In recent months, I’ve had a few friends ask me questions about wine storage conditions. Where to I keep my wine? How long can I keep it? What temperature is okay? Things of this nature. I’m here to tell you that in general, we make this issue far too complicated. To break it down, let’s split it into two categories: 1) I have a wine fridge or 2) I do not have a wine fridge.
I have a wine fridge: You’re in luck. This is easy: 55 degrees. Done. Whether you have red wines, white wines, or a mix, just go with 55 degrees. It’s the generally accepted temperature that allows a wine to age at an appropriate pace (warm ages too quickly, cold ages too slowly). Just remember when you are ready to drink a bottle, pull the reds out for a few minutes to let them warm up. Being too cold shuts down many of the flavors (too warm, and you taste the alcohol). You want the wine on the cool side, or around 65 degrees. And of course with whites, pop them in the regular refrigerator for a few minutes to chill them slightly more. Personally, I like my whites on the warmer side though, so I don’t bother. But really, just drink it and enjoy!
***Curveball: If you have a dual zone wine fridge (one that has different compartments, or zones, that can be set at different temps), feel free to set one for whites at 45, and one for reds at 55.
I do not have a wine fridge: Again, easy. Don’t fret over the temperature too much. Honestly, most of your wines aren’t going to be around that long anyway, right? For those that you do want to save a bottle for a number of months or years, what you need is a cool (as possible), dark place. Closet, under the stairs, you get the idea. The real key is a consistent temperature. You don’t want your wine fluctuating from warm to cold, to warm again during the day, or even a week here and there. Wines like consistency. Some of the best caves in France are Champagne caves that are actually colder than 55 degrees, but remain ideal because the temperature never varies, no matter the season.
To reiterate, for either of these situations, the real keys are:
- Consistent temperature, away from heat (55 degrees is ideal)
- Away from light
- Away from vibration/jostling
Got it? Great. Told you it was easy. Stay cool.