Wine Storing Tips for the Wine Newbie: Ports, Cabernets and Muscatos, Oh My!

By    December 4, 2012


The first time I ever watched The Kids Are All Right, the only thing I could focus on was the wine the characters drank continuously throughout the movie. To my untrained eye, that wine looked delicious, aromatic and downright attractive. In fact, I still maintain that the red wine in TKAAR deserves an Oscar for its sexy body and tantalizing color (sorry, Mark Ruffalo). For the briefest of seconds, I considered disappearing to California to become a wine connoisseur. Obviously, that plan didn’t work out. But if you’re like me and developing an interest in wine, consider starting a wine collection. If you’re a newbie to the wine-collecting world, the first thing to account for is how to store your burgeoning wine collection.

The basic tenants of wine storage are simple, but if you don’t have the space or confidence in your home to store wine, self-storage can actually be an ideal place for all of your Ports, Cabernets and Muscatos. Here are some tips on turning your storage space into a glorified wine cellar:

Light is your enemy

I repeat: light is not your friend, and it most certainly isn’t your bottle of Merlot’s friend. Any and all types of light—sunlight, neon, UV—will react adversely with the compounds in your wine and cause it to spoil.

Keep a cool, consistent temperature and a high level of humidity

Suggested temperature for wine storage is about 50-60 F, with 55-57 F considered the most optimal. The more important thing is that the temperature remains consistent, as dramatic swings will cause chemical changes in the wine. Similarly, you’ll want to maintain a high level of humidity. Opt for over 70-80%, as a higher degree of dampness will provide moisture to the cork and prevent it from cracking. If your cork begins to dry out, air will enter the bottle and your wine will oxidize and spoil. As a further precaution, wine should be stored on its side, since this will keep your cork moisturized (unless you’re storing champagne, in which case store it upright).

If you’re going the self-storage route for your wine, choose a facility that has both climate and humidity control. The great thing about putting wine into self-storage is that you won’t have to worry about fluctuations in temperature and humidity—the facility will take care of that for you. There are also storage facilities that specialize in wine storage.

Avoid vibrations

Wine is a delicate thing. You don’t want Hulks or Hulk Hogans stomping around your wine storage area, as heavy vibrations will affect the chemistry of the wine and in some cases contribute to faster aging. Remember, first and foremost, that wine is basically a glass bottle of chemical reactions waiting to happen. You really don’t want to disturb or cause any disastrous reactions, unless you fancy yourself a chemist of Walter White caliber. A self-storage unit just happens to be the perfect place for storing delicate things, as it’s both reliable and often removed from physical disturbances. If you are storing your wine at home, keep it away from areas that receive heavy foot traffic, as this will affect the integrity of your wine.

Additional tips

If you’re maintaining a home wine cellar, keep your storage area odorless and free of funky smelling objects, as this will influence the flavor of your wine. Do you really want to pull out a Shiraz, only to realize that it bears faint resemblance to gasoline?

Of course, if you’re storing wine in a self-storage unit, you won’t have to worry about this problem; storage facilities do not allow perishable foods. However, beware of extremely pungent and strong-smelling paint or wood finishes if you’re storing furniture along with your wine.

That’s it! You’re one step closer to becoming a wine connoisseur. Despite all of these seemingly strict requirements for wine storage, remember that wine is ultimately something to be celebrated and enjoyed, whether it be with your friends, loved ones, or just a meal for one and some Netflix.

Jenny is part of the marketing team at SpareFoot. She currently lives in Austin, TX and likes sushi, Faulkner and Asian horror movies.

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