Having a glass of wine as part of any evening meal is now a typical occurrence in many homes. We have taken a leap of faith from the traditional where wine is usually served only during special occasions. With increased wine consumption, it is important to understand proper wine storage.
Proper storage temperature is crucial
Temperature is considered one if not the most crucial factor to consider in wine storage. It is often very misleading to see recommended temperatures here and there, and that makes it harder for most people to really know what proper wine storage temperature really means.
Let us put it this way. We can always go for the recommendations given by the most reputable wine organisations, and they say 55 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Well, if you feel like you cannot maintain this temperature exactly as it is said, you can always go a few degrees lower or above the set temperature. Please do not confuse wine storage temperature with that of serving temperature, because these two things are very different.
Having a stable temperature within the wine storage is also important
Setting your wine storage temperature at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit is said to be ideal. However, it is tricky to maintain this temperature. Take note that any prolonged change in temperature can be harmful as it promotes rapid oxidation. This can result in undesirable reactions that will later on affect not just the aroma but also the taste of the wine. Even small temperature changes can negatively influence wine quality.
Here is a more detailed explanation. Any unfilled space in a bottle of wine tends to contract when the temperature in the wine storage area suddenly drops. The reverse happens when the temperature in the storage area increases. This abrupt change results in gas breathing through the cork, and that will result in degrading wine quality. Therefore, it is important to maintain the temperature inside the wine storage.
Proper humidity levels are just as crucial as temperature levels
Humidity levels are crucial for those bottles of wine that have been stored for a long period of time. The reason behind that is the fact that low humidity levels will result in shrinking corks, which will result in oxygen entering the wine bottle. The sealing failure exposes the wine to oxidation. This will cause over-maturity or wine spoilage.
High humidity levels, on the other hand, can also result in negative effects. This can promote mildew and mould growth. The first signs of the infestation can be seen on discoloured wine labels, and this can lower the wine’s resale value.
Suggested humidity levels
Wine storage experts agree that humidity levels should be somewhere in between 70 and 75 percent. This will ensure better cork sealing, thus preventing oxidation, as well as, mould and mildew growth. Since it can be hard to maintain such humidity levels, 50 to 80 percent is considered acceptable.
It is important to protect it from UV light
Ultraviolet or UV is a type of invisible electromagnetic radiation that is commonly associated with the sun’s natural light. This same light, however, is also said to emanate from artificial light sources, although in varying degrees. Many studies have proven that UV light can affect the taste and aroma of wine. Therefore, you should protect your wine from these harmful forms of light.
What exactly happens to wine when it is exposed to UV radiation? It causes a reaction with naturally-occurring sulphur compounds in wine. This will further be broken into smaller metabolites that can harm the flavour and aroma of the wine. These compounds can further evolve into compounds like hydrogen sulphide and dimethylsulphide.
It is important to store wine bottles on their side
This is a common factor that is often forgotten when it comes to wine storage. However, as you have seen in bars and in other households with wine storage, you will notice that the bottles are always lying on their sides. What can be the rationale behind this? Well apart from maximizing storage space, it is also a good way for the wine to be in contact with the cork. This will subsequently moisten and seal the bottles properly.
Now that you have come to know the secrets to handling wine storage, it is important to get your act together and start applying them in your wine cellar!