How to Store Unopened Wine?

Lay Bottles Sideways

Though some wine bottles have screw-on caps or rubber or plastic corks, which can stand up to being stood up, most still come with natural corks. To maintain an airtight seal that protects the wine from oxygen and outside aromas, a natural cork needs to stay moist and expanded, says Robinson. Store the bottle on its side, so the cork stays in constant contact with the wine.

Pick a Dark Location

If a wine is light struck, it has been subjected to bright light for an extended period of time and will taste “numb and dumb,” says Robinson. Although most bottles are made from tinted glass, which offers some UV protection, there’s still a risk of exposure. “The most important thing is to keep the bottles out of direct sunlight,” says Anita LaRaia, author of Pick a Perfect Wine…In No Time. Keeping your wine low to the ground or in a cabinet helps protect it from overhead fluorescent lighting, which can also do damage.

If You Can’t Keep It Cool, Keep It Stable

You do not need to refrigerate unopened wine. The ideal wine-storage temperature is 7℃ for white wine and 12℃ for red wine, but if you’ll be opening the bottle within six months, a warmer room temperature is fine. Just avoid storing bottles in pockets of high heat or in locations where temperatures fluctuate drastically, such as next to the dishwasher or stove. Above all, don’t stash a collection on top of the refrigerator, says Robinson. Overhead lighting and refrigerator exhaust give off a lot of heat, and the constant vibration can adversely affect taste.

How to Store Opened Wine

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Re-Cork Right Away

If you know that you’re not going to finish that bottle, keep it closed. It can be easy to leave the cork off until you’re ready to put the bottle away, re-corking the bottle immediately after each glass is your first defence to keeping your wine fresh. “It limits the amount of oxygen that’s in contact with your wine and helps keep its flavour fresh for longer,” he explains.

Another tip: Make sure the same end of the cork goes back in the bottle (the other end has been exposed to mould and odours). If the cork won’t go in easily, use the blade of a corkscrew to shave a notch near the bottom on either side, or pick up a reusable rubber stopper.

Refrigerate the Bottle

All wines, including reds, last longer if chilled once they are opened. Try to keep your open wine bottle out of light and store it below room temperature. The refrigerator is often the best place and can go a long way to keeping your wine fresh. This slows down the process of wine oxidizing since the molecules are now moving very slowly.

Store Upright If possible, avoid storing open wine sideways. An upright position helps minimize the surface area that’s exposed to oxygen, slowing the oxidation process.