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Dos and Don'ts of Storing Wine

bottles of wine on shelves
Your new wine cellar is finished and you're ready to fill it with your favorite vintages. If you've never stored a large wine collection in a wine cellar, you might not realize that a few simple mistakes could have a major impact on the taste and value of your bottles.
Here are a few simple dos and don'ts to help you ensure your wine is correctly stored inside your new wine cellar.
Do Store Your Wine on Its Side
One the most common mistakes wine lovers make is storing their wine upright. You might think it’s more convenient to store wine this way, and you can typically store more wine in this fashion. However, storing your wine this way is detrimental to wine's flavor and consistency.
The main reason to keep your wine stored on its side is the cork. When you store wine upright, the cork eventually dries out. This will cause air to seep into the bottle and speed up oxidation. If you store wine on its side, it keeps the cork moist, which protects the integrity of the wine.
Even if the cork on your wine bottle is constructed from glass or plastic, storing the bottle on its side is still the best option.
Do Ensure Optimal Humidity and Temperature in Your Cellar
Your wine collection’s proper humidity and temperature are critical to maintaining the taste and smell of each bottle. Improper storage can lead to several issues, including:
  • Mold growth. If your wine cellar is too humid, the moisture will promote mold growth. The wine bottle is the ideal environment for mold to flourish. If the cellar is too humid, it will only encourage mold to take over.
  • Oxidation. Wine stored on its side helps keep the cork that is inside the bottle moist. Humidity keeps the cork that isn't moistened by the wine from shrinking. If your wine cellar isn't humid enough, the cork will dry out.
  • Premature aging. When wine is stored at the optimal temperature, it is allowed to age and mature properly. If you store your wine at higher than optimal temperatures, it will age too quickly, which will negatively impact the aroma and taste of the bottle.
The ideal temperature for wine is anywhere between 50 degrees and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Store your wine at a relative humidity around 70 percent. Improper lighting can also impact your wine. LED lights are ideal because they emit very little heat and will not impact the temperature in your wine cellar.
Don't Forget to Clean Your Wine Cellar
Your wine cellar provides the optimal conditions for your collection. The temperature and humidity in the cellar are critical, but the cleanliness of the cellar is just as important. A cleaning session two or three times a year will help protect the bottles, and what is found inside each. Here are a few simple tips to help keep your wine cellar clean:
  • Remove each bottle from the rack and dust the bottle and the wood or metal. This task might seem laborious, but eliminating dust will help protect the wine label from damage.
  • Examine the bottles for signs of mold growth. If you notice any discolorations, wipe down the bottle with a damp rag and check to ensure the temperature and humidity in the cellar.
  • Have wine barrels cleaned by a professional. Wine barrels must be cleaned with specialized equipment and chemicals that are best handled by a professional.
When it comes to storing wine in your wine cellar, there are several dos and don'ts to keep in mind. If you have any further questions about maintaining your wine cellar, contact the professionals at Eagle Refrigeration & Mechanical, LLC.