Edward Symonds's wine wisdom

PUBLISHED: 17:08 20 December 2010 | UPDATED: 17:04 20 February 2013

Edward Symonds’s wine wisdom

Edward Symonds’s wine wisdom

Edward Symonds offers advice on storing wine at home

Laying down The law

Edward Symonds offers advice on storing wine at home

During this months wine tasting at Saxtys I was asked by one of the ladies attending for advice on how she should store some expensive wine she had been given as a wedding present. This developed into a bit of a debate so I thought it a good idea to offer my advice on this subject to readers.

Most wine that is bought to drink at home does tend to be consumed within a relatively short period of time. For these wines there are a few simple rules such as keeping bottles out of bright light, especially sunlight; away from any major changes in heat and away from any vibration.

But what happens when you come into a vintage Champagne or are given an expensive bottle as a gift? Well here are some pointers on storing your bottles at home following on from the light, heat and vibration rules above.

1. Store corked wine bottles on their sides
If they are stored upright for a long time, the corks will dry out, and air will eventually get to the wine, spoiling it. If you store it label side up, it'll be easier to spot any sediments that may have formed in the wine over time when you do eventually pick it up.

2. Don't move the wine
If possible, store the wines in such a way that you don't need to move them in order to reach a bottle. Try not to move a bottle at all once it is stored. Even vibrations from heavy traffic, motors, or generators may affect the wine.

3. Keep the humidity at around 70 per cent
High humidity keeps the cork from drying and minimises evaporation. Don't allow the humidity to go too much over 70 per cent however, because it can encourage the growth of mould and cause labels to loosen. You can purchase a hygrometer to track the moisture conditions and use humidifying or dehumidifying techniques as needed.

4. Isolate the wine
Remember that wine breathes, so don't store it with anything that has a strong smell because it will permeate through the cork and taint the wine. Good ventilation may help prevent musty odours from entering the wine.

5. Store for an appropriate amount of time
Not all wines improve over time. Generally, inexpensive New World, wines will not improve. Red wines can be stored and aged for anywhere between two to 10 years to mature. This, however, depends on the type of red wine and the balance of its sugar, acid and tannins. Most white wines should be consumed after two to three years of storage, however select white Burgundies (Chardonnays) can be aged for more than 20 years.

6. Adjust the temperature before serving
Different wines taste best at slightly different temperatures, which may vary from the temperature in which they were stored. Right before drinking the wine, allow the temperature to rise or fall to the appropriate serving temperature:

Blush, ros and dry white wines at 46-57F (8-14C)

Sparkling wines and Champagne at 43-47F (6-8C)

Light red wine at 55F (13C)

Deep reds at 59-66F (15-19C)

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