sipp's tipps for storing wine
For Beyond The Bottle #5 we're looking at the best ways to store unopened bottles of wine and how to keep opened bottles fresh. This isn’t a ‘how to build the perfect wine cellar’ piece, just some practical advice for keeping your sipp wines in tip-top condition…
Erm… is it still ok to drink this?
For the most part, we’re talking about the preservation non age-worthy wines here. These are the kinds of wine you’ll find in your sipp box, i.e. modern, fruity wines that are made to be drunk within a few years. The alternative is 'fine wine', bottles which can need around 15 years in a cellar before they become drinkable. Storage of fine wines is a whole different ball game and requires serious cellar commitments, which often means a hefty price tag! Anyway…
Storing wine - seven secrets to success
Wine enemy NO.1 is HEAT! Wine enters the heat danger zone at anything around 21°C and above. One you reach 28°C (fairly easy in a south-facing kitchen in the summer!) you'll have yourself a nice cooked wine stew. The optimum temperature for wine storage is between 10 – 13°C, although it's not an exact science.
At the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to store your wine somewhere too cold for too long. The fridge, for example, is fine for a couple of weeks, but extended periods may cause the cork to dry out and let unwanted air in, causing oxidation. Also, don't leave your wines in any cold external environment such as a shed. If the frost comes, you wine is liable to freeze, which could force the cork out.
Slow and steady wins the race...
Try not to store your wines in places where they're liable to rapidly warm or cool down. Ideally, you should keep you wine in a place with a consistent temperature.
Where possible, try and keep your wine away from direct sunlight. UV rays, just like they do to humans, can prematurely age a wine and generally lessen its quality. This is the reason why vintners use coloured bottles! Synthetic light is significantly less damaging but as a rule of thumb, the darker the better!
Dry as a beaune
Now, unless you live in the desert – or indeed the Arctic – you probably don't need to worry too much about this one, but we like to cover all bases! In terms of humidity, you want your storage space to be around 70% humidity. Most British household storages places will meet this requirement, but if you find your corks drying out you can always leave a tray of water near your wines, of if you are worried about damp then a humidifier should do the trick!
Lay me down
Traditionally, it is advised that wines are stored horizontally – this is to keep the cork moist so it doesn't dry out and oxidise the wine. This of course doesn't apply to screw caps and other non-cork closures. Apart from benefiting the wine, storing wine bottle horizontally is also the most space efficient!
The Beach Boys loved their good vibrations… your wines, not so much. Honestly, small vibrations or movements aren't going to affect your wine, and so unless you live on the San Andreas Fault, I don’t think you need to worry. Just don't store then on the washing machine.
Ok, so where should you store your wine?!
For those of us that haven’t been blessed with a cool, non-damp basement that can double up as a cellar we might have to improvise. Steer clear of the kitchen, laundry rooms and generally areas where temperature can fluctuate, and also avoid areas subject to direct sunlight. Besides these, a simple wine rack set up in a secluded, dark (ish) corridor or even closet should be just fine!
Preserving open wine, how long will it keep for?
We’ve all been there, our nose in a two week old open bottle of white, trying to detect if it has turned to vinegar yet. Well, fear not, help is on hand with a simple guide to preservation from vin good to vin bad!
The reason wine deteriorates after opening is because of its exposure to oxygen. Recorking a wine after opening stops more external oxygen getting in, but it doesn’t remove the existing. To remove and thereby extend the drinking window of the wine consider buying a vacuum pump or argon gas preserver. (image of both below) Wine hacks such as putting a metal spoon in champagne to retain fiziness have no hard evidence to suggest they work but what’s the harm?!
Any question? Find us on social media, email, or give us a call.
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