August 6, 2004, Newsletter Issue #5: Wine Storage

Tip of the Week

On its side or not?
Definitely, on its side. Heres why. Oxygen is the worst enemy to the wine inside the bottle. Most wines are sealed from the oxygen with pliable, expansive cork. If the cork dries out, it will shrink and possibly let oxygen enter the bottle and oxidize the wine. Storing wine on its side will keep the cork moist and maintain the protective seal for a long time.

The Casual Wine Storer
If you keep a few bottles around for those impromptu dinners or you just dont like to shop for wine but for a few times a year, then you are a casual storer. This also assumes that you rotate your stock and keep each bottle a maximum of one year or so.

You can keep wine in a wine rack, but dont place the rack on top of your refrigerator. The motor can generate quite a bit of heat and vibration.

You may want to consider buying a wine refrigerator. This is especially true if you drink white wine or champagne. There are many on the market with a wide range of sizes and features. All of them are made to be able to store the wine on its side. The little ones can be placed just about anywhere and are really affordable. Their motors are usually made to create a minimum of vibration

The Wine Enthusiast
Regardless of your current knowledge on buying wine, if you are wanting to store many bottles or a bottle of wine for a few years, Im referring to you as a Wine Enthusiast. Your storage needs will be a little more demanding.

If you are planning on buying wine as an investment, it may be impossible to sell the wines for what its worth if you cannot convince the buyer that it has been cellared properly. Over a long period of time, visual inspection of the bottle and label will give many clues to its condition and how well it has been stored.

Not only will you need a temperature-controlled environment, but you will also need humidity levels above 50%. Even though humidity levels in this range could cause mold to grow and labels to deteriorate, it will keep the cork seal tight and eliminate evaporation and oxidation issues.

You can even buy modular, self-contained wine rooms! These are a great solution to maintaining the proper environment if your budget will allow it.

Quick Storing Tips
1. Keep bottles on their sides
2. Store in cool place with little temperature fluctuation.
3. For long term storing, maintain high humidity levels (65%-90%)
4. Keep out of direct sunlight.
5. Keep away from heavy vibrations.
6. Buy a little more storage than you think you need.
7. Find out the age worthiness of your wines before they are past their prime.

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