Wine has been around for quite a long time. Let’s take a look back through history: everyone from the ancient Egyptians to the broadsword-wielding Vikings have made their own versions of this amazing drink.
Whether it was made for the holy sacraments of Medieval Europe or for the drinking games of the ancient Chinese Tang Dynasty, one thing is for sure – having a good stash of wine nearby was a high priority then, and it still is to this day. Although the ancients didn’t have the best means to keep their vintages cool, here are a few things you need to know to keep your stash in tip top shape.
The most crucial key to keeping your wine in top condition is, hands down, temperature control. It’s common knowledge that wines must be stored at cool temperatures, but wine is not a “one-temperature-fits-all” drink by any means. Typically, dry white wines are best stored at 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, while full-bodied white wines and fruity red wines do best between 50 and 60 degrees. Finally, full-bodied red and port wines should be stored at 60 to 65 degrees.
REFRIGERATORS VS. WINE COOLERS
Since standard refrigerators often fall below 45 degrees, it’s really not best to use one for longterm storage of any wine. Temperatures that are too low will not allow the flavors of the wine to fully develop. A couple of months in your refrigerator is okay, but any longer and it’s a good idea to invest in a specialized cooler for your wines.
If you really only have one temperature setting to choose from and several different wines, 55 degrees is said to be a happy medium – but again, this should not be a longterm thing. Even more important, never let your wine get too warm – unless, of course, you like it to have an extra raisiny taste. Avoid spoiling your wine by always keeping it at under 77 degrees.
If the appliance you’re using to store your wines is not keeping the proper temp or has any other issues, shop on our site for refrigerator parts or wine/beverage cooler parts and repair it yourself. You’ll save time and money versus a service call – both of which are better spent trying a new vintage at your favorite store or winery.
BONUS TIP: OXYGEN
As it turns out, the biggest, baddest guy your wine has to face in storage is oxygen. The more potential your wine has to react with the element, the bigger the threat. Temperature is a catalyst in this reaction, but simple exposure to oxygen without substantial heat is still a “no no”.
If you have a bottle of wine that is corked, it’s best to store it on its side. This will keep the cork from drying out and letting oxygen into the bottle. Another common catalyst for the dreaded oxidation reaction is exposure to light. White wines are the most sensitive to light exposure, and this is why some wines are bottled in darker colored glass – it’s basically like sunglasses to protect each little sip.
Countless people have gone through pitfalls and pratfalls to reach this sophisticated wine era we live in. From ancient vintners to alchemists, casual drinkers, and all the way to those who make a living just by tasting and spitting out this nectar of the gods, we owe each unsung hero a debt of gratitude for uncovering the secrets of how to get the most out of our favorite drink. Don’t let the temperature or oxygen bogeyman get the best of your next bottle!
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