There's nothing better than breaking open a bottle of wine at a holiday party. Unfortunately, you can't always tell whether you've done due diligence with caring for the precious liquid until you open the bottle.
But, luckily, there are general rules you can follow when storing wine so that it always tastes great.
Your guests will thank you for following these tips!
Keep the Wine Consistently Cool
Fluctuations in temperature can be detrimental to your wine's integrity. In a perfect scenario, you'll keep your wine at around 55° F.
If you don't have a wine fridge, store your wine in a cool place like a dark cupboard.
When it's ready to serve, serve it chilled — but don't store it in a regular fridge for too long. The temperature is often too cold for wine.
Store Wine Horizontally
Of all of the advice we have for you, storing wine horizontally is perhaps the easiest way to preserve wine. All it takes is using a wine rack designed for horizontal storage.
The reason wine is stored horizontally is to keep the cork wet. If the cork dries out, air can enter the bottle and cause oxidation.
Vinegar flavor, anyone? No? We didn't think so.
Keep the Wine Humid
Rather, humidity is good for wine corks. Just as you want to keep the cork wet on the inside of the bottle, it's important to keep the cork from drying out outside the bottle.
The reason is the same — a dry cork can cause air to enter the bottle and oxidation to occur.
If you don't have a humid place to store your wine, consider using a humidifier.
Protect the Wine from Light
Sunlight can impact the taste of wine, so keep your wine rack away from windows and any other source of UV rays.
You can keep your wine rack in a cool cupboard or other dark space.
Store the Wine in a Place Free of Vibrations
Don't store wine on top of a dishwasher, fridge, or other area of the home where the wine could be subject to vibration.
The Journal of Food Composition and Analysis found in a study that vibrations impacted the chemical reactions of wine, altering its flavor. Best not to repeat this study in your home.
After it's been opened
Once your wine has been opened, you'll want to either finish it off or store it properly. Follow these few tips if you do find your party is unable to finish the bottle:
- Re-cork the bottle using the same side that was already dipped in wine.
- Pour your wine into a half-bottle to reduce air exposure.
- Store the wine in the fridge — It's not ideal, but it is better than keeping it out after it's been opened.