How to Store Wine: 7 Easy Steps

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Knowing how to store wine is important if you want to get a high-quality product, or if you simply want to age certain wines to improve their flavor over time.

What is Wine?

Wine is made by fermenting the juice or the must (pulp) of grapes, creating an alcoholic beverage with countless potential varieties and flavors. There are also quite a few conditions that affect wine, such as light, humidity, and temperature variation, so all of these factors should be considered before storing wine. Few things to keep in mind:

  • White wine: It is also popular to refrigerate white wine, as it is commonly served chilled, and this can also help reduce oxidation of the wine.
  • Red wine: It can also be stored in the refrigerator, but this isn’t as common since wine-drinkers prefer to consume red wine at room temperature or very lightly chilled.
  • While you can place the wine in a plastic bottle, this wine should be consumed within six months, as the plastic will gradually allow air to enter, which will cause the wine to oxidize.
Close up of 2 glasses of red and white wine on a table

An open bottle of wine in the fridge can last for a few days. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How to Store Wine?

If you want to learn how to store wine, there are two main periods to consider – before opening and after opening the bottle.

  • Before opening the wine, it is important to keep it in a dark room where the temperature is kept constant.
  • The aging process of wine is crucial to its flavor development, so it shouldn’t be moved too often and should be stored on its side, rather than standing up straight.
  • The humidity in the room where the wine is stored should be around 70%, which is why underground wine cellars are so effective.
  • Depending on the type of wine you are storing, be sure to store it for an appropriate amount of time.
  • After opening the wine, it becomes a question of preserving the flavor and quality for as long as possible, but this will be difficult. White wine should be re-corked and then stored in a wine cellar, closet, or refrigerator.
  • Red wines should be left out, with a wine bottle stopper, and consumed within 1-2 days, or the oxidation process will leave the wine tasting like vinegar.
  • Dessert wines tend to keep for longer than regular red and white vintages, but extended storage after opening any wine isn’t recommended.

Things to Avoid When Storing Wine

If you want to have the best wine experience possible, there are a few things that you should definitely avoid.

  • Don’t keep your wine in the kitchen refrigerator for too long (i.e., more than 1-2 weeks).
  • Don’t store wine on top of the refrigerator, as the temperature there can change.
  • Keeping wine at room temperature for a long time can negatively impact its flavor.
  • Avoid keeping your wine in an area with harsh interior lighting or direct sunlight.
  • Don’t store open wine on its side, even if you have re-corked the bottle.
  • Don’t store open wine by a window.
  • Avoid storing wine at temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, as it will speed the oxidation process.

Word of Caution:  Moderation is key. The risks involved with drinking excessive alcohol can be short term such as violence and injuries to long-term health risks such as chronic diseases.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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