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What to do if you don’t have a wine cellar

Whether you are a bulk buyer of wine, are collecting some rare vintages for the future or have been gifted a few too many bottles to drink at the moment you might be wondering the best way to preserve wine in the bottle. Or maybe you have opened a bottle but don’t want to finish it all in one night and are wondering the best way to store open wine.

If you’re not lucky enough to have your very own wine fridge or wine cellar don’t worry we have plenty of ideas on how to store wine and on wine preservation in general. Our wine preservation tips apply equally to red, white or sparkling wines, as although they can be served in very different ways the general storage requirements for them are similar.

Five bottles of Renegade and Longton blush elderflower and rhubarb sparkling wine in dark wine bottles

Storing wine bottles

When thinking about how to store wine the key points to consider are:

  • Temperature
  • Light and vibrations
  • Humidity
  • And finally angle of your wine storage.

Temperature

This is probably the most important consideration for wine preservation as if the wine storage space is too warm or too cold the wine can be ruined. This is the reason wine cellars and subsequently wine fridges are so popular, as they provide a stable temperature for the wines to be stored.

Some wine makers provide specific instructions as to the exact temperature for their wines’ storage, for your average household this isn’t always practical, especially if you don’t have a wine fridge. For good wine preservation if you can keep your wines stored at a temperature that stays between 10  and 15 degrees they should last very well. Ideally the more stable the temperature the better to stop the cork expanding and contracting which can let oxygen into the wine.

Light and vibrations

Light is something you perhaps have never considered that can damage your wines and is often something the winemaker cuts corners on by not putting their wines in darker bottles, think expensive champagnes in clear or green bottles.

UV rays from the sun are a really important consideration for how to store your wine as they can damage both the wines flavour and aroma. This is another reason for the early adoption of wine cellars as it kept the wine safely away from natural light, it is also a benefit of the modern wine fridge.

Vibrations can also disrupt sediment in the wine which can impact on the flavour.

For those that care about the chemistry wine is a chemical reaction in equilibrium and therefore anything that impacts this equilibrium will affect the flavour be it light, temperature or even vibrations. Wine preservation therefore comes down to keeping the wine as stable as possible.

Thermometer to be used for measuring appropriate temperature for wine storage
Pile of used champagne and wine corks
Three bottles with cartoon faces showing the different colours of bottle that can be used for sparkling wine
Underground wine cellar with hundreds of bottles of wine

Humidity

This is much less of an issue for a screw top wine as changes in humidity will only impact the wines label, only an issue if you are looking to sell the wine at a later date. Although if you have hundreds of bottles in your wine cellar it could become a bit of an issue for your wine storage organisation.

If it is a cork though, a dryer environment will dry the cork out weakening it’s seal in the bottle and exposing the wine to oxygen.

Angle

This is perhaps the most unusual requirement but by storing wine on it’s side that has a cork stopper it will keep the cork moist which as mentioned above stops oxygen reacting with the wine.

How to store wine once the bottle is open

Wine preservation is all very good when a bottle is closed but how best to store wine once it’s opened is another issue. You might be surprised there are a variety of ways to make an open bottle, even sparkling last up to 5 days.

For still wines recorking the bottle is the best option which can be done by squeezing the cork back into the neck, if you use grease proof paper this is considerably easier. If that is not possible then rubber wine stoppers are pretty efficient. The premium approach would be to use a vacuum pump which creates an airtight seal and could even make the bottle last considerably longer.

For preserving sparkling wines there are a variety of stoppers that you can purchase, we recommend a stopper from someone like Lecruset as it creates a tight seal.

With a proper seal it is possible for your sparkling wine to last 3 days and more. Using the above stoppers we have been able to leave a bottle for a week and it has still had bubbles.

If you have nothing to hand then a teaspoon in the top of the bottle will help with the wines preservation by creating a cold air plug which will stop to much oxygen reacting with the wine. The bottle does need to be stored in the fridge but you don’t need a fancy wine fridge for this to work.

Open bottles of Renegade and Longton pure elderflower sparkling wine and blush elderflower and rhubarb sparkling wines against patterned wallpaper
Wine bottle with cork replaced in the neck of the bottle
Open bottle of Renegade and Longton pure elderflower sparkling wine against a chalkboard
Rows of wine bottle stored on their side viewed from the bottom

So when you are looking at how to store your wine for longer periods of time make sure that you place it on it’s side, somewhere reasonably cool, with a stable temperature and out of direct sunlight.

When thinking about how to store an open bottle the aim is to keep as much oxygen out of it as possible, best done using some kind of stopper!

Hopefully, you found this useful and you can store your wines with confidence that they will taste great when you open them!

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RENEGADE WINES LTD
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