Building a long-lasting wine collection has just as much to do with proper storage conditions as it does with being smart about how you expand, enjoy and replenish it over the years.
We asked a few experts to share their best tips about long-term wine storage. This is what they had to say.
What’s best your tip for aging or storing wine?
Temperature is critical! For wine to age properly, it must be stored at the correct temperature, a chilly 50-55 degrees. Higher temperatures accelerate aging and can make a wine taste boring and dead.
Find the place in your house that is both cool and not prone to temperature swings. This is most definitely not your fridge. Also, wine doesn’t like light for long periods of time, or even vibration. The ideal spot is cold, dark and vibration-free, where the wines will gently age over time.
— Beau Carufel, winemaker
For storing and aging wine I recommend a cool (e.g. around 55°), dark place. A wine fridge is ideal and they come in all shapes and sizes if you’re strapped for space. Additionally, you want to lay your bottles on their sides to keep the cork moist (for those bottles enclosed with natural cork). It is also important to remember that many wines are best enjoyed in their youth and will not develop with time in the bottle. In general, simple and satisfying inexpensive wines are best consumed young. They offer more charm in their youth and are less charming as they mature.
Double whatever storage space you think you’re going to need!
If you don’t have a designated space — such as a wine cellar, standalone or related equipment — then I’d suggest keeping a small inventory on hand and visiting your local wine shop on a more regular basis.
Another option is to store wines you’d like to age at a wine storage facility. Or, find a wine store that regularly buys or takes on consignment wines from folks who have already done the aging for you and for whatever the reason must sell their collection.
The best way to store wine is to keep it downstairs, in the dark, on its side, cool and free of vibration. No downstairs or cool enough area? Best is bottom of a closet, northeast side of apartment — never the kitchen.
The biggest problem is temperature fluctuations. 75 degrees year-round is better than 80 degrees in the summer and 60 degrees in the winter.
— Bill St. John, wine writer and teacher
Wait patiently, but always remember you must not die with a good bottle of amazing wine in the cellar.— Lucio Salamini
Betsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter who enjoys a strong cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of red wine at night.