Storing wine properly is very essential to ensure that the flavor, quality, and aroma remain intact after production till consumption. Manufacturers and consumers should pay equal attention to storing wine to ensure that aging takes place in a desirable manner and unwanted changes do not occur.
Protection from Elements
Light: Do not expose the wine bottle to direct sunlight as ultraviolet rays tend to react with phenolic compounds, alter the flavor of wine, and produce an unpleasant smell. It is always recommended to wrap the wine bottle in a soft cloth or put it in a corrugated box to avoid direct exposure to sunlight or fluorescent bulbs. Sodium vapor lamps and incandescent bulbs are relatively safer to use.
Dark-colored bottles with built-in ultraviolet filters should be used to store wine. Light colored bottles tend to be greatly affected by direct light exposure. Wine manufacturers should build wine cellars to store their produce while consumers can use closets or wooden racks to protect the wine from direct light exposure.
Temperature: It is very important to store wine at a constant temperature to prevent it from being spoilt. Frequent changes in temperature will dull the flavor and adversely affect the taste of wine. A temperature range of 40 to 55 degree Fahrenheit is ideal to store wines.
Higher temperatures tend to cook the wine and give it a stewed taste. If the wine is stored at very low temperature then it freezes, expands, and pushes out the cork. This will result in the wine getting oxidized due to exposure to large amount of oxygen.
Different wines taste differently at different temperature ranges. It is therefore necessary to allow the wine to warm up or cool down to the appropriate temperature before serving it. Red wines are more prone to changes in temperature than white wines. Never allow the wine storage temperature to rise above 75 degree Fahrenheit beyond a brief span of time.
Humidity: Maintenance of optimal humidity is essential to ensure that the wine is not spoiled. There is no definitive evidence to suggest an appropriate humidity range but lack of humidity in the wine bottle will result in the cork getting dry. This will oxidize the wine due to entry of oxygen.
Excessive humidity will result in the growth of mold and damages the label on the wine bottle. This will make it difficult to identify the wine and also considerably dents the resale potential. Wines can be stored in a refrigerator but only for a certain time period as extended storage might result in dehumidification. Certain experts suggest that a humidity range of 55 to 75 percent would be ideal to store most wines.
It is also important to place the wine bottles at a slight angle or horizontally while storing them either in a wooden rack, closet, or refrigerator. This will ensure that the wine is in contact with the cork preventing it from drying up or shrinking. Never store fruits, vegetables, cheese, or any other substance that can rot or ferment along with wine. This will result in mold formation and alter the aroma and taste of wine.