It is rightly said, ‘wine is bottled poetry’. There’s nothing like sipping a glass of your favourite wine after a week full of chaos. The number of people drinking wine in India is rapidly rising. Along with knowledge about what kind of wine comes from which grape and which region, it is also important for one to know about wine storage. Even the most expensive wine can taste awful when people don’t know how to preserve wine at home.
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How to Preserve Wine At Home
Fine wine does not come cheap. Knowledge of how to preserve wine at home is extremely essential to ensure that the taste and quality of your pricey wine is maintained. Ideally, a temperature-controlled wine cellar is recommended in order to keep the wine bottles in good condition. However, since not everyone has the luxury of having a special cellar for wine, here are some helpful pointers to note that help with long-term wine storage at home:
1. Ideal Temperature
Temperature is amongst the most important factors to consider while learning how to preserve wine at home. Fluctuations in temperature can have adverse effects on the quality and taste of any wine. Wine should not be stored at very high or very low temperatures. The ideal temperature for wine storage is between 10 and 15 degrees celsius. The best way to ensure that wine is stored at the right temperature is to invest in a wine cabinet. In cases where that is not possible, try finding a place in any cabinet where direct sunlight cannot reach. It is best if this cabinet is not near the kitchen to prevent wine from the effects of excessive heat. While many wines are packed in dark glass bottles anyway, it always helps to keep wine in a dark place.
2. Type Of Fridge
Think your kitchen refrigerator can be used for storing wine efficiently? The reason why most people prefer to buy a wine refrigerator for their expensive wines is that a kitchen refrigerator is too cold for wine. Also, while the wine cork can dry out in a regular refrigerator, a wine refrigerator maintains a correct and consistent temperature along with providing humidity. A shrunk wine cork could become loose, leaving the wine exposed to its surroundings. Not to mention, wine stored in the food refrigerator can absorb flavours from the food present there. For people who are unsure how to preserve wine at home, experts advise keeping unopened wine away from the kitchen refrigerator.
3. Exposure To Sunlight
Sunlight is the enemy of good wine for a variety of reasons. The most important reason is light. While wine is sensitive to all light, sunlight does the most amount of damage. Exposure to light straightaway attacks its aroma. The smell of light-struck wine has been compared to wet cardboard and cooked cabbage. How can one possibly enjoy a wine that smells so off-putting? The UV rays from the sun also begin to cause unwanted chemical reactions in the wine. Experts are of the opinion that three hours or more of sun exposure to the wine is enough to ruin the wine permanently.
The heat from the sun is another aspect that needs to be looked into while figuring out how to preserve wine at home. When wine is exposed to a temperature over 20 degrees celsius, the taste of the wine is permanently compromised. Expose the bottle to 26 degrees celsius and you will no longer be able to enjoy it. Exposure to high temperatures makes the wine so sour that you won’t be able to drink it.
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Important Trivia On Wine Storage
- Always store the wine on its side. This will ensure that the wine is always in contact with the cork.
- Avoid placing the wine in places with too much light or very high temperatures.
- Red and rosé wines are slightly more immune to damage from sunlight as compared to white wine.
- If you are unable to store wine in a dark place, choose LED lights as they have minimal impact on the quality of the wine.
- Store your wine in a place where it can remain undisturbed. Try not to keep it in a place like a laundry or television room that is exposed to vibrations.
Storage Of Opened Wine Bottles
More often than not, the opened bottle of wine remains unfinished and needs to be saved for another day. In this situation, knowing how to preserve wine at home becomes extremely important because the wine has already been exposed to oxygen. Follow these tips for effective storage of opened wine bottles:
- Always remember to place the cork back on the wine immediately after use. This prevents further oxidation of the wine.
- While trying to put the original cork back in, don’t be tempted to insert the other end of the cork just because that end is narrower. Since that end was exposed to the outside surroundings for so long, it can contain dirt, germs and bacteria.
- Invest in a reusable rubber or silicone stopper which will seal the bottle tightly. If you want to use the original wine cork again, cover the cork in wax paper. This makes it easy to slide the expanded cork in.
- If you know beforehand that you will not be finishing the wine in one sitting, it is best to not use a decanter. Exposing all the wine to air is not a good idea when you are going to store and use it at a later date.
- Opened wine bottles are best stored in the refrigerator. Use the food refrigerator if you do not own a wine refrigerator. This is because chemical reactions take place at a slower pace in a cool environment.
- Just as in the case of an unopened bottle of wine, store the opened bottle away from light.
- If possible, transfer the leftover wine into a smaller glass bottle to reduce the circulation of air within the bottle. By reducing the amount of empty space in the bottle, the chemical reactions taking place in the wine can be minimised.
Understanding how to preserve wine at home may seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t take long to figure out that heat, light and air can affect the quality, taste and aroma of the wine. When one buys a bottle of fine wine that has been created with so much love, care, patience and precision, it is only fair that the bottle is stored correctly and enjoyed to the fullest without any compromises on taste and aroma.