In 2018 alone, over 950 million gallons of wine were sold in the USA. That averages to roughly 3 gallons per US citizen! Clearly, Americans love drinking wine, but what do they know about storing wine?
If you’re buying wine regularly, you may underestimate the power of storing white wine and red wine properly. A little bit of care and effort goes a long way when it comes to preserving your wines! Learning how to store wine like a pro will enhance your wine-tasting experience in ways you can’t anticipate.
In this article, I’m going to focus on white wine storage. Keeping your Pinot Grigios and Sauv Blancs fresh is easier than ever with these five storage tips!
Storing White Wine vs. Red Wine
White wine takes a little bit of extra consideration when storing. This applies both to regular white wines and sparkling whites, such as prosecco or champagne. White wine is more sensitive to different factors than red wine but is largely unfussy for storage.
White wine is made from green grapes (or, sometimes, red grapes with the skins removed!). This not only makes for different flavors but for different needs when it comes to storage.
White wine is more prone to drying out or tasting “off” if left warm for too long. By contrast, red wine thrives at room temperature and is often supposed to have a dry taste. However, storage basics are the same no matter what wine you’ve bought!
The Ultimate Guide to Storing White Wine
Whether you have a single wine rack or a state-of-the-art wine storage system, you can ensure your wine stays at the optimum quality. Storing your wine doesn’t have to break the bank, but a little investment goes a long way!
Here are the basics of storing white wine.
1. Cool and Consistent Temperatures
White wine does best when kept at a low temperature. Your first thought may be to put it in the fridge, but hold back! Your refrigerator may actually be too cold for white wine, which can make the wine react unpredictably over a long period of time.
White wine does best when stored between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If in a pinch, it can be stored in temperatures up to 70 degrees, but only for a short amount of time.
This is why your fridge may be too cold: Most refrigerators are 45 degrees and under. This can cause your wine to crystallize and possibly change the flavor! A wine fridge is a worthy investment, as it keeps wine at the optimum temperature with minimum work.
2. Lay the Bottles Down
One of the most vital aspects of wine storage is keeping the cork damp. If the cork of your bottle dries out, then the bottle’s seal is compromised, and the flavor of your wine can be affected.
Therefore, the proper position for wine bottles in storage is as horizontal as possible. This keeps the wine against the cork, which keeps the seal secure and your wine fresh.
When storing white wine, you may find varieties that have more sediment than others. This is not atypical of Old World wines, especially those from the Rhone region. If storing a sediment-heavy wine, you may find it wise to store the bottle at a very low angle – ten to fifteen degrees with the cork in the air.
3. Keep the Lights Low
Wine is sensitive to light! Light means heat, and heat means destabilized wine. This is especially important for white wines, as they are usually stored in clear glass bottles (as opposed to the customary green glass for red wine). White wine is more susceptible to light while in a clear bottle, and requires extra caution.
Keep your wine out of direct sunlight, but also minimize the amount of electric light it’s exposed to as well. Prolonged exposure to bright light can change the aromas and flavors in your wine, changing the intended experience. You want to preserve your wine as much as possible.
4. Manage Your Humidity
The ideal humidity for wine is about 70%. It’s important to keep your wine bottles in a humid atmosphere, as it allows for better temperature regulation and keeps the corks from drying out. This is especially important when you’re storing older wine. The corks need a little TLC!
This makes the case again for a wine fridge. I assume you don’t want to keep your home at 55 degrees with 70% humidity – and I don’t blame you!
This need for humidity is also why your wines need to be stored in a cool and shady place. When there’s extra moisture in the air, temperature fluctuations happen quickly. A stable environment – such as a wine fridge – keeps the humidity high and the light and temperature low.
5. Drink the Wine!
Save for some of the best vintages, you want to actually drink the wine you store. Vintage wines and rare bottles can be saved, absolutely. But the $50 Chenin Blanc you grabbed at Wegman’s should be consumed within a reasonable amount of time – two to three years from purchase, even when stored properly.
Even when you keep wine at the perfect temperature and humidity level, it has something of a shelf life. Your wine can be stored, unopened, for two to three years without worry. But after that point, the flavor may change and the wine may start to go stale.
Once your wine is open, drink the bottle within two to three days. Make sure you cork it properly between servings, and serve it at the intended temperature.
Sip With Abandon and Store With Joy
I hope this quick guide to storing white wine taught you something new! Proper wine storage makes a huge difference in taste, evenness, and personal enjoyment. You deserve the best wine possible, so invest in good wine storage!
For more quick guides and expert advice, check out my blog. I’m a wine and food writer for the modern age, guiding you through the world of fine wine and cuisine! Read through my past posts for more!