in most cases except that sometimes factors like climate and type of grape might fluctuate the prices. For example if the year 1996 had a bad season for grape fruit, then a 1997 wine might be more expensive than a 1996 one. Apart from this you need to remember that all wines have a prime age beyond which they start to spoil.


Most of us buy wines, store it on the shelf in our dining or refrigerate it for a few days and use it. Once opened, a bottle of wine should be ideally completed or can stored in a refrigerator for 2-3 days. Thats the end of life for that bottle of wine.

But if you want to store wines as a hobby in your wine cellar then you need to keep a few things in mind.

Which wine to store - Some wines are meant to be enjoyed young, while others do best with time spent resting and aging gracefully. While not all wines get better with age, those that age well do so because of tannins. Tannins come from the pips, skins and stalks of the grapes in red wines and from wood storage in white wines. Thats the reason why red wines with high levels of tannin do well with aging. And aged wine does taste better. So when choosing wines to age remember to choose wines hign in tannins like Bordeaux Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Pinot Noir to start with.

Temperature - Ideal temperature is 50-55 F (10-12 C). Dramatic temperature fluctuations wreak havoc on the wine. A slow change of temperature when seasons change is fine but changes happening daily or weekly can affect the quality in a drastic manner.

Humidity - Ideally between 65-75%. A higher humidity level helps to keep the corks from shrinking and allowing oxygen in, resulting in oxidation of the wine.

Light - This is the reason most wines come in dark bottles which have an UV filters built-in. White wines are more sensitive to light than red ones. Why else do you think wines are stored in cellars and caves with no/minimal light.

Vibration - Wine Aging involves a complex series of reactions between the chemical compounds, which are responsible for the colour, aroma, flavour and astringency of wine. Any kind of shaking of the wine within affects these reactions and can affect the quality of wine.

Store sideways - The reason for this is to keep the cork in constant contact with the wine. This will keep the cork moist, which should keep the cork from shrinking and allowing the enemy of wine, oxygen, to seep into the bottle.

Notes from the Cellar

How long a wine should remain in the wine cellar is usually best determined by a bit of trial and error. From a caseload of wine, you should try a bottle of wine every once in a while to check on how it's coming along. The enjoyment of storing and aging wine is only complete upon consumption.

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