4 Best Ways to Store Wine in Your Home

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If you have bottles of wine that you don’t plan on drinking right away, you may be wondering what to do with them. Can you stash it away in a closet? Will it be okay sitting on your countertop?

Most wines are best enjoyed within a few years of release, so there’s no need to invest in an expensive wine cellar unless you’re buying fine wine.

For the rest of us, here’s how to safely store your wine.

1. Away from the Sun

Wine should be stored away from the sun and, preferably, in a dark place. The sun’s UV rays can degrade and age the wine prematurely.

Household light bulbs probably won’t damage the wine, but they may fade the bottle’s label. Fluorescent bulbs do emit some ultraviolet light, so keep this in mind when storing your wine.

2. In a Wine Cooler

Temperature fluctuations are your worst enemy. When your wine is stored at the correct temperature, it can sit for years until you’re ready to drink it. If your wine is left in a room where temperatures are constantly fluctuating, it will start to affect the taste. Your wine may even spoil prematurely.

Aim to store your wine at 50-58 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, you should store your wine in a cooler or some sort of temperature-controlled environment. You can find wine coolers at iwawine.com and in many stores. Prices are more affordable now, so just about anyone can have a wine cooler in their home.

If you don’t want to invest in a wine cooler, you can store your bottles in the refrigerator for a couple of months. But don’t use your fridge as a long-term solution.

The lack of moisture may eventually dry out the cork, and the temperature is often too low for wine storage. A dried-out cork may allow air to creep into the bottle and damage the wine.

Don’t leave your wine in a place where it could freeze. If the liquid turns to ice, it may expand enough to push the cork out.

Alternatively, you can place a nice wine rack in a safe place where temperature fluctuations won’t be a problem. Avoid the kitchen, utility room or laundry room where temperatures are constantly in flux. A little-used closet or storage area may work best if you don’t want to invest in a wine cooler.

3. Humid Environment

Ideally, wine should be stored at a humidity level of 70%. The idea is that dry air will dry out the cork, which would let air into the bottle and ruin the wine. But the 70% rule is a bit extreme. The chances of the cork drying out are slim unless you live in desert or arctic conditions.

Aim for 50-80% humidity. Simply placing a pan of water in your storage area can boost humidity levels. But don’t let the humidity get out of control. Damp conditions may encourage the development of mold. Mold won’t affect wines that are properly sealed, but it may damage the label.

If too much humidity is your problem, a dehumidifier can fix the problem.

4. Sideways and Still

Conventional wisdom tells us that wine should be stored on its side and kept still. The idea is that sitting the wine on its side will keep the cork from drying out.

Horizontal racking is also a space-efficient way to store wine bottles.

Keeping the wine still is also important, as vibration can speed up the chemical reactions within the wine and damage it in the long-term. Significant vibrations may affect the sediment in older wines and keep them from settling.

Don’t fret too much about vibrations and moving your wine bottles around from time to time.

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