Wine is a “living” product that's constantly evolving in terms of taste, texture and aroma. With the optimal storage techniques, a good wine can become a great wine that's properly aged and overflowing with flavour.
Whether you're a wine connoisseur or simply enjoy an occasional glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay or Rose, you may find our wine storage tips useful. Here, we also distinguish between red and white wines, in terms of storage and ideal serving temperature.
How to store red wine
Pulp from the whole grape, including the skin, pips and stalk, is used in the fermentation of red wine to create a tannin-rich product. To ensure these tannins interact perfectly with the palate, red wine should ideally be stored at slightly higher temperatures than white wine.
In addition to optimal ambient temperature – which we discuss below – wine thrives in dark, humid and stable conditions.
Store red wine in a cellar, basement or enclosed space under the stairs, where there is limited light, little to no movement, and plenty of moisture in the air, and you'll have a perfectly palatable tipple, two to three years down the line.
How to store white wine
White wine, like red wine, should be stored in an undisturbed area of the home, away from heat and natural and artificial light. Screw-top bottles can be stored upright, while bottles with corks are best stored on their sides to preserve the integrity of the cork.
Provided the ambient conditions are ideal, the nose and flavour of wine improves throughout the storage life. As the composition of white wine is slightly different to red wine, it should be stored at cooler temperatures.
Best temperature for storing wine
Storage temperature is key to wine's eventual performance on the palate. Too much heat accelerates the aging process, leading to wine that tastes more like vinegar than nectar of the grapes. Temperatures that are too low leach the flavour out of the wine, leaving it flat and tasteless.
Here's the ideal storage temperature for red and white wine, respectively:
- Red wine: 12 degrees Celsius
- White wine: 7 degrees Celsius
Best temperatures for serving red and white wine
Wine really comes into its own when it's served at the correct temperature. You can safely serve red wines at between 12 and 18 degrees Celsius.
White wines need to be chilled a little more, and are perfectly palatable at around 8 to 12 degrees Celsius.
How long can I store wine?
These days, most red and white wines are produced for immediate consumption. However, if you do intend to store a few bottles, two to three years is about the maximum time in the cellar.
Ideally, you want to enjoy a bottle of wine as close to the vintage year as possible.
Can I store white wine in the fridge?
Storing white wine in the fridge for any length of time is not a good idea. You can, of course, leave a bottle in the chiller for a week or two. Any longer, and the low temperatures and constant vibrations of a fridge negatively affect the composition of the wine.
Should I store wine on its side?
Bottles sealed with corks must be stored on their side. The wine hydrates the cork, preventing it from shrinking and allowing oxygen into the bottle to compromise the quality of the wine.
Home wine storage tips
You can choose how to store red and white wine at home based on the space you have available. This could range from a full wine storage cellar to a cool corner of your kitchen, with space for a rack.
A number of clever wine storage ideas are also worth considering. For example, it’s possible to build a snazzy room divider that doubles as a wine showcase or create a wine wall by hanging matching wooden wine racks from ceiling to floor. You can customise a cupboard by adding bottle dividers on the shelves, or transform the dead space under stairs into a vintner's delight.
Self-storage of wine
Rather than storing your collection of red and white wines at home, you might choose to use a self-storage unit. This is an ideal way to save space at home, at the same time as protecting your wines.
At XtraSpace, we offer clean, secure self-storage units that are ideal for storing red and white wine, along with just about any other personal or business items. Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.