Everyone dislikes bad wine, regardless of whether you’re a wine expert, a restaurant owner, a hotel manager, or just a regular wine drinker. Wine spoilage is not a pleasant experience.
Therefore, storing wine on its side is important. It’s a way of keeping the cork moist, saving it from drying. It’s one of the best practices of wine storage that many people employ and one you shouldn’t take lightly if you intend to store wine for a long period.
As it stands, you should not store all wines for a long time. Most of the wine in today’s market is for immediate consumption and has a lifespan of maybe a year to two years. Also, it depends on the brand and the wine production method. This article will discuss why people store wine on its side and give tips on how to store wine correctly.
What Happens When You Store Wine on Its Side?
Understanding the proper way of storing wine will help you store good quality wine. Wines need good temperature and care because it’s a sensitive beverage. Place the wine bottle on its side on a rack to maintain the cork’s moisture and prevent it from drying out.
A dry cork can cause air to penetrate the bottle, making the wine age prematurely, which is not a good look. Also, face the label up to allow you to tell when sediment is forming in the bottle before decanting.
So, if you walk into a store and see they showcased their wine uprightly in a not-so-ideal temperature, chances are the wine won’t be good for the money.
How Do You Differentiate Damaged Wine From Good Ones?
A wine’s color, smell, and taste are a good way of telling if the wine has gone bad. Wines require extra care for their preservation, and most people do not adhere to that, or better still, they don’t know the proper way of storing wine, thereby causing its ruin.
If the wine loses its color or changes to russet for red wines and a darker tone or brown for white wine, the wine is in bad shape.
A common kind of wine flaw is cork taint, a situation where the wine’s cork gets infected with a bacteria called Trichloroanisole (TCA). Cork taints make the wine taste flat and smell musty. Trichloroanisole forms in a tree bark when fungi come in contact with halophenols.
The effective way to stop TCA is to ensure the source material isn’t contaminated before use. You don’t have to worry about cork taint if the wine uses screwtops. However, a wine’s quality can be ruined whether the wine is still corked or open.
Some wines that do not produce bubbles develop sparkles when they go bad as a result of the wine getting stored at an extreme temperature. Re-fermentation is the only way of telling if such wine is bad.
How Can You Tell if You’ve Stored Your Wine Right?
As a rule of thumb, keep wines away from light, heat, oxygen, and vibrations to maintain their quality. You will know you’ve stored your wine right if none of these elements can easily penetrate its location.
Heat, light, and oxygen speed up the wine’s aging process, ruining its flavor and chemical compounds. If you’re going to store your wine at room temperature, ensure no other element penetrates and disturbs its storage.
For instance, store the wine in a dark place devoid of light and vibrations, then ensure consistently maintained storage conditions. It can last months or years this way, depending on the quality.
To preserve an open bottle of wine, use a silicone stopper to seal the mouth. Silicone stoppers will seal the wine, effectively preventing more oxidation and aiding the wine to stay longer. It’s a better alternative than reusing the wine’s cork.
You can leave the wine in a fridge or at room temperature after uncorking it; the seal will buy you extra days.
Tips to Store Wine Properly
Store in a Wine Fridge
There’s a dedicated refrigerator you can purchase for wine storage and aging. It’s better to use a wine fridge than a regular fridge due to factors like other items you put in a regular fridge. These items can stand in the way of you controlling the fridge setting to support the wine.
Getting a wine fridge not only allows you to control the settings but it prevents the wine from contamination. Furthermore, be consistent with your storage and do not put wines you’ve stored in the fridge in a room temperature location for aging. It will negatively affect its taste.
Keep in a Cool, Dark Place With a Controlled Temperature
You can store the wine in your pantry, basement, closet, etc., for optimal results. These are notable places in the house that are dark and cool with no vibrations, which makes them ideal for storage. Before storing wine in these places, ensure there are no appliances around that will cause the wine to vibrate.
Ensure the Humidity Is Right
When storing wine, it is important to pay attention to humidity levels. High or low humidity can cause the cork to dry out, making the wine susceptible to spoilage. Make sure the storage area is adequately humid to preserve the wine.
Store Wine Horizontally
Keeping the wine on its side allows the cork to be in constant contact with the wine. This helps to keep the cork moist, preventing it from shrinking or drying out.
Wines gain complexity in terms of aromas, flavors, and texture when stored correctly. You should store wine on the side to prevent oxidation and to detect sediment formation before decanting.
Laying the wine on its side is not enough to keep it in a good state. The temperature has to be right in the storage room, with no light, heat, or vibrations to disrupt the storage process.