Storing wine is an ancient art, but not a mysterious one. Nor is it overly complicated. In fact, it’s quite simple: wine lasts longer and tastes better when stored in an environment that resembles a wine cellar.

But if you’ve ever leafed through a beautiful home magazine or watched one of the many popular home improvement programmes, you might think that there are several ways to store wine. And indeed, there are designers who turn wine into an accessory, using the bottles as a form of artistic expression, completely ignoring the practical needs of the wine. However, if you collect wine to drink, you should be very careful about how you store it. Nothing is more annoying than being patient for ten years or more, only to find that the wine is no longer up to scratch and has lost a great deal of its freshness.

Myth No. 8: Wine can be stored on the refrigerator

Let’s get it straight up front: The top of the fridge is one of the most impractical places in any household. That’s why it usually remains unused and dusty. So it’s the perfect place to store wine that you won’t touch for a while, right?

You thought wrong!

While it makes sense to use that empty space, your wine collection is not the right place for it. The top of the fridge is probably one of the worst places for your wine – and not just because it’s dusty up there.

The first reason you shouldn’t keep your wine on top of the fridge is the heat factor. Kitchen fridges can give off a lot of heat. This heat can cause the wine to age prematurely, bringing it much closer to certain death.

By the way, the same applies to kitchen cupboards of all types and sizes, as well as under the bed, in the wardrobe, or in the bathroom. All these spaces are an absolute no-no!

To avoid premature aging of your wine, store it in another place that is not near vibrating appliances such as the fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer. Electrical appliances such as hoovers can also cause lasting damage to your wine.

Myth No. 7: Storage temperature does not matter

It is a widespread myth that red wines in particular should be served at room temperature. This wisdom is about 200 years old and is only true if the room temperature in your dining room is between 10° and 15°. I’m guessing that won’t be the case for you.

The truth is that wine must be stored in a cool place. How cool is not so important. In any case, it should not be above 15° and not less than 10°. You can save yourself the trouble of buying a two-zone climate control cabinet. One temperature zone is perfectly sufficient for storage. I recommend 12° – no more and no less.

Myth No. 6: There is no such thing as too cold a wine

Since wine is stored in glass bottles, you should never store it at temperatures around freezing point. This can cause the wine to freeze, which can crack or even break the bottle. Even if the cork does not crack, the frozen liquid can press against the cork and cause it to pop. The mess you make with this is world class!

Myth No. 5: You can store wine anywhere

We’ve all seen the beautifully designed glass ones, cabinets or even whole rooms. It looks super cool when rows of bottles are lined up so magnificently. It’s not uncommon for the rooms to be pimped with LEDs. Visually, this is certainly a burner.

The only disadvantage of this glass furnishing is that wine is stored much better in the dark than in the light. This is precisely why the wine bottles themselves are green or brown and only rarely white. The aim is to keep sunlight and light away from the wine.

Wein in Glasschrank im Wohnzimmer

Das ist richtig übel (c)by brocanteltd

Sunlight is the natural enemy of wine. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can chemically alter wine and even change its aroma and taste forever. An all-glass wine cellar may look good, but it exposes your wine to harmful UV rays.

Besides, it is difficult to keep a glass cellar cool. If you opt for glass walls, you may use much more energy than you would like to in order to maintain the ideal room temperature in your wine storage.

Myth no. 4: All wines can be stored in an upright position.

There is a reason why wine bottles are stored horizontally. This is especially true for wines that have a cork stopper. This is the only way the cork can remain in contact with the wine in the bottle.

Why is this necessary?

If the cork dries out, air can enter the bottle. The air causes the wine to oxidize more and faster and thus age more quickly. The result is not very pleasant. You can recognize oxidized wine by its smell and by its slightly brownish color.

Wines with screw caps can be stored standing up. This is because the screw cap does not need to be kept moist. Often the closures have a plastic inside and I’m honestly not sure how that will behave over the decades.

Myth No. 3: Corks are better than screw caps

Let’s end this debate once and for all. Screw caps are not inferior to corks. Corks have simply been around longer. And now it depends on who you ask: traditionalists like the cork, modernists like the screw cap. We have already dealt with the topic in detail, which you can read here.

Weinflaschen liegend gelagert

Weinflaschen liegend gelagert. (c) by pexels

Myth no. 2: A refrigerator can store wine just as well as a wine cellar or locker

A normal kitchen refrigerator is not suitable for storing wine. At first glance, this seems counterintuitive. After all, the wine is supposed to be kept cool, and a refrigerator is perfectly suited for that. However, there are several reasons why kitchen refrigerators are not suitable for storing wine.

First, kitchen refrigerators are too cold for long-term wine storage. A standard refrigerator maintains a temperature of 4°. This is far below the ideal storage temperature, even for champagne.

Secondly, kitchen refrigerators do not provide the right humidity for wine bottles with corks. If you store bottles with corks, you must keep them in a humid environment (about 70%) so that the cork does not dry out.

Thirdly, kitchen refrigerators vibrate during refrigeration cycles. As mentioned earlier, any vibration can disturb the wine and permanently alter the flavour and aroma of the liquid.

For these reasons, a normal kitchen fridge is not suitable by any stretch of the imagination. However, you can opt for a freestanding or built-in wine fridge if you cannot or do not want to install a cellar in your home. The disadvantage of a wine storage cabinet is relatively obvious: they are expensive to buy and have limited space (which will never be enough for a wine enthusiast in their lifetime.

Myth No. 1: Any wine can age

Not every wine is meant to age for years or decades. Most wines you buy should be drunk within two to five years of purchase. Few wines taste better when stored for more than a decade.

Contrary to popular belief, older wines are not always better. The same young wine can taste better to your palate than an older wine.

When storing wine, remember to move your collection frequently so that nothing on the shelf becomes outdated.

Final thoughts

Storing wine is not complicated, but it does require some thought, particularly choosing the right temperature, avoiding light and ensuring a quiet environment. And last but not least, you should consider how much wine you drink per year and how much space you need if you want to store wine for 10 years. If you follow these measures carefully, you can be sure that your wine will remain delicious until you want to enjoy it.

If you neither have enough space in your own cellar for a wine storage cabinet, or generally too little space for your wines, then it’s time to talk about an external wine storage facility.

Contact Philipp Uehlinger today to find out more about wine storage options