Wednesday, August 13, 2014

6 Suggestions For Storing Wine

Ancient Wine Jars
Storing wines to their best advantage has always been a concern among wine lovers. Just last year archaeologists unearthed the remains of a 1700 BC Canaanite palace in northern Israel and discovered the remains of 40 large ceramic jars: Three-foot tall vessels that were once used for the storage of wine.

 Modern Wine Room
Today, our choices have expanded from clay jars and wine skins to state-of-the-art wine cellars, and temperature controlled wine rooms. But for the everyday wine drinker, there are a few tricks of the trade to keep your wines distinct and ready to drink. Here are 6 tips: Three for short-term preservation, and three for the long haul storage.

Short Term Preservation:

1) Put a cork in it! If you find yourself with a half bottle of wine left over, you have a few options.  You can recork a bottle of white wine bottle and place it in the fridge. For red wines, cork it and store the bottle upright in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. This should buy you another 2 to 5 days on the remainder of the wine.

Wine Vacuum Pump
2) Vacuum pumps specially made to remove the air from the bottle are another option. With the pump, you remove the excess air, and then insert a special cork to maintain freshness.

Inert Gas
3) Inert gas sprayed into the bottle will act as a blanket over the wine and prevent oxidation from occurring. This is one of the methods commercial wineries use to keep wines from oxidizing in tanks.

Long Term Storage:
Wine Library
Depending on the wine, most may be kept from 2 to 5 years: some for up to 10 years. If you’re storing wines for 20 years or longer, you are considered a serious wine collector (and probably have your own wine cellar with temperature controls.) 

Metal Wine Rack
4) Rack’em up. There are multitudes of wine racks out there; metal, wooden, plastic, in counter, above counter, on the counter: The choice is yours. Just consider how many bottles you will be storing and how long you'll want to store them – a couple of weeks, a month, a year. Quality wine racks are made so that the bottles are lying down with the neck tilted down a bit more so the cork stays wet.  (A wet cork stays sealed in the bottle.  A dried out cork allows in air that oxidizes the wine.)

Wine Fridge

5) Wine refrigerators can be a great investment for the white and fruit wine lover. These units come equipped with built-in wine racks to keep your wines at the perfect temperature for serving: 59 – 65º F for dry whites, Roses and blush. For Champagne and sparking wines, serving temp is 43 – 47º F

Wine Cellar
6) Wine cellars and caves are the trend in new homes. A walk-in room that is kept cool, quiet, dark and dry is the perfect spot for aging red and white wines. Ideal temperatures for long-term storage range between 50 and 55º F with 70% humidity being optimal. Invest in a climate controled unit that measures temperature and humidity. Fluctuations in temperature can ruin a wine, as can too high of humidity, which causes mold to grow; but too dry and the cork can shrink, letting air into the wine.

Red wines that cellar well include robust, dry reds made from Cabernet, Zinfandel, Syrah, Bordeaux; wines with heavy tannins.

Red wines that don’t cellar well include Pinot Noir, Merlot and Grenache, along with any wine labeled as “light and fruity.”

For most white and fruit wines, it’s normally suggested not to store them over two to three years.  These wines don't improve with age, so buy them now to enjoy soon.

Wine Closet
Wine storage doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Space in your basement or a spare closet might be adequate for short-term storage – five years or less.  If wine has become a passion instead of a hobby, you might want to go for a wine fridge, or a basement wine cellar.  Just remember to keep your long-term wines labeled with the purchase date and drink-by-date for maximum enjoyment.

~ Joy