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Wine Storage

Why storage is important

The world’s finest wines are those that are stored properly.

Fine wines (particularly red wines) benefit from medium to long-term ageing, where tannins, oak and fruit integrate and the wine reaches its optimum quality. However, if it is not stored properly, with the correct humidity, temperature, light conditions and lack of vibration, wine will deteriorate or mature too quickly.

Storage is not only important for wines destined to be drunk for pleasure, but also for wines bought by investors whose values increase with bottle-age - where proof of good storage (provenance) is vital when selling the wine on.

How to store wine at home

Wine storage is a science, and to ensure that your wine reaches its full potential at home, there are five rules:

  1. Store in a cool, dark room – away from direct sunlight and heat (which ages wine prematurely by degrading organic matter, particular tannins).
  2. On its side, lying down (still wine) – which helps keep corks moist, so they do not dry out and let in too much oxygen.
  3. Free from vibration – normal household vibration is ok, but excessive movement will prevent sediments settling, speeds up chemical reactions and ages the wine too quickly.
  4. At a constant temperature – ideally around 12-14°C. Temperature fluctuations caused, for example, by storing wine near a cooker or heating system, will cause the cork to expand and contract and allow too much oxygen in or ‘cook’ the wine. At higher temperatures your wine will age too quickly and not evolve properly. Seasonal fluctuations have little effect due to gradual changes in temperature.
  5. At a constant humidity (around 70-75%) – which also helps keep corks moist and prevents evaporation and consequently an undesirable increase in ullage (the gap between the bottom of the cork and the wine).