Wine Storage Basics
Ever wondered why some red wines improve with bottle age? The various components of red wines continue to evolve in the bottle - fruity aromas and flavors mellow while the tannins and pigment begin to interact with oak compounds imparted during fermentation and barrel aging - softening the wine's tannic impression. Wine connoisseurs consider the evolvement of a wine in the bottle part of the mysterious life of the wine, and one of its most alluring qualities.
Building a true wine cellar is, of course, the best avenue for superior wine storage. But for the majority of people who enjoy wine, simply mimicking some of the features of a wine cellar will be ample. Note: if you are routinely keeping wine for longer than three months, you should try to store in a location that offers at least some of these conditions.
Wines should be stored on their sides at cool temperatures ranging from 6-18°. Cool temperatures will slow the aging process and help the wine develop properly in the bottle.
Less Than 10° Fluctuation
Aim for less than 10° temperature fluctuation throughout the year. Temperature fluctuations cause the wine to expand and contract, possibly damaging the cork., causing leakage and oxidation that can ruin the wine. Additionally, excessive temperature swings will damage the wine.
Humidity should be between 60-80%. Less than 60% humidity can cause evaporation and oxidation, while humidity greater than 80% encourages mold.
Excessive light exposure causes wine proteins to become hazy and can create "off" aromas and flavors.
Keep wine away from vibration (from appliances or motors); vibration traveling through wine can hinder its development.
Free from Odors
The storage area should be free from chemical odors, such as cleaners, household paints, etc.