How to properly store wine is a frequent query from Uncorked readers.
Start with the storage conditions.
The optimum temperature is 52 degrees but anywhere from 40 to 65 degrees is safe. However, fluctuation causes inconsistent aging as wines mature faster at higher temperatures and slower at lower, so try to keep the temperature as constant as possible.
Second, keeping wines away from vibration, direct sunlight and excessive dampness is important for a slow, secure cellar slumber.
And finally, placing the bottles on their sides ensures the corks stay in contact with the wine — upright storage can cause the cork to dry out, exposing the wine to air and resulting in oxidation.
But even with these seemingly strict guidelines, there is no need to call in a cellar designer or rush out to buy a state-of-the-art cellaring cooler. Depending on the size and value of your collection, there are many options to fit almost any budget.
- The bottom of a dark closet, bottles on their sides on the floor (free)
- A small six- to 12- bottle decorative wine rack available at department and specialty stores ($24-$80)
- Magic Chef 8 Bottle Wine Cooler (Model MCWC8DSCT) available at Home Depot (about $99)
- Renting Professional Cellar Space such as Tuscany Wine Vaults at U-Storit in Little Rock. (501) 666-5700 ($20-$200, monthly)
- Grand Cru 800 Wine Cellar Cooling Unit available at WineEnthusiast.com. (about $399)
- Eurocave Performance 283 Service Package Wine Cellar with three temperatures available at WineEnthusiast.com. ($2,500-$4,000 retail)
- Custom built, contact your local builder ($500-$10,000)