Whether you’re a very casual drinker or an educated wine connoisseur, learn how to store wine to prolong the life (and flavor) of your wine.

how to store wine

Are you storing your wine correctly? If you are a casual wine drinker, storage might not be a significant concern for you. However, if you have more than three or four bottles on your wine rack, these storage steps can help prolong your wine’s life.

The first thing to know is that the majority of wine sold should not be cellared or aged. For instance, keeping a $20 bottle of wine for several years won’t make it taste better or make it worth more money. This wine would likely spoil.

Fine wine, on the other hand, can last for several years and gets better with age. These wines are expensive and can cost upwards of $200,000. If you have this type of collection, a wine cellar is essential, and wine consessieurs can offer specific storage instructions for aging for each wine.

These steps and tips will show you how to store wine properly at home. They are not meant to teach you how to age wine but rather how to preserve everyday wine, so it doesn’t spoil prematurely.

The Best Way to Store Wine in 6 Easy Steps

1. Evaluate the wine that you want to put in storage.

storing wine
Not all wine is meant to be aged.

Before you think about how to store wine, consider where to store wine. Ask yourself the following:

  • What type of wine do you need to store? Is it fine wine?
  • How much wine do you have and how long will you store it?
  • Do you plan to keep it in your own home or a wine cellar?
  • How will your wine display fit into your everyday life?

Once you plan to store a bottle of wine rather than consume it immediately, you need to pay attention to the proper temperature, light, and humidity guidelines.

2. Avoid direct sunlight and find a dry, dark storage space.

where to store wine
It’s best to store wine in a dark location.

Sunlight can cause sulfur-containing amino acids to oxidize, which in turn can change the flavor of the wine. Store your wines away from light, including direct sunlight and fluorescent fixtures. If your wine has a funny smell, ultraviolet rays have likely caused the wine to become “lightstruck.”

White wine that is stored in clear bottles is especially susceptible to direct sunlight because the glass offers less protection than darker bottles. Be aware that incandescent light can also impact the integrity of the wine.

The key takeaway should be to store your wine in a dark and dry place to preserve its great taste. If you can’t keep a bottle entirely out of light, keep it inside of a box or wrapped lightly in cloth. If you opt for a cabinet to age your wine, be sure to select one with solid or UV-resistant doors.

3. Store wine at a consistent temperature and humidity.

optimal temperature for storing wine
Keep the temperature and humidity consistent.

If there’s one crucial tip to remember, it’s this: store your wine at the right temperature and humidity! The best temperature to store wine is between 45 and 65 degrees. Any temperature above 70 can cause the wine to spoil

Aim for 55 degrees, but any temperature between 45 and 65 will do. The humidity level for storing your wine should hover around 70 percent to avoid dried out corks, which can allow air into the wine. Humidity higher than 70 percent can cause mold.

While it’s important to get the right environment, it’s equally important to keep the air quality the same. Try to avoid fluctuating temperatures caused by external weather or heating and cooling systems. The more constant the environment, the longer the wine will last.

Humidity tip: Not sure how to measure humidity levels? Stop by your local hardware store and pick up a hygrometer for around $20.

4. Don’t store corked wine bottles in an upright position.

storing wine on its side
It’s best to store corked wine on its side.

While it may seem convenient to stand a few bottles above your cupboard to save space, it’s crucial to store wine on its side if it has a cork. Upright storage can cause the cork to dry out, which can lead to oxygen exposure and spoiled wine. Keep the cork moist at all times.

5. Be aware that most wine has an expiration date.

how long does wine last
Most wine can last a couple years in storage.

Like we mentioned earlier, not all wine is meant to age. The majority of wine won’t last more than a year or two. While there may not be an expiration date on the bottle, it’s best to consume most wine within a relatively short period.

If you are looking for a wine that will get better with age and last for ten years or more, find select varieties with a specific balance of tannins and sugars from a knowledgable wine vendor.

How Long Can Red and White Wine Last?

  • Most bottled red wine can only spend up to three years in storage.
  • Most bottled white wine can only be stored for one to two years.

6. Avoid strong odors that can taint the wine.

how to store wine long term
Wine breathes through the cork, so be careful with odors.

While it may seem convenient, it’s best not to store wine in the kitchen. Wine breathes through the porous cork, so you should store wine bottles away from strong odors like food or trash. Odors can permeate the cork and taint the wine.

Keep corked wine away from foods like garlic in the panty and away from paint cans in the basement. Find a designated spot for a wine rack that is in a dark corner or closet away from cleaning products and other potential contaminants for best results.

7. Keep wine out of the fridge long term.

can you store wine in the fridge
Wine shouldn’t be stored in the fridge more than a couple days.

Storing wine in the fridge is okay for the short term, but the vibrations can damage wine over time. Not only will you expose the wine to odors by keeping it in the fridge for more than a day, but the vibrations from the compressor can harm the wine, too.

Fridge vibrations can alter the wine’s chemical structure and disturb the sediment at the bottom of some wines. To combat these pitfalls, store wines away from large, loud household devices such as the washer, dryer, boiler or rooms that receive frequent foot traffic.

After the wine has been opened, white wine should last in the fridge for up to three days. This period can be pushed a few days longer if you have a wine pump and can remove most of the air and reseal the bottle. Red wine should last at room temperature outside the fridge for a few days.

8. Once the wine is in storage, leave it there until you want to drink it.

store wine without moving it
Keep wine in a stationary position until you’re ready to drink it.

Just like fridge vibrations can damage wine, so can moving it around too often. Picking up bottles of wine, and putting them back on their side will negatively impact the wine.

Build a storage system that will allow you to remove a single bottle of wine without needing to disturb the others. For this reason, it’s best not to stack wine on top of each other or store them one in front of the other on a shelf.

We hope this guide taught you how to store wine properly at home. If you lack the space or resources to keep your wine collection safe, consider self-storage. Life Storage offers wine storage options that ensure temperature, light, and humidity control while providing high-level security and reliable protection.

About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at The Spruce and Martha Stewart.

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