Does anyone still ‘cellar’ wine these days? Yes. And no. Here’s a definitive guide to the pros and cons of wine storage.
If you’re storing any bottles for a reasonable length of time, wrap the labels in cling film to stop them deteriorating whilst the bottle’s contents mellow and ripen.
Store your wine? Or drink it now? Both please.
Which wine varietals are best to store?
Even the very finest of wines don’t require significant long-term ageing these days. Most are best enjoyed within a few years of release. But in general, the better the quality of wine, the more likely it is to benefit from some ageing.
Perfect Storing Conditions
How should I store?
The majority consensus is that all wine – whether using a screwtop, cork or other sealant – should be stored on its side. This isn’t just to stop oxidisation, for example, of a corked bottle but to identify any leaks in damaged bottles. It’s also space-efficient.
How long should I store?
From a French Beaujolais which is a light, fruity wine intended to be drunk within weeks – if not days – to a Penfolds Grange which can stand cellaring for up to 50 years, the length of time to store wine varies almost by bottle. Here’s a very general rule of thumb.
- Don’t cellar all wine; some wines are produced for immediate consumption, others for ‘laying down’. Check with your wine vendor if in doubt.
- As a general rule of thumb, reds are more likely to need time to mature than whites but this is not always the case. See the above varietal guide or check with your wine vendor.
- Ideally, wine should not be stored in an environment warmer than ~15°C, has high humidity or allows direct sunlight. Between 10 - 15°C and 65-750% humidity is best.
- Wines with corks should be stored lying down (to keep the cork wet); screwtop bottles can be stored at any angle.
- Red wines can be stored well in a wine rack.
- White wines can be stored well in a wine rack or wine fridge.