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Wine is among the most popular alcoholic beverages worldwide, enjoyed by many for its rich taste and aroma. However, despite its popularity, many myths and misconceptions about wine storage can lead to ruined bottles and lost investments. This article will explore and debunk ten popular myths about wine storage with scientific evidence and expert opinions.
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Wine should always be stored at room temperature.
One of the most common myths about wine storage is that it should always be kept at room temperature. However, this is not entirely true.
While it is true that wine should not be exposed to extreme temperatures, a constant temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for storing wine. This temperature helps to maintain the wine’s chemical balance, preventing spoilage and oxidation.
TIP: Check out these two articles about serving red wine at room temperature or storing wine at room temperature in general if you want a more detailed explanation of this myth.
Wine should always be stored horizontally.
Another common myth is that wine bottles should always be stored horizontally. While this is true for cork-sealed bottles, it is not necessary for screw-top or synthetic cork-sealed bottles. In fact, keeping screw-top bottles vertically can help to prevent any potential leakage.
TIP: Detailed explanation can be found in this article.
Wine should always be stored in a cellar.
Many people believe that wine can only be appropriately stored in a cellar. However, any cool, dark place that maintains a constant temperature is suitable for wine storage. This could be a closet, a basement, or a wine fridge.
TIP: Do you want to build your own wine cellar? Check out these articles about wine cellars:
- The best materials for a wine cellar
- Factors that make a good cellar
- Estimated costs of building a wine cellar
Wine should be stored in a humid environment.
It is often believed that wine should be stored in a humid environment to prevent the cork from drying out. However, excessive humidity can lead to mold growth and damage to the wine labels. A humidity level of around 70% is ideal for wine storage.
TIP: Controlling humidity in a wine fridge is critical for the health of the wine. Check out simple tips on how to control humidity in this article.
Wine should always be decanted immediately after storage.
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- USBOQO Wine Decanter (check it out on Amazon & read customer reviews)
- Iceberg Wine Decanter (check it out on Amazon & read customer reviews)
While decanting wine can enhance its flavor and aroma, it is unnecessary for all wines. Some wines can be harmed by decanting, such as older wines or delicate white wines.
Decanting is pouring wine from its bottle into a decanter, a wide-bottomed glass vessel that allows the wine to breathe and separates any sediment that may have formed in the bottle.
Here are some reasons why not all wines should be decanted:
- Young, light-bodied wines such as Beaujolais or Pinot Noir don’t require decanting because they have delicate aromas and flavors that can be easily lost with too much exposure to air. Decanting can make these wines taste flat and lifeless.
- Aged wines: Aged wines, especially those over 20 years old, can be delicate and fragile. Decanting can quickly cause these wines to lose their flavors and aromas, leading to a less enjoyable wine experience.
- White wines: Most white wines don’t need to be decanted because they don’t have the same amount of tannins or sediment as red wines. However, some full-bodied white wines, such as Chardonnay and Viognier, may benefit from a brief decanting to bring out their aromas and flavors.
- Sparkling wines: Wines such as Champagne or Prosecco should never be decanted. Decanting will cause the wine to lose its bubbles and the enthusiasm that makes it enjoyable.
TIP: Wine Decanting is among wine lovers’ most discussed topics. These wines need to be decanted, and do this when you do not have a decanter. Wine decanters are often made of soft glass, so be careful when you clean them.
Wine should always be stored and served at room temperature.
Similar to the above myth, it is often believed that wine should always be served at room temperature. However, this is not true for all wines. Light-bodied white and sparkling wines should be served chilled, while full-bodied red wines can benefit from being slightly chilled.
TIP: Most wines go bad once you pop the cork within a day or so. But a Coravin Wine Preservation system (available for a great price on Amazon) can extend the life of your opened wine for weeks or even months. It is awesome. You should check it out to see if it fits your lifestyle.
Wine should never be stored in the fridge.
While storing wine in a regular fridge can be harmful due to the fluctuating temperature, a wine fridge is designed specifically for wine storage and can be an excellent option for short-term storage.
Wine fridges maintain a constant temperature and humidity level, ensuring your wine stays in optimal condition.
TIP: Check out this article for more detailed answers on storing wine in a regular fridge. By the way, running a wine fridge (cooler) is not as expensive as you might think, even if you count it with repair costs when broken.
Wine should be stored away from light.
This is partially true. While keeping wine away from direct sunlight is essential, a small amount of light can help age the wine properly. This is why many wine cellars have dim lighting.
The true parts about storing wine away from light prove to have some valid points; however, Wine should be kept away from the light because ultraviolet (UV) light can cause chemical reactions in the wine that can result in unpleasant aromas and flavors, as well as a loss of color and structure.
Specifically, UV light can break down the organic compounds in wine, causing it to deteriorate more quickly. This is why wine bottles are often dark-colored, as the color helps to block out light and protect the wine.
This is particularly important for wines that are meant to be aged for a long time, as exposure to light can cause them to age prematurely and spoil their potential.
In addition, wine should be stored in a cool, dark place with a constant temperature and humidity level to ensure that it ages appropriately and retains its quality over time.
So, to keep your wine in optimal condition, it’s best to store it in a cool, dark place away from any light sources, including direct sunlight and harsh artificial light. As mentioned above, dim lighting is the only light that should get to the wine.
TIP: Check out this article if you want to know more about light’s effects on wine. Or know the reasons for storing wine in the dark in this article.
All wines age well; therefore, they must be stored before consumption.
This is a myth. Not all wines are meant to be aged, and not all wines age well. Most wines are meant to be consumed within a few years of their vintage date. Only a small percentage of wines, usually high-quality, full-bodied red wines, improve with age.
As mentioned, not all wines are meant to be aged, and some are intended to be consumed within a few years of their vintage date.
These types of wines that are not to age and instead to be consumed early are usually light-bodied, fruity, and have a low tannin content. They are meant to be enjoyed while they are still young and fresh.
Some examples of wines that do not age well and do not need to be stored for extended periods include:
- Light-bodied white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling.
- Most sparkling wines, such as Prosecco, Champagne, and Cava, are best enjoyed while fresh and bubbly.
- Low-tannin red wines like Beaujolais, Dolcetto, and Pinot Noir.
It is important to note that just because these wines do not age well does not mean they should not be stored properly. They must still be stored in a cool, dark place away from light sources and at constant temperature and humidity to maintain their quality over time.
TIP: Another great wine for aging is Bordeaux; check out how long it takes to age this wine. And now a question from the other side of wine quality, what do you think: can you age cheap wine?
The older the wine, the better it is; therefore, you must always have a plan for storing wine – at least for a short time – before drinking.
This is a common misconception. While some older wines can be exceptional, not all older wines are better than younger ones. The quality of the wine is determined by the grape variety, vintage, and winemaking process, not necessarily by its age.
TIP: It sometimes happens to anyone, you need to dispose of unopened old wine bottles. You can do it correctly with these 5 proven tips.
In conclusion, many myths and misconceptions about wine storage can lead to ruined bottles and lost investments. It is essential to understand the science behind wine storage and to consult a wine expert or sommelier if available.
TIP: For a complete list of wine products and accessories I really love, check out this page. You’ll find my recommendations for wine refrigerators, decanters, and aerators and the best place to buy wine online. Click here to see the complete listing.