What You Need to Know About Wine Storage

Jon Fesmire |

Collecting wine can be a seriously enjoyable hobby. Wine enthusiasts enjoy picking a good wine to enjoy for special occasions, from a cabernet with a steak dinner to a tasty muscat with dessert.

Some people store expensive wines to sell them later, and some, such as restaurateurs, store wine for their business. The thing is that storing wine can be tricky.

Storing wine properly isn’t quite like storing anything else, except for beer. While the requirements for storing these alcoholic drinks are similar, it’s worth covering them separately.

You can store your wine in a closet, a wine cellar, or in a self storage facility that specializes in it. Let’s get into what your wine needs, and what those facilities offer.

A Note on Climate Control

We talk a lot in this blog about the importance of climate control.

While this feature is excellent for most of your personal and business belongings, from papers, to furniture, to instruments, to art, it’s not so good for wine.

Climate-controlled self storage units are typically kept between 50 and 80 degrees and between 30% and 50% humidity.

As we’ll cover, those conditions are far from ideal for your wine collection.

Temperature

In general, the best temperature to store wine in is around 55 degrees, and that’s about where wine facilities should keep the temperature in their units.

This ideal temperature varies somewhat by the type of wine, so if you are storing a specific type, you may want to ask the facility if they can change the temperature in your unit. From white to red and light to dark, here are the recommended temperatures.

  • White, Rose, and Blush: 45 - 55 degrees.

  • Champagne and Sparkling Whites: 43 - 47 degrees.

  • Light Reds: below 55 degrees.

  • Dark Reds: 60 - 65 degrees.

How Humidity Affects the Cork

We mentioned that humidity in a climate-controlled unit is kept around 30% to 50%, wine needs the humidity to be quite a bit higher, between 65% to 75%.

The main reason you need to control humidity is to ensure that the cork stays moist and doesn’t crack.

When a cork does crack, that lets in air, and the process of oxidation will quickly sour the wine. This can ruin the flavor, the smell, and even the mouthfeel, or texture. Higher humidity would be all right for wine as well but would ruin the labels.

Most experts recommend storing bottles horizontally with the labels up. That way, you can easily read what type of wine is in a bottle, and the wine itself will keep the cork moist. Still, the right humidity range is a good idea.

The Trouble with Light

Light, especially sunlight, ages wine prematurely.

While many wines are best when they’ve been aged for years, speeding up this process with light will ruin them.

Other lights besides sunlight will age wine as well. So, after you’ve picked up a bottle or dropped a few off at your storage unit, make sure the overhead lights are off. Keep the room nice and dark.

If you’re storing at home and the bottles have to be in a room with light, you can wrap each bottle in dark fabric to better protect the wine inside.

When to Refrigerate

The air in refrigerators is too dry, and the temperature too cold for your bottles of wine. There is an exception, however.

Once you’ve opened a bottle, you’ll want to drink it in a short period. White wine lasts about three days after you open it, red wine for about two weeks, and cooking wine for about two months.

Also, after you’ve opened a bottle, it’s time to put it in the fridge. You’ll still need to finish it within the given timeframe.

Whether you collect to drink, as an investment, or to sell at your business, worthwhile wines are worth keeping in a wine storage unit.

Check what’s available in your area. Then, call different wine storage facilities near you.

Now that you can determine the ideal temperature and humidity range to properly store your wine, you’ll know what questions to ask. Cheers!