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Two Women on Wine: basic wine-storing guidelines

Posted: June 24, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Updated: June 24, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier

 


Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a wine cellar or spare closet in their home to store wine. No matter where you store your wine - whether you have a wine refrigerator, cellar, closet or carefully stack each bottle in a wine rack somewhere in your house - there's a few basic wine storage guidelines that will help ensure that every bottle in your collection is as enjoyable as possible when you open it.

There are seven important consider-ations for storing wine: darkness, temperature, humidity, orientation, odors, vibration and movement.

Most of the wine sold in the United States is meant to be consumed within two to three years. However, wines including French red Bordeaux, German Riesling Kabinett, and a top California Cabernet Sauvignon (just to name a few) improve with bottle age. Regardless of whether a wine is stored for a short or long time, keep it away from light, heat, and vibration.

Wine should be stored in a dark room, away from any light source. Direct light, especially sun and fluorescent light, can damage wine. UV rays can cause wine to become "light struck," resulting in an unpleasant odor. Darker bottles better protect the wine; some bottles have UV filters built into the glass. But if enough UV rays permeate the bottle, the wine will be ruined. If you can't keep a bottle entirely out of the light, keep it lightly wrapped in a cloth or store the bottle inside a box.

In regard to temperature and humidity, wine should be stored at a cool, but not cold temperature. The best temperature for storing wine is 55°F (13°C) but a constant temperature between 53°-60°F is recommended. A dramatic fluctuation in temperature is harmful to wine. At 75°F, wine begins to oxidize, so keeping the temperature constant is very important. As far as humidity is concerned, 60 percent is ideal. This will keep the cork in a good, pliable condition, preventing it from shrinking and drying out.

Should wine bottles be stored standing up or laid on their sides? Storing corked bottles on their sides allows the wines to stay in constant contact with the cork, preventing it from drying out, which lets air into the wine, spoiling it. In addition, if you store the wine label side up you can easily spot any sediment that may have settled over time.

Excessive motion or vibrations can damage wine. If possible, store wine in a way that doesn't require moving in order to reach another bottle. You should not store wine near generators, washing machines, dryers or motors. Even vibrations from heavy traffic may negatively affect the wine. Also, try to avoid unnecessary transportation of your wine.

Finally, isolate the wine. Avoid storing wine near paint or gasoline. Since wine breathes, strong smells and chemical odors could permeate through the cork and taint the wine. Good ventilation may help prevent musty odors from entering the wine.

Whether you store wine in a cellar, refrigerator, spare closet or other area of your home, remember to adjust the wine's temperature before serving. Right before drinking the wine, allow the temperature to rise or fall to the appropriate serving temperature. Different wines taste best at slightly different temperatures. If you're not sure, give us a call and we'll be happy to guide you.

Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier are owners of Vino 100 in Valencia, a unique specialty wine store offering boutique, handcrafted wines from small, artisan vineyards, as well as a large selection of gifts and accessories. Voted Best Wine Selection in the Santa Clarita Valley 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010; voted Best Wine Selection in Los Angeles 2008, 2009, 2010; awarded 2010 Business of the Year by the SCV Press Club, Newsmakers of the Year Awards; named the 2009 Small Business of the Year by the SCV Chamber of Commerce; and named Women In Business, 2008 Entrepreneurs of the Year by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Visit Vino 100 located at 28112 Newhall Ranch Road in the HighRidge Crossing Center at the corner of Copper Hill Drive in Valencia. (661) 294-6886 | www.vino100valencia.com.

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