This special time of year, when we tend to toast and celebrate more than usual, as well as having guests over, it’s not uncommon to end up with several different bottles of wine at home. And, as they pile up, we wonder: What do I do with them? Where and how should I store them? And what if they’re already open? We’ll tell you how to store wine properly at home, for open and unopened bottles. Here we go!
Because knowing how to store wine at home is essential to enjoying it. It doesn’t matter how incredible a wine you buy if you don’t store it properly.
1. STORING WINE BOTTLES AT HOME: STANDING UP OR LYING DOWN?
There’s no categorical answer to these questions. We recommend storing the bottles you’re going to drink in the next few days or weeks upright so that any sediment will fall to the bottom of the bottle. It’s different if you’re going to be storing wine for a long time at home.
Have you ever visited a winery? Well, if you have, you’ve probably seen that our bottles are stored on their side. We do this because it keeps the cork in contact with the wine at all times, which helps preserve the taste and aromas of the wine. This way, the cork never dries out, making it more flexible and airtight.
The only exception is sparkling wines, because they have carbonic gas that tends to rise, keeping the cork damp.
2. RIGHT TEMPERATURE FOR STORING WINE
Not everyone has the space or budget for a temperature-controlled wine cellar at home, which is highly recommended if you’re truly a wine-lover and always have several bottles at home. So? How do you store it?
The most important thing is to make sure the wine isn’t exposed to temperature changes. We know it’s hard, but the best is to keep the bottles at a constant 10 °C – 16 °C. The warmer the room, the harder it is to keep them in good condition, as heat accelerates the ageing process.
If you have a basement or garage, where it tends to be cooler and damper with a more stable temperature than the rest of the house, that’s the best place to store wine at home. If you’re going to store wine in the kitchen, keep it as far as possible from heat sources like the microwave or oven, and out of any drafts that could cause sharp temperature changes.
3. STORE WINE AWAY FROM DIRECT SUNLIGHT
Another thing to consider is light, both natural and artificial. Try to store your wine in the darkest space possible because it can get ‘light strike’ as light reacts with the riboflavin in the wine.
If you can’t keep them out of the light completely, we recommend putting your bottles in a wooden box, like the one our Coto de Imaz Reserva pack comes in.
4. HOW LONG WILL AN UNOPENED BOTTLE OF WINE LAST?
Another question we tend to ask when buying wine is how long it should be kept before drinking? Well, this is more complicated because you have to factor in several things, such as the type of grape, age, vintage, ageing of the wine, etc. And most importantly, how it is stored.
As a general rule:
– Drink young wines within a year of being harvested.
– Drink Crianza wines, like our El Coto Crianza, within five years.
– Drink Reserva or Gran Reserva wines, such as our Coto Real Reserva, within 10 or 15 years.
But, as we’ve said, this really depends on all sorts of factors, so it’s best to ask the professional you buy the bottle or bottles from, at the shop or winery, for their suggestions. A properly stored Crianza will be fine after more than 5 years, for example.
5. HOW TO STORE AN OPEN BOTTLE OF WINE
If you aren’t going to finish the whole bottle, make sure to store it properly so it will still taste great when you come back to it. It’s best to keep the wine at a stable temperature. So don’t put it in the fridge, wine cooler or outside if you’re going to drink it at 18 °C the next day.
You can put the same cork back in, tightly, or use a vacuum or standard stopper. Then keep it upright. To make sure the wine will have the same flavour and characteristics, you should drink it within 24-48 hours.
Want to buy some wine for what’s left of Christmas?
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