How are you storing your wine? For a lot of people who drink the occasional bottle here and there, leaving the bottle in a cupboard might work just fine until it’s uncorked, then perhaps in the refrigerator for a short while afterwards to maintain its freshness.

For an avid wine collector, however, there are far more effective methods of storing wine. This is particularly important if you haven’t got just one bottle to store away, but perhaps dozens or even hundreds of bottles as part of a beloved collection.

Below are a few quick tips on how to store your wine collection, especially with regards to temperature and humidity levels:

01. The Sweet Spot for Wine Bottle Temperature

Wine undergoes ageing whilst in the bottle, as many popular expressions can attest to. Like these expressions, wine can get better with age, but it should age naturally and under controlled temperatures.

Too cold, around 4°C or lower as you might have in your refrigerator, can slow down the ageing process. Any colder and you run the risk of freezing the wine, which can cause it to expand and push against the cork. Too hot and your wine can age too quickly and spoil. 

Aim for a temperature of around 7°C to 18°C. Wine cellars can ideally maintain wine bottles within this Goldilocks zone, but if storing wine elsewhere try to aim for this temperature as much as possible.

02. Humidity Controls for Bottled Wine

Similar to temperature, humidity should also be controlled for your wine collection. Again, this is why wine cellars have historically been preferred for larger collections since they can better control for humidity than elsewhere in a home.

For humidity, try to aim for somewhere between 50% to 80% humidity. If wine is stored in too dry a location, it can cause the cork to dry out and subsequently allow air to enter and spoil the wine. Your wine could also leak out.

Too much humidity can attract mould on the wine bottle’s label and on the cork, on the other hand.

Use a dehumidifier to keep humidity down, especially in coastal towns and cities in Australia where humidity tends to be high already. For drier climates, you should consider adding humidity by leaving out water in the room occasionally.

03. Limit Foul Odours in the Room

In addition to humidity and temperature, nasty smells can seep into your wine and alter its flavour profile. The cork tends to absorb moisture as well as odours, and there is always potential for musty or mouldy odours to affect your wine. Try to keep your wine storage room clean and tidy and avoid the buildup of odours.

04. Store Wine Horizontally Whenever Possible

Long-term wine storage should almost always be done horizontally so that the cork maintains some contact with the wine itself, keeping the cork wet and improving the seal, which in turn better allows the wine to naturally age and remain protected.

05. Use the Right Wine Rack for Your Home

An important consideration for any serious wine collector is what type of wine storage solution to use. Most wine collectors use some sort of wine rack, either a large wall rack located in a dedicated wine cellar or a simple display rack used in homes or restaurants to showcase your top bottles, for example.

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March 13, 2024 — Deepak V