Storing wine properly can ensure it ages properly. However, improper storage can result in a beautiful wine turning into vinegar. But before we highlight some tips on how to store your bottles, it’s important to remember that not all wines are designed to be aged. In fact, the majority of wine available today is ready to drink. It’s when you come across fine wines, such as those 90+ point wines, that you should consider aging and finding the right storage solutions. Typically, these bottles can cost anywhere from PHP5,000 - PHP20,000+.
If these are the bottles that are in your collection, then keep reading for our tips on how to store them in the Philippine climate.
There are several factors to take into consideration when storing your wine. The first is light. Whether it’s natural or artificial, exposure to light can cause the sulfur-containing amino acids to oxidize. In other words, it changes the flavor of the wine and can make it smell like a wet wool sweater. This is why if you have bottles of white wine or rosé that are in clear bottles, you should drink these right away as they have minimal protection from light. In short, the first step to storing your wine properly is keeping it in a dark place.
The next factor to consider is temperature. Often we’re told to keep wines at room temperature, but it’s important to remember that this is in reference to European countries. Wines should in fact be kept at a constant temperature of around 12-14°C. Anything above 25°C for more than a few weeks and your wine is likely to be ruined. The same goes for temperatures below 10°C. When wine is kept too cold it can flatten out the flavor profile resulting in a dull wine.
Now that you have the right temperature, you need to make sure humidity is controlled, especially if your bottles have cork closures. If the humidity is below 50% this can cause the cork to dry out and shrink, allowing excess oxygen into the bottle. On the other hand, if the humidity is 70% and above, this can cause mold on the cork. This means you need to ensure a controlled humidity level of around 60% in an area with good ventilation.
The final factor is vibration. You want to limit the amount of movement and vibrations your bottles go through when you’re storing them as it can disturb the sediment and alter the chemical structure. This can prematurely age the wine and is why your refrigerator isn’t the best place for long-term storage.
So what are the best storage solutions for your wine?
There are a few options when it comes to storing your wine. The most basic is a wine rack. These allow you to store your wines horizontally — remember that for bottles with cork closures they should be stored horizontally so that the cork doesn’t dry out. However, there is no cooling element so you have to ensure that wherever you keep your wine rack is in a controlled environment. This means away from any appliances that create heat as well as from areas that get plenty of light. However, for just displaying your wines and organizing them in the short term, wine racks are a great, affordable solution.
If you really want to get serious about storing wine in the long term, your best solution is a wine chiller or a wine fridge. While they can be more expensive, there are different options in the market that suit different budgets and different needs. Nevertheless, you should think of it as an investment. After all, you’ve spent money on high-quality bottles of wine so you should invest in the proper storage as well.
The key benefit of wine chillers is that you can control the temperature, the humidity, and the light. Likewise, they’re designed in a way to reduce vibrations so that your wine has the best conditions possible. Check our blog post all about wine chillers for more in-depth information on their pros and cons and the different types available.
But as we said, most wines on the market today are already at their prime drinking windows so don’t store wine just for the sake of storing it. Wine is meant to be enjoyed, not forgotten about in the back of your fridge. But if you do have some bottles in your collection that will improve with age, use our tips above to ensure that you don’t accidentally turn your wine into vinegar.