Bottles of wine on wooden wine rack

How to Store Wine: 5 Tips for Protecting Your Collection

What’s the best way to store wine long term? Whether you plan to keep your wine collection in a special wine room at home or in a climate-controlled self storage unit, use the wine storage tips below to store your vintages safely!

Watch the Temperature

Wine cellar. Photo by Instagram user @modwinecellar
Photo via @modwinecellar

When storing wine, temperature should be your first focus. Wine—both red and white*—should be kept in an environment between 45 and 65 degrees. This temperature range is best for slowing the wine aging process and helping to extend the shelf life of each bottle.

Warmer temperatures (i.e., above 70 degrees) can age your wine and alter its taste, while colder temperatures (i.e., below 40 degrees) can dry corks out and even freeze wine bottles. This is why it’s crucial that you find the proper temperature-controlled storage environment for your wine.

If you plan to keep wine at home, setting up wine storage or a wine cellar in a basement is ideal, as this area in most homes stays cooler throughout the year. If, however, you plan to store your wine collection at a self storage facility, you’ll want to look for indoor climate-controlled units.

*You can store unopened white wine in a refrigerator; however, this is not recommended for long-term wine storage, as the cork can dry out and affect the quality of the wine.

Avoid Light

Hands putting wine bottle into wine storage box. Photo by Instagram user @sorrells_wineracks
Photo via @sorrells_wineracks

Similar to being exposed to warmer temperatures, too much exposure to light can age your wine collection and affect its taste. That’s why it’s necessary to find wine storage that gets no sunlight and has low interior lighting.

When storing wine at home, this means you’ll want a room or storage area without any windows where you can control overhead lighting. When using self storage, this won’t be as much of an issue, as most storage units will have limited or no lighting inside.

Regardless of how much lighting your storage space has, though, you can take light protection a step further by keeping your collection in drawers, boxes, or storage containers to provide an additional shield from light exposure.

FIND YOUR STORE

Store in the Right Direction

Wine cellar. Photo by Instagram user @ericcopper
Photo via @ericcopper

In general, wine bottles should be stored on their sides or tilted downward toward the cork. The thinking behind this is that, by keeping the wine in contact with the cork, it’s less likely to dry out while in storage.

When storing wine long term—whether at home or in self storage—it’s best to have a wine rack, cubby shelving, or storage containers that allow you to keep your bottles on their sides. However, if you plan to open bottles within a month or two, you can free up storage space by storing bottles upright.

Additionally, if you have any wine bottles with alternative caps (e.g., screw caps or plastic corks), you can store these upright without issue.

Limit Vibrations

Wine storage cellar. Photo by Instagram user @erinpatterson.realtor
Photo via @erinpatterson.realtor

When storing wine that’s more than ten years old, vibration can be a concern. For older wines that are beginning to have sediment appear, too much vibration can break up the sediment and disperse it through the wine. While this is bound to happen once you pick up the bottle, continued agitation of the wine could change flavor profiles more drastically.

To avoid this with at-home storage and storage units for wine, add some padding to the floor and around shelving units to diffuse vibrations. If you’re storing a wine collection in areas where earthquakes are common, take extra care to limit vibrations by keeping bottles in individual boxes or drawers, securing wine racks, and storing vintages low to the ground.

Don’t Worry As Much About Humidity

Wine racks mounted on wall. Photo by Instagram user @vintageview_usa
Photo via @vintageview_usa

Unlike cigars, wine doesn’t require a humidor. Some wine collectors swear by a humidity-controlled storage environment for wine, saying that it can prolong shelf life and keep corks from drying out. While having humidity controls could be helpful for those storing wine in incredibly humid or dry climates, most wine bottles in milder climates will be fine.

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Looking for wine storage units? Extra Space Storage offers secure climate-controlled self storage throughout the country that can help you safely store your wine collection. Find a storage unit near you!

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