You’re into wine (as you should be), and you’ve run across a few bottles in your wine adventures that you just can’t imagine living without, so you bought a couple to save for a trip down memory lane in a few years. Now what do you do? You’ve been eyeing that tall dark and handsome wine fridge but haven’t pulled the trigger. Let’s take a look at some storage solutions for the nectar of the gods and see if a wine fridge works for you.
There are three factors that determine a good storage solution for wine: light, temperature and moisture.
Vintners use dark glass to bottle their wines to shield their labor of love from the destruction of UV rays. Sunlight will degrade or prematurely age wine. Don’t just rely on the dark bottle to do the heavy lifting, step number one is to keep your bottles in a place that is not hit by direct sunlight.
When wine is heated to over 70 degrees fahrenheit it begins to age more quickly. Hotter temperatures can actually “cook” the wine, resulting in a flat wine with only a hint of the flavors you bought it for. Step number two is to keep your wine in a place where the temperature is consistently somewhere between 45 and 65 degrees, the most important factor being that there are no temperature spikes.
Wines that are bottled with a traditional cork require humidity to ensure the cork doesn’t dry out. A dry cork can allow air to seep in and oxidize the wine. This is what is meant when a wine has been “corked.” A humidity of 70% is said to be ideal but anywhere between 50% and 80% will keep your corks happy.
Where to keep it
Wine fridges can handle all of these tasks, so should you invest in one? That will depend on a couple of things. Let’s consider that most wines are best within a few years of purchase, so if you’re planning on keeping multiple bottles for 10 or more years, you may want to look at professional storage. Secondly, consider how much you’re spending on wine to save in a year. A $200 wine fridge may not be worth storing $200 worth of wine, but if you have $1,000 worth of wine to save, you’re protecting your investment.
A cool, dark place in your house or apartment (like a closet in a room that is consistently temperature controlled) may work best for a modest collection.
What to look for in a wine fridge
Bottle capacity might be the most important feature, however many you think you’d like to store, double it. Building a wine collection is addicting. If your wine fridge will live in a room that has a lot of sunlight, consider a dark glass door in order to keep your wine away from UV rays. Some include dual temperature zones so you can store reds long term and have whites chilled for immediate drinking. How easy is it to admire and get to your bottles? The more often you’ll be pulling wine from the fridge, the more important this will be.
When you’re ready to open that special bottle you’ve been saving, enjoy it in a beautiful glass like these. Whether you’re saving a couple or a couple hundred bottles a year, cheers to your growing collection!