A great wine can last for decades, only improving with every year you keep it. But the flip side is true, too. When stored incorrectly, you can unintentionally ruin the collection you’ve tried so hard to curate.
Are you doing anything that could inadvertently spoil your handpicked vintages? Little things could put your collection at risk. Keep scrolling to learn what you can do to protect your wine and ensure it develops wonderfully with time.
1. Start Using a Budget
What does a budget have to do with wine storage? This spending plan helps you afford a quality bottle of wine. This means you’ll be able to collect vintages that actually benefit from the aging process.
While there’s no shame in enjoying what others consider cheap or average wine, these bottles won’t change drastically after aging. You can follow all the other tips in this list and still own a cheap bottle of wine by the end of it.
A budget is all about achieving balance — not only ensuring you have the cash to cover your essential expenses, but also planning for some big purchases, like the latest addition to your cooler or cellar.
Somewhere in between, you should also set aside enough savings into an emergency fund. These savings act as a backup in case something goes wrong — in or outside your wine cellar. You can tap into these funds to cover unexpected repairs or medical expenses without worrying about making ends meet.
What happens if an emergency arrives before you build up these savings? There are online loans available to help you in a pinch.
Online loans come with fast, simple applications that take the stress out of borrowing, so you can focus on handling your emergency. For more information, check out MoneyKey to learn how online loans work in times of crisis.
2. Know Your Repair Experts
Over the years, you may run into some problems while building your collection. An older cooler may struggle to maintain the right temperatures, or it may break down completely.
A cellar isn’t immune to trouble, either. One day, you might notice your cellar has pests. You could run into issues with its HVAC system, which may compromise its air quality or ventilation. Worse still, subterranean cellars could suffer a devastating flood.
Having a wine cellar and cooler repair service on hand can help you address these issues as quickly as possible. More importantly, having their number before a problem arises will save a lot of stress.
Take the time to research the professionals in your area who can handle your equipment and cellar maintenance. And compare their rates to ensure you’re getting reliable service for an affordable price.
Depending on the issue, you might be able to turn to an online loan for help. Just remember, these cash loans are designed to help with urgent, essential expenses only — not elective maintenance that you can reasonably postpone. That’s what your savings are for.
3. Store Your Wine Bottles Horizontally
You should always store your bottles on their side to ensure the wine is in contact with the cork at all times. This is a crucial step for preserving your best vintages. The wine prevents the cork from drying out and letting air from ruining your wine.
For convenience, make sure you rotate your bottles so that their labels face upwards. This simple tip makes it easier to find a specific bottle.
Its placement will also encourage the sediments to form on the opposite side of the label. With a quick look here, you can tell if you’ll need to decant the wine before serving.
The only exceptions to this rule are champagne and sparkling wine bottles.
You can safely store these bottles upright without worrying about oxidation. That’s because no air will get past the layer of carbon dioxide produced by these wines. These bubbly wines produce enough carbon dioxide in the neck of the bottle to create a protective seal over the wine itself.
4. Maintain a Constant Temperature
Table wine does best in a tightly controlled climate. A safe range for your collection is anywhere between 40 and 65°F, with the sweet spot falling to 55°F.
Anything that falls below this range may delay the aging process, which means you’ll have to wait longer before you can sample a vintage.
Hotter temperatures, on the other hand, can outright ruin a bottle. Heat kicks the aging process into overdrive, essentially cooking the vintage until you have something undrinkable. Check out this list to spot the signs your red wine has been irreversibly damaged.
A steady temperature is also an important consideration when building your collection. A small increase or decrease in temperatures shouldn’t be cause for alarm, as long as it happens gradually between seasons.
If you’re seeing your temperatures rapidly change over the course of a single day, this could indicate you have a problem with your cooler. And if you can’t troubleshoot the problem, it may be time to talk to a professional.
5. Keep Your Collection Away from Sunlight
Sun and wine don’t mix well. Together, they create a phenomenon called light strike, a chemical reaction that strikes fear into the hearts of sommeliers and collectors everywhere.
Light strike happens whenever you expose wine to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. The sun’s Ultra-Violet (UV) rays react poorly with the amino acids present in the wine. The result is a foul-smelling soup that you won’t want to sniff, much less sample.
Light strike happens quickly. Just three hours of direct sunlight is all it takes to ruin a perfectly good bottle if the glass is clear. Green bottles, meanwhile, turn off after roughly a day of exposure.
To preserve the bright, floral aromas of your wine, be mindful of where you store your vintages. Even some artificial lamps can kickoff the same chemical reaction, so keep your collection away from windows and install LED lights that don’t emit UV rays.
The Bottom Line
Small mistakes can cause enormous consequences for your wine collection — from simply keeping your cellar too warm to exposing your bottles to sunlight. But fortunately, simple mistakes also have simple solutions, as long as you catch them in time.
Make sure you adjust your storage techniques, find the professionals in your area, and balance your budget with or without the help of online loans. These tips can help you curate a wine collection that stands the test of time.