So, you bought a bottle of expensive wine – the last thing you want to do is stick it in the back of your liquor cabinet or somewhere in the garage. An expensive bottle of wine is an investment, and if it won’t be consumed right away or you're not looking to sell your wine immediately, it’s essential to know how to store it properly – especially for an extended period of time.
Here’s a closer look at how to store expensive wine, including some helpful tips on bottle placement, storage temperature, and more.
The first thing you have to think about when storing wine is the cellar temperature. While 55-degrees Fahrenheit is considered perfect, temperatures between 45- and 65-degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for your wine. This means that your refrigerator isn’t a great place for long term storage. Additionally, you should never store your expensive wine somewhere it could freeze, such as an unheated garage during the winter months.
Humidity is another important aspect of wine storage. Without it, your corks could dry out, and air will get into the bottle, ruining your wine. On the other hand, you don’t want to store your wine in an extremely damp location, as it can promote mold.
While 70 percent humidity is ideal, as long as you’re not storing your fine wine for 10 years or more, 50 to 80 percent is usually safe.
When cellaring expensive wine, it’s best to lay the bottle on its side, rather than upright. But why is wine stored on its side? Traditionally, this is done to keep the wine against the cork (which prevents it from drying out). This is especially important if you’ll be storing the wine for a long period of time. The last thing you want is to find that your expensive bottle is ruined due to a dry cork.
Many people don’t have their own underground cellar for storing wine. However, there are still many great alternatives, such as wine refrigerators that can be placed anywhere. Wine refrigerators are capable of holding anywhere from 10 to over 100 bottles of wine, depending on the size of the system.
When choosing one of these refrigerators, pay attention to how much access you have to bottles, how they are stacked, and the type of door it has. You’ll also want to consider the noise the unit makes, the materials used for shelving, and the temperature control options.
Keep in mind, most wines don’t improve after bottling. However, some of the best, most expensive wines will soften, develop, evolve, and improve over time if they’re stored properly. It’s the distinctive wines that we cellar and save for something special, and cellaring wine requires time and patience. When you cellar your expensive wine properly, you’ll eventually enjoy an incredible tasting experience that’s well worth the time and effort.