Storing fine wine properly is just as important as understanding what makes it fine in the first place. Good wine is an investment, and knowing how to store it will mean it keeps – or even increases – its value over time. Whether you buy the wine to be drunk or to be sold at a later date, storing it correctly is essential to ensuring that it tastes good and ages well.
The warmer the room in which your wine is stored, the quicker your wine will age, and eventually go bad. Room temperature is too warm, and a room that is full of sunlight, or has a radiator in it that is often on during the winter months, is even worse. Remember also that keeping your wine in a fridge isn’t a good idea either. It’s fine for a little while – assuming you are planning to drink it – but long term, it can damage the wine (unless you’re using a special wine cooler, that is) and stunt its development.
Ideally, you will want to keep your wine in a cellar or other cool place that the sun can’t get to; otherwise, the money spent on the wine will be grossly wasted. If you haven’t got room at home, there are places such as Octavian Vaults that can offer you exactly the right temperature and conditions for fine wine storage.
As the experts will tell you, it’s best to store your wine on its side. This prevents the cork from drying out, and the wine becoming corked – essentially ruining the wine completely. When the bottle is stored upright, the wine is not able to keep in contact with the cork, and this is why it dries out. Corked wine is a terrible thing; it tastes like vinegar, it smells awful, and it’s just not good for you – or your pocket since the wine will be wasted. You will see wine stored upright in supermarkets, but this is because the wine will be sold quickly, and it won’t have enough time to cork. More expensive, fine wine will stay in one place for a lot longer, and therefore must be stored on its side to protect it.
One of the worst places you can store wine is on top of the fridge. Constant fluctuations in temperature (it’s warm on the top of a refrigerator, and light bulbs give off a lot of heat too, which is an issue because being higher up means the wine is closer to the lights, but it’s cold when the door opens), intermittent vibrations when the compressor cycles on and off, and bumps and shoves when the door is opened and closed a number of times each day can all take their toll on the wine. Anything that affects the chemical make up of the wine in question will therefore affect its taste and how it ages, turning a wonderful wine into something like vinegar, or even in the worst cases a bitter kind of syrup.