Wine Academy: Saving and storing wine

Store

Jeroen van Mierlo teaches wine courses, in which he explains people the basics about wine. In this recurring column ‘Wine Academy’ he answers the most asked questions about wine. In part this part of the Wine Academy Jeroen answers a series of questions about saving and storing wine.

How do I go about storing wine?

Storing wine properly is of great importance. If you store your wine in a wrong way, it will go bad and of course we want to avoid big disappointments when opening a bottle. Wine is influenced by light, temperature and vibrations. Therefore there are certain ‘rules’ to storing your wines:

  • Store the wine in a dark place.
  • Is the bottle sealed by a cork? Store the bottle laying down.
  • Store the wine in a constant temperature of about 12 degrees Celsius.
  • Avoid big temperature changes.
  • Let the wines rest, don’t move them about too often.

How long can I save an open bottle of wine?

In general you can save an open bottle of wine about 1 or 2 days after opening. This is when you seal the bottle properly after pouring. Use the original cork, wine stoppers or the original screw top. You should save the wine cool, so if you don’t have a basement or special wine climate cabinet, the fridge is your best option. This also goes for red wine. When a wine is stored in a warm space the quality and taste will decrease even faster.

Once opened, make sure you store your wines standing up. It’s the oxygen that influences the taste of the wine. When a bottle is laying down, the surface becomes bigger and therefore oxidation goes faster.

To slow down oxidation it is advised to remove as much air from the bottle as possible. This is very easily done with the Wine Saver. This device vacuum seals the wine, which makes it last for about 7 to 14 days!

Which wines can I store longer?

The time over which you can store a wine without the taste decreasing depends on among others the grape, the production process and the bottling. It is safe to say that wine you buy in a supermarket is not meant to be saved for longer than 1 or 2 years.

Then there are certain storage wines, or as the French call them ‘Vin de Garde’. These wines are specially produced to be stored for a long time. They keep evolving when they are in the bottle. Often these wines won’t taste too nice in the first few years after bottling. To really balance the flavour they need to sit in the bottle and breathe through the cork. Storage wines are often red wines. White wines can usually not be saved as long as red wines as they have less tannin.

Rose and sparkling wines can generally not be stored very long. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but most of these wines you can best consume within 1 or 2 years.