Read these 8 Wine Storage Temperatures Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Wine Storage tips and hundreds of other topics.
The ideal place to keep your wine is deep in a cave. The predecessor to wine storage units and arguably still the absolute best way to keep wine, the temperature, humidity and light of a deep cave is exactly what your wine storage unit is trying to imitate. A close second would be the earthen floor of a root cellar. Ten feet underground, the floor of a root cellar can be dug up and the wine buried to the top of the neck. Since the temperature of the earth in a well built root cellar varies little throughout the year, the burying of the wine only ensures that the temperature will be virtually set. Unfortunately, most of us are not lucky enough to live near usable caverns, but root cellars are common and can easily be used as long as you don't mind a little grit on your bottle.
Storing wine in temperature controlled wine cellars allows a collector to keep their wine from maturing too quickly. If the wine is kept at in an average household room, the temperature will cause the wine to mature quickly and the varying temperature will cause it to age even faster. The ideal temperature for wine is typically between 39 and 65 degrees, white or red. A fair temperature to keep both would be right around 55 degrees. If you chill your white wine too much, you won't be able to completely taste all the wine since its flavors will be hidden by the chill. Conversely, a red wine has characteristics that can be brought out if it's served slightly cool. It is even possible to bring wine to the freezing point with no ill effects, but the point of storing wine is to slow the maturation process, not halt it.
Temperature controlled wine cabinets are built to match, as precisely as possible, the conditions of a wine cave. The temperatures for the units are set between 55 and 60 degrees and the humidity is set between 60% and 70%. The glass doors are usually smoked to keep the light out and are built to accommodate several sizes of bottles. Temperature controlled cabinets are available in just about every material, from mahogany to brushed steel and come in sizes from 6 bottles to, with custom building options, as much wine as you want to hold.
Climate control is essential when you are storing wine for a long period of time. Before refrigeration, wine was kept in caves or buried in the dirt of root cellars. Wine will keep for an indefinite period of time as long as it is kept in a cool environment (between 55 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit) which keeps the wine from maturing too quickly, away from light (another heat source) and humidity. Humidity can adversely affect wine by creating mold which can damage the label and, most importantly, damage the cork. When looking to store your wine, keep all of three of these factors in mind.
Dual temperature wine cellars are great for people who enjoy a cooler white wine. Dual temperature wine cellars have two compartments, similar to a refrigerator. The units usually keep wine between the optimal temperatures of 39 degrees and 65 degrees, which you can adjust according to your taste; cooler for the white wine storage, warmer for red wine storage. Dual temperature wine cellars are superior to, say, your refrigerator since they not only precisely control the temperature, they also have humidity control, which further helps preserve your wine by preventing molding on the cork.
Today, you can find a quick chilling wine system in just about any wine retail outlet. These great big tubs of super-chilled, swirling water can chill a bottle in less than two minutes and are available commercially, but they do take up a good amount of space. Some alternate methods of quick wine chilling include popping the bottle into your refrigerator (never the freezer!) for 10 to 15 minutes or, if you're in a hurry, putting the bottle in a bucket of salted ice for a few minutes. Copper containers full of ice tend to keep bottles cooler, longer and other inventions, such as the KegPal with 25 feet of coiled copper tubing sitting in ice will chill your wine completely as it travels through the coil. Chiller sleeves are also handy, working like an ice pack koozie on your wine.
Humidity is as important as avoiding heat and light when storing and preserving your wine. You need to keep your wine in a storage area that is moderately damp. The humidity helps keep the cork damp and prevents it from drying out. If the cork dries out and oxygen hits your wine, it's just as though you opened it; the wine will have oxidized and turned only a few days after the air got to it.
Another way of keeping the cork damp is by keeping the wine bottles horizontal, tilted slightly toward the cork, which allows the wine to keep the cork damp. Too much humidity, though, and you could cause molding on the cork, which might creep down through the porous cork and invade the wine. It's best to keep your humidity between 60% and 75%. The humidity also helps to keep the wine cool and a humidity control feature is typically included in most models of wine cooling units.
Wine storage coolers can vary in price and appearance from a $5 bucket with ice in it to a several thousand dollar dual temperature wine storage system. To chill your wine, pop it in the fridge for about ten to fifteen minutes before you drink it. You don't want it too cold or it will mask the flavors in the wine. When transporting your wine, neoprene sleeves work well to keep the wine cool during your trip and also helps to keep the light off the bottle.
Wine coolers are even made to fit in your car, even though they aren't technically called "wine coolers", just plug-in refrigerators, but they work! Especially on long trips to your favorite picnic spot. Inexpensive wine storage cooling units are usually available at your local all-in-one retail outlets for around $50, just remember that the wine rack size varies and most of the more inexpensive wine cooling units will not hold all sizes of wine bottles.