Just like any alcohol, wine has a set of storage recommendations that ensure it remains good until it is poured. Wine is a more delicate should be stored at certain temperatures for the best taste once opened. Wine is a fairly delicate member of the alcohol family and requires some effort to store properly. When storing wine, be aware that white wine is generally meant to be enjoyed within two years of its production, with the exception of some Chardonnays, which can be aged up to 20 years. Most red wines will develop character and complexity they age, although inexpensive, New World wines will rarely change or improve with time.
One of the keys to storing wine is maintaining the wine’s temperature. Ideally, one needs a cellar, a wine cooler or a wine merchandiser to keep the temperature of wine constant. Using one or more wine merchandisers makes perfect sense for liquor stores or bars with space behind the bar or near it.
Wine refrigerators are kept at a higher temperature than normal refrigerators, so keeping wine in the reach-in where you keep the cocktail mix and heavy cream is not typically the best idea. Maybe wine bars have wine refrigerators built into a wall or elaborate fixture where servers can grab a bottle and guests can take a peek at the selection.
The key is maintaining a constant temperature to keep the wine at its peak serving temperature. After all, most of these wines are best enjoyed at the same temperature at which they are stored. Additionally, the humidity plays an important role as well. Wine corks can dry out and allow air to enter the bottle unless the storage environment is kept at a high humidity level–about 70% humidity.
Those with temperature- and humidity-controlled wine coolers have a head-start, although ideally one would have several wine coolers of different temperatures for all the different wines they keep on hand. Below is a table of suggested wine temperatures based on wine type.
Wine TypeVarietal ExamplesStorage Temperature (ºF)
|Sparkling wines||Champagne, Prosecco||45-60|
|Dry white wines||Pinot Gris, Riesling||46-50|
|Sweet and rosé wines||Rosé, Moscato||50-54|
|Young, low acid red wines||Malbec, Merlot||48-50|
|Structured red wines||Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah||59-63|
|Aged or dry red wines||Pinot Noir||60-64|
|Fine aged red wine||Pinot Noir||64|
There is a reason that wine bottles are stored on their sides rather than upright. Storing wine on their sides ensures that the corks stay moist. If a cork is allowed to dry out, air can seep through the cork and the wine can begin to oxidize. This eventually spoils the wine. However, many establishments will allow a wine bottle to stand upright for a few moments before serving it so that any sediment in the wine can settle to the bottom of the bottle and not make it into the wine glass.
As with beer and some other alcohols, UV light from the sun and some fluorescent light can spoil a wine. Some bottles have dark glass which helps reduce exposure, although light can still seep through. If exposure to light is an issue, keep the wine in a box or lightly wrapped in a cloth. Keeping wines totally out of the light is the best solution.