4 Tips to Protect and Preserve Your Wine Collection
From aged Chardonnays to a rich Cabernet, there’s nothing like relaxing with a great-tasting wine. Wine connoisseurs and restaurant owners around the world will tell you that proper storage can make all the difference — so simply shoving a case of wine in the closet won’t do you any good long-term. The environment of the space where it’s kept will have a huge impact on your first sip. That’s why we’ve come up with 4 tips to protect and preserve your wine collection. This will ensure its taste isn’t compromised after months — or years — in storage.
Tip #1: Choose the Appropriate Storage Temperature
Storage temperatures can vary widely depending on the wine. According to the Wine Butler, wine should be stored long-term at a temperature range of 10-15 ?. Avoid storing at temperatures above 25 ? as this can “cook” the wine, giving it a raisiny texture that tastes stewed. If you’re storing wine that will be used relatively quickly — as in the next few weeks — here’s a general guideline of storage temperatures:
- Red Wine: 12-19 ?
- White Wine: 8-12 ?
- Sparkling Wine: 5-8 ?
If it’s difficult to achieve the right temperature in your storage space, consider purchasing a wine fridge instead. These appliances often have different zones for reds, whites and sparkling. Meanwhile, a cool cellar or air-conditioned room can also ensure a consistent temperature.
If you don’t have the space to store wine in your home, a climate-controlled self-storage unit is an effective option. Climate-controlled facilities will ensure a consistent temperature and protect your wine collection from the elements. Many storage operators offer month-to-month rentals at affordable rates. Be sure to ask about discounts for first-time renters and seniors too.
Tip #2: Consider the Bottles’ Storage Position
When choosing a storage space for your wine collection, it’s important to ensure the right bottle positioning. Your wines should never be stored upright. Always place bottles on their side or in a downward position. This allows the liquid to keep the cork nice and wet. If the cork dries out, it could shrink and crack. This will allow excess air to seep in, affecting the wine’s overall taste. Consider purchasing a wine storage rack that will keep your bottles in the correct position.
It’s also important to ensure your storage space is dark with little to no sunlight. Too much direct sunlight, or even artificial light, can make your wine too warm and trigger unwanted chemical reactions. Your wines could change colour and even end up with a different taste, ruining your collection.
Tip #3: Your Storage Room Should be Odourless
Store your wine collection in a space that is odourless. Although it may seem impossible, smells can actually affect the wine’s taste. That’s because odours tend to leak into the breathable cork. Smells can emanate from a number of places, including leather furniture, wall paint and piles of clothing. Musty basements are a terrible space to store wines due to smells from mildew and moisture. Avoid using air fresheners and essential oils to “freshen” up a storage room. The goal is to air out any odours -- not mask them with other ones. If you’re really tempted to use an air freshener, opt for an odourless deodorizer that neutralizes smells instead.
Self-storage facilities are often odourless because they are sprawled out over a large breathable area. Unless your home has a dedicated wine cellar, this is your next best option for an odourless storage space.
Tip #4: Avoid Vibrations During Transport
How will you be transporting your wines to the storage area? Will you be carrying them by hand or loading them into a van? How you transport your collection is very important as you want to avoid all vibrations during the moving process. When wines are shaken up, their contents will unsettle and break up. This can affect the taste and overall quality of your wines. If you must drive your collection to an off-site facility, make sure it’s packed up properly to avoid damage. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure open bottles are sealed with tight-fitting breathable corks
- Wrap all bottles in bubble wrap before placing them in boxes
- Use boxes that have dividers, specifically designed to transport glassware
- Reds and whites should be always be placed upside down; champagne bottles can be packed upright
- Stuff any gaps within the dividers with extra bubble wrap to avoid clanking
- Heavily tape both the top and bottom of all boxes
When loading the boxes into a car or van, lift the items slowly to avoid rattling. During the drive, prevent the boxes from sliding across the trunk by keeping them in place with bungee cords or small cement blocks.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to store your wine collection with confidence and know its integrity won’t be compromised. Fine wines are hard to come by, so it’s important to protect them in the best ways possible!