Storing wine

Wine 101 Jun 10, 2020

If you’ve been following my writing for a while you know that I tend to be unable to store wine… not because of the conditions, but because I sometimes lack self-control — and of course I’ll be blaming the recent lockdown ban on alcohol sales. For good measure of course.

But what goes into storing wine optimally at home? What will ensure that your 2015 red will age well for the next 15–20 years?

What can go wrong?

If wines are stored incorrectly it will negatively influence the quality of the wine. Wines will start to lose some of its character and could ultimately develop faults.

The most common fault caused by incorrect storage can be referred to as heat damage. If a wine is stored in fluctuating temperatures (or temperatures that are too hot), in direct sunlight or under bright artificial lights the wine can become damaged.

Wines that were stored incorrectly (as described above) can very quickly lose their freshness, resulting in stale, dull wine. If a wine is much less fruity and complex than you expected it to be, chances are that it was stored incorrectly.

How can we do it right?

To avoid stale, dull, boring wine you need to ensure that certain conditions are met in the area where you store your wines.

Stay cool and constant

To ensure that wines can age well in the bottle, you need to store your wines at a cool and constant temperature. Exposing wines to extremes of cold and heat or significant temperature fluctuations will result in wines developing faults.

Hello darkness my old friend

Direct sunlight and harsh artificial lights can damage your wine. This is due to the bright light as well as the heat that is generated by the light source.

Cork on over

Corked wines need to be stored on their sides and at a slight downward angle. This will ensure that the cork stays moist because it remains in contact with the wine. A dry cork can allow too much air into the bottle resulting in dull, stale tasting wine.

Wines sealed with a screw cap can be stored standing upright.

If you still have some 2015 vintages on hand, see if you can store these for another couple of years, if not, rumour has it that the 2017 vintage wines will be just as good, or even better.

Thank you for reading. Until next time; stay home, stay safe, buy wine. 🍷

Follow The Wine Dream on Instagram for more photos and tasting notes.

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Alicia de Wet

Web developer, wine enthusiast, blogger, South African living in London. WSET Level 2 Award in Wines, studying towards Level 3. Sipping my way through all wines SA has on offer. Follow my journey!

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