Wine is a unique asset class. It is scarce, offers a potentially high return, has low correlation with other asset classes, and provides a hedge against inflation. Unlike many other assets, wine is also highly durable, does not lose value when left in storage for long periods, and is an attractive object that looks good on your walls. It can even be passed on to your children, grandchildren and beyond in a way that other assets cannot.
But that does not mean that wine is the best investment for everyone. To be a successful investor, you must be realistic about your appetite for risk and return expectations. You should also know how to select good quality wines, and how to store them.
Wine is commonly stored in a wine cellar or a wine closet, which makes for an ideal location for long term storage of wine, but there are a few things you need to know to guarantee your wine investment is stored properly. We’ve compiled a list of ten helpful tips to store wine properly in order to ensure your investment is protected and will be worth its value down the line.
Beware of Extreme Temperature Fluctuations
Temperature fluctuations can have a negative effect on wine, and although it varies across wine varietals and regions, there is a general rule: the higher the quality of your wine, the more you should be mindful of temperature.
Consider the Ideal Wine Storage Conditions
A well-ventilated space that is at least partially exposed to natural light is preferable to a dark space that is not ventilated. That’s why many people like to store their wine in a closet that is part of the kitchen.
Wine racks should also be stored in a place that is out of direct sunlight and away from other appliances such as the TV, microwave, and air-conditioning units.
In terms of humidity, if you are storing wine in a room with high humidity, its flavour might be altered by high humidity, as it will bring out excess moisture in the glass and cause the corks to soften, rot and leak more easily.
On the other hand, if you are storing wine in a room with low humidity, the flavour might be altered by low humidity, as it might cause the corks to dry out, shrink and create air gaps, which prevent the wine from breathing.
In addition, you should store a bottle of wine horizontally. Storing wine vertically can put pressure on the cork, and it might dry out and shrink. This can then let air into the bottle, and the wine will spoil.
Consider Wine Storage Options
There are four main ways to store wine:
A wine cellar is specifically designed for wine storage. They are generally climate controlled, to keep the temperature and humidity at consistent levels, and they are made of materials that absorb sound and reduce vibration. The best wine cellars come equipped with a humidifier and a dehumidifier to ensure the ideal humidity levels for long term storage.
Wine Armoire or Wine Cabinet
A wine armoire or cabinet is a decorative piece of furniture designed to store wine. They are generally used for short term storage, for 30-60 days before drinking, as an alternative to a wine cellar, or for storage of your wine collection. They are usually made of wood, lined with polyethylene or polypropylene, both of which are inert and free of wood-based volatiles. The most expensive cabinets are made of stainless steel and lined with polyethylene or polypropylene.
Even if it is not made of the same materials as a wine cellar, a wine armoire or cabinet is the best place to store your wine if you don’t have a cellar.
Storage conditions for storing wine at the correct temperature are usually those that are too cold for your average refrigerator. Unless a refrigerator is specifically designed for wine storage, it’s not suitable for your wine.
A wine refrigerator, however, is designed specifically for wine storage, and will keep the wine at the correct temperature for the length of time you specify. They usually come with a humidity control system that will keep the temperature at the optimal level and the relative humidity at around 75%, unless you’re specifically storing sparkling wine, which should be stored at 60%. A wine refrigerator is the best wine storage option for long term storage.
A bonded warehouse allows you to store your wine in an optimum storage environment, which is temperature and humidity controlled, free from daylight and vibration and under ultimate security measures.
This is the best storage option for investment wines and for long term storage where the provenance of the wine is highly important. Find out about Cru Wine’s wine storage facilities here.
Think about the Ideal Wine Storing Temperatures
As a general rule, the older the wine, the colder the temperature of storage has to be to prevent it spoiling. Wine should be ideally stored at around 11 to 14°C. The temperature should never go beyond 24°C. Aside from age, the temperature should depend on the alcohol, tannins and fruit content.
Light-to-Medium-Bodied Red Wines
Light-to-medium-bodied red wines, such as Pinot Noir, Merlot and Zinfandel, are best served at a temperature of 14°C to 15°C. These wines come with higher concentrations of tannins and acidity and lighter alcohol, which means they taste better slightly cooler than room temperature, which is around 18°C to 20°C.
Full-Bodied Red Wines
Full-bodied reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux and Syrah, are best stored at a temperature of 16°C to 17°C. These wines are usually full of tannins, which can taste bitter if not given enough time to soften. These wines are produced with higher alcohol and a higher concentration of fruit. These wines can be exposed to air for a longer period of time without them spoiling, so these wines can be served a bit warmer than the light bodied ones.
Dry White Wines
Dry white wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, are best stored at a temperature below 18°C. These wines are produced with higher acidity, so they taste best at a cooler temperature. If you are not sure how to tell if your wine is dry or not, look at the label. If you see the word “dry” on the label, your wine is dry.
Sweet White Wines
Sweet white wines, such as Port and Madeira, are best served at a temperature between 13°C and 15°C. These wines are produced with higher sugar content, so they taste better at a warmer temperature.
Sparkling wines, such as Champagne and Asti, are best served at 16°C to 20°C. These wines are usually produced with higher acidity and lower alcohol, which means they will spoil quicker than any other wine if the temperature is too low or too high. These wines are usually served with a special system that allows the gases to be released without letting any oxygen in.
How Long Can Wine Be Stored
There are many factors that determine how long your wine will be able to keep, but the best way to tell if your wine is going bad is to smell it. If you notice a change in smell or taste, then there is a chance it is going bad. In addition, if your wine is going bad, you’ll notice that the liquid will start to evaporate from your wine. This can result in a change in the taste and smell of your wine.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, which can taste better if it has a bit more oxidation. The best way to avoid spoiling your wine is to invest in a good wine storage system, and check it at least once a month.
Your Takeaway for Proper Wine Storage
You should now know the importance of storing your wine in the right conditions, and be aware of some of the pitfalls you might come across when storing wine. The best way to make sure your wine stays in the best condition possible is to invest in a good wine storage system, and check it at least once a month.
Cru Wine can help you get started on how to invest in fine wine and guide you on how to properly store your wine with the right storage solutions. Let us help you get an incredible wine investment experience! Contact us today to get started!