"We're having a heatwave, A tropical heatwave. The temperature's rising, It isn't surprising..."
Sung by Marilyn Monroe (There's No Business Like Show Business,1954) echoes in my mind as the Summer months hit. While Summer is bright and happy, I find myself to be like wine and prefer milder temperatures. So, it brings up a question that we frequently get in the tasting room, how do you properly store wine? It's a great question because there are definitely ways to keep wine temperatures perfect.
Traveling with Wine
You are meandering the beautiful roads of Paso Robles. Hopefully, you're on Adelaida Road because it's one of my favorites in the area (not biased, right?!). You have the windows down, wind blowing, and you smell the wild grasses of wine country. You're happy even though it's 90 degrees out. Well, there's one thing in the car not so stoked on life and that's the wine you just bought. It's too darn hot for the wine! There are ways to ease the transport for your wine.
- Store your wines in a cooler or a fun wine chilling bag. Check on the temperature frequently. Add ice packs as needed.
- Bring your wines with you. It's okay to bring your wines into the next tasting room. We love our neighbors and would hate for their wine to spoil in the car.
- Plan on stopping at your hotel/B&B/inn during the day to put your bottles in the chilled room.
- Take a tour! Let someone else drive, enjoy your tastings, and let them handle the wine temperature. Our friends at Toast Tours will always carry your wine out for you.
- Have your wine shipped by the tasting room. Keep in mind that shipping is expensive year round, but it is more expensive to ship with temperature control, but it is an option.
At Home - How to Store Wine
Most of us do not have a dream wine cellar waiting at home. Instead, we have a workhorse Whirlpool fridge that holds our dietary treasures or a cramped master bedroom closet with shoes that need shaping. Do you have to get a wine fridge? The answer is that it depends on you.
What kind of wine drinker are you is the question you should ask before spending money on a wine fridge. So, are you...
- Buy as you go or enjoy soon - Store in your home fridge
- Enjoy good wine and store quite a bit - Get a mid-range wine fridge
- Wine enthusiast - Put some money into a nice wine fridge or cellar (Obviously, a wine enthusiast is not reading this blog because they already know this, but maybe we have some wine enthusiast beginners!)
- Super wine enthusiast with no space - Rent storage at a wine storage facility. These do exist as we ship orders to wine storage facilities.
There are some tips regarding wine storage that can help you further decide how to best store your wine and if a wine fridge is necessary for your wine enjoyment.
- Constant temperature. Wine does not like fluctuating temperatures. Store consistently at about 45-65 ℉.
- There are wine fridges with multiple zones, which are great for keeping whites chilled at 45℉ and reds at 60℉. It's easier for serving wine to have the storing temperature not too far off from what you plan on serving wine at.
- If you are going to store a wine for a long time, have the temperature a little cooler to assist with smooth aging. 50℉ is recommended for a red wine.
- Don't go below 40℉ for wine (unless it's bubbles). Too cold can also be harmful for wine.
- If you cannot afford a wine fridge, and that's okay, do your best! I would pick your home fridge first or a basement cellar. If you can keep your home at a constant temperature, a closet would work as well.
- Somewhere dark. Light actually can tamper with the wine's structure and ultimately hurt the flavor profile.
- Avoid lots of movement and vibrations. It disrupts the aging process by disturbing the sediment.
- Think about the corks as they can dry out. Store your wines horizontially (or upside-down in a case box). If you do have a wine fridge, use humidity. I'd say like 65% is a good precentage.
Opening Wine & Serving
Once you open a wine, oxygen is now in contact and that begins to change the wine as it starts a ticking clock of how long you have till the wine is lack-luster. You may think serving wine is not super important, but it does make a difference in how a wine showcases itself.
- Serving suggestions
- Serve red at like 58-65℉ - warmer for older wines, cooler for younger wines
- White wines at 45-55℉
- Bubbles actually can be served at 38-45℉
- Let red wine breath a little. I'd generally recommend an hour before serving opening the wine and this is especially true for younger wines. It will help the wines express more aroma and flavors. You can use a decanter or an aerator to assist with this also.
- Keep whites chilled as you enjoy. This can be done by keeping the bottle in your home fridge or having a chilling bucket on your table. Also, hold your wine glass by the stem so you do not warm the bowl of the glass.
- Use a Coravin for those wines you want to savor. I'm not a Coravin rep, but honestly it's great for sampling or enjoying just a glass of a special wine.
- Wines that have been opened can last for different times.
- Lighter wines and whites - 1 or 2 days
- Red wines and heavier bodied wines - 3 days
- Ports and high alcohol wines - weeks (maybe months depending on the alcohol)
Is your head spinnning yet? No worries. I wrote this not only for you, but for myself as I can't remember all the tidbits sometimes. I typically recommend to guests that ask about wine fridges that they should spend some time researching as it is an imporant investment. I personally know that Liebherr is a good brand. Outside of that, just read lots of reviews to make sure whatever fridge you purchase meets the important tips about wine storage.
Hope this helps and most importantly, stay cool!