Do's and Don'ts of Temperature and Storage

Unless you have an actual wine cellar, you may not be putting a lot of thought into how you store your wine and at what temperature. I get it—I was in that camp for a long time, too. I seriously doubted how much temperature could affect wine. But I'm here to tell you that, yes, wine is constantly evolving in the bottle and less than ideal conditions will in fact have adverse effects.

Here you'll find some tips and tricks on storing wine. I recommend getting a wine fridge for your finer bottles but knowing that not everyone has the space or resources for a fridge, I've included some tips for getting around that.

Temperature Do's and Don'ts

Do: Store all wines at 55° to 60°F. If you don't have a wine fridge, a cool basement or closet will work if it is the right temperature.

Do: Store white, sparkling, and rosé wines at 50°F, if you have the extra space or a dual-zone wine fridge. Otherwise these wines are fine at the recommended temp for all wines.
TIP: Bring your wine to service temp by letting it sit on the counter or spend some time in your regular fridge.
Don't: Let the temperature fluctuate. Fluctuations cause corks to expand and contract—something you don't want! (Check out the "why" section below.) It's fine to change temps when preparing for service because that's a singular activity.

Don't: Store your wine bottles with corks in your regular fridge for long periods of time. In a cold, dry environment, corks dry out and contract, letting air into the bottle and oxidizing your wine.

Don't: Put your wine above your fridge, near your stove, on top of your dishwasher, or in that afternoon sunspot your cat loves. These are all warm places.

Storage Do's and Don'ts

Do: Store your bottles with corks on their sides. You want some wine to be touching the cork to keep it moist and expanded. A simple wine rack will work!

Do: Store it in the dark or at least out of sunlight. Many winemakers use colored bottles to prevent UV penetration of their wines but sun will still affect quality over time.

Do: Provide it with some humidity but you don't have to go crazy unless you live somewhere with an extreme climate. Corks like 50-80% humidity. As long as you follow the other rules, you should be fine on this.
TIP: Out running errands? Save the wine store for last. As little as 5 minutes in your hot trunk could ruin wine.

Ok, But Why Does It Matter?

I knew you wouldn't just take my word for it! Here's some of what could happen.

Too cold: Dried out corks lead to oxidization, bitter flavors, and brownish color.
Too hot: "Cooked" wines take on stewed, roasted, and processed flavors.
Too much UV light: "Lightstrike" causes wet cardboard and wet wool flavors.

You might be thinking, "But why do wine shops store their wine standing up on shelves in bright light?" Blame marketers who want consumers to see their labels! (Yes, I am a marketing professional by day.) Many stores have separate wine caves for their fancy bottles but leave the normal bottles to squander in horrible conditions. Ugh.

Your Wine Deserves to Be Comfy

Convinced? If you're in the market for a wine fridge, these are legit.

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