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How to Store Wine Properly

on May 19, 2024

Proper wine storage is essential for preserving the flavors, aromas, and overall quality of your favorite wines. Whether you're a casual wine enthusiast or a serious collector, understanding the key factors that contribute to optimal wine storage is crucial.

In this blog post, we will explore the fundamentals of wine storage, including temperature, humidity, light exposure, and other important considerations. We will also discuss common wine preservation mistakes to avoid and provide practical tips for storing wine after opening. Whether you're looking to store wine for short-term enjoyment or long-term aging, this guide will help you create the ideal environment to safeguard your precious bottles and enhance your wine-drinking experience.


Proper wine storage

For proper wine storage at home, maintain an ideal temperature range of 55-59°F (13-15°C) to preserve flavors and prevent premature aging. Avoid temperature fluctuations, as large swings can accelerate aging by pushing air into the bottles. Store wine on its side to keep the cork moist and prevent oxidation, and ensure proper humidity levels between 50-80% to avoid cork shrinkage or mold growth. Protect wine from light exposure, as direct sunlight and UV rays can degrade it. Additionally, limit vibrations to prevent disturbing sediment in older wines. For short-term storage, a wine fridge, cool closet, or refrigerator is suitable, while long-term aging requires a purpose-built wine cellar or cabinet for optimal control.


The Most Common Wine Preservation Mistakes to Avoid

  • Don't Store Wine in the Refrigerator: Refrigerators are too cold and can dry out the cork, leading to wine oxidation .
  • Don't Store Wine in Warm Areas: Heat can spoil wine and degrade its flavor. Store wine at 11-15°C (52-59°F) .
  • Don't Store Wine in Direct Sunlight: Sunlight spoils wine and causes off-flavors. Keep wine in a cool, dark place .
  • Don't Store Wine Too Long: Most wines should be consumed within a few years. Extended storage can spoil wine or diminish its flavor .
  • Don't Store Wine in Vibrating Areas: Vibrations disturb sediment and affect wine flavor .
  • Don't Allow Too Much Oxygen Exposure: Oxidation dulls wine's color and flavor, giving it a vinegar-like taste. Store bottles on their side to keep the cork moist and prevent oxidation .

Avoiding these mistakes will help preserve your wine's quality and taste.


How to store wine after opening

To properly store wine after opening, re-cork the bottle with the original cork or a wine stopper and store it in the refrigerator to slow down oxidation. Red wines should be consumed within 3-5 days, while white and rosé wines can last 3-7 days, and sparkling wines are best enjoyed within 1-3 days to preserve their carbonation. Using a vacuum pump or inert gas wine preserver can further extend the wine's freshness. Store bottles upright to minimize air exposure, keep them in a dark place to avoid light degradation, and maintain a consistent, cool temperature, ideally in a refrigerator or wine fridge. Following these steps helps extend the life and maintain the quality of your opened wine.


How to store wine for 20 years

To properly store wine for aging over 20 years, you need to create an environment with ideal temperature, humidity, light exposure, and stability. The optimal temperature for long-term aging is 55°F (13°C), though a range of 53-57°F (12-14°C) is acceptable, while temperatures above 68°F (20°C) cause premature aging and spoilage. Consistent temperature is crucial, avoiding fluctuations as much as possible. Aim for 60-70% relative humidity to keep corks from drying out and allowing oxidation or from being too high, which risks mold and mildew. Store bottles horizontally to keep corks moist. Wines should be stored in complete darkness, away from any UV light sources that can prematurely age wines and create off-flavors. Avoid vibrations that can disturb sediment in aged wines, and ensure the storage area is clean, odor-free, and has good air circulation.

The ideal long-term storage solution is a purpose-built wine cabinet or cooling unit designed to maintain all these conditions consistently over decades. A natural underground cellar can also work well. Without a dedicated wine storage space, it is very difficult to properly age wines for 20+ years at home, as temperature and humidity fluctuations from seasonal changes make it extremely challenging.


How to store wine properly in fridge

- Temperature Range:

  - White, Rosé, Sparkling: 45-55°F (7-13°C)

  - Red: 50-59°F (10-15°C)

  - Avoid below 45°F to prevent cork drying and oxidation

- Humidity Levels:

  - Refrigerators have low humidity (~30%)

  - Use a humidity pack or damp cloth to increase humidity

- Light Exposure:

  - Store towards the back of the fridge away from the light source

  - Minimize UV light exposure

- Duration:

  - Suitable for short-term storage (up to 3-6 months)

  - For long-term aging (1+ years), use a dedicated wine fridge or cellar

- Position:

  - Store wine bottles horizontally or at a slight angle

  - This keeps corks moist and reduces air exposure

- Other Tips:

  - Minimize vibrations and temperature fluctuations from opening the fridge door frequently

  - Use smaller bottles to reduce air exposure after opening

In summary, while a regular refrigerator is not ideal for long-term aging, it can effectively store wine for up to several months by maintaining proper temperature, humidity, and positioning bottles on their sides.


The best wine preservation tool (Commercial)

A wine cabinet is a furniture-style piece designed to store and display wine bottles. It is built with features similar to a wine cellar, such as insulation, racking, doors, lighting, and a cooling system to maintain a steady temperature and proper humidity for long-term storage. Wine cabinets are available in various sizes and materials, offering a large capacity within a small footprint. They are suitable for both homeowners and businesses, providing an attractive way to store and showcase wine collections.



Wine storage temperature chart

Here is a wine storage temperature chart summarizing the ideal temperature ranges for different wine types and aging periods:

Wine Type   Short-Term Storage (<1 year) Long-Term Aging (1-10+ years) 
Red Wines  60-68°F (16-20°C)  55-59°F (13-15°C)   
White/Rosé Wines 45-55°F (7-13°C)   53-57°F (12-14°C)    
Sparkling Wines 45-50°F (7-10°C)    50-55°F (10-13°C)    
Dessert/Fortified Wines 55-68°F (13-20°C)   55-59°F (13-15°C)




Properly storing wine is an art that requires attention to detail and a commitment to maintaining the perfect environment. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog post, you can ensure that your wine remains at its best, whether you plan to enjoy it in the near future or age it for years to come. Remember to maintain the ideal temperature range, protect against light exposure, control humidity levels, and minimize vibrations. Avoid common preservation mistakes that can compromise the flavor and quality of your wine. Whether you opt for a dedicated wine cellar, a specialized wine cabinet, or utilize a refrigerator for short-term storage, taking the time to store your wine properly will undoubtedly enhance your wine-drinking experience.