Wine Storage Guidance

Foods & DrinksFood

  • Author Pip Martin
  • Published May 25, 2009
  • Word count 422

You've been keeping your wine where? For how long? If your wine could speak if would surely be asking for counselling by this stage, or at the very least a package holiday in a musty cellar somewhere.

Whole books, lectures and PHD's have been dedicated to this subject, but we'd like to give you the low down in under 500 words.

There are really just four Golden rules in wine storage.

The Four Golden Rules

  1. Keep the bottle on its side

The majority of fine wines (which are usually the wines with the capacity to age) are still closed traditionally with a cork. It's very important to keep the cork moist, so let the wine rest on its side. Resist the temptation to parade your maturing wine in front of your friends in your living room. It's a delicate creature, and this fools around with the sediment nicely collecting along the wine's belly.

  1. Make sure your bottle is not too hot, or too cold

Fluctuating temperatures in particular are very bad for wines, and should be avoided. Ideal storage conditions are about 8-14 degrees centigrade (ideally 9-10).

  1. Keep the wine away from bright light

Wines, like us at 4am in the morning, are terrible with bright light. Keep your wine in darkness and it's sure to repay you handsomely for your thoughtfulness.

  1. And if your wine is picking up good vibrations

Turn these off. Try if possible to keep your wine away from your dishwasher, spin dryer, or any other household appliance that just can't stay still.

(Oh, and a word about humidity)

A relative humidity of about 70% is generally thought to keep corks suitably damp whilst also keeping labels mould-free.

And if you don't trust yourself

If you've got some seriously expensive stuff, and it's apparent you don't have the right storage conditions, it's often a good idea to consider a wine warehouse or storage facility. Remember these warehouses will not accept a single bottle, but will accept full cases (ie 12 bottles). Charges can be surprisingly affordable, and if you have plans to sell your wine in the future this can help in your asking price.

Good wine warehouses in the UK include Smith and Taylor (tel: 020 7627 5070) or London City Bond (tel: 013 7585 3700).

Finally, a word about maturity

The majority of wines available for sale are designed to be drunk within 1 to 2 years of purchase. If the wine you are buying is capable of ageing, the wine merchant should be able to let you know when it is good to consume.

Happy drinking.

Pip Martin hosts International, UK-wide and London wine tasting games and other specialist events for the corporate events industry. His company, The Wine Adventure, also hosts fun, participative chocolate making and tasting events, beer tastings, Whisky tastings, cocktail making and tasting events, and even fine food challenges, all for corporate entertainment.

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