Why storage is important

Fine wines are wines that are stored properly.

Fine wines, particularly red wines, will benefit greatly from medium to long-term ageing, where tannins, oak, and fruit will integrate accordingly for the wine to reach its optimum quality. Although, a wine must be stored properly with the correct humidity, temperature, light conditions, and minimal vibrations or it will mature too fast.

Storage is important for wines that are going to be drunk for pleasure. It’s also important for wine bought by investors because their value increased with age. Proof of good storage or provenance is vital when selling wine.

Storage is not only important for wines destined to be drunk for pleasure, but also for wines bought by investors whose values increase with bottle-age – where proof of good storage (or provenance) is paramount for selling the wine.

How to store wine at home

Wine storage is an art form. Follow these five rules to ensure that your wine will reach its full potential at home.

  1. Wine should be stored in a cool, dark room away from direct sunlight and heat, as this ages the wine prematurely by degrading organic matter, such as tannins.
  2. Store wine on its side, lying down. This will keep the corks moist so they don’t dry out and let in too much oxygen.
  3. Make sure your wines are free from vibration. Normal household vibration is expected, but too much movement will prevent sediments from settling. This speeds up the chemical reaction and ages the wine too quickly.
  4. Keep wines at a constant temperature – ideally around 12-14°C. Temperature fluctuations will cause the cork to expand and contract and will allow too much oxygen in the bottle. High temperatures will age the wine too quickly and it will not evolve properly. Seasonal fluctuations have little effect due to gradual changes in temperature.
  5. Store wines at a constant humidity (around 70-75%). This helps keep the cork moist and prevents evaporation and consequently increased ullage – the gap between the bottom of the cork and the wine.

Wine cabinets

It’s difficult to store wine at exact temperatures and humidity without special temperature controlled wine cabinets and cellar conditioners.

Specialist wine warehouses

For serious enthusiasts and investors where provenance is vital, storing wine at a specialist warehouse is a good option.

There are two main ways of storing wine – in bond and duty paid:

In bond storage

Wine that is held in a bonded warehouse and has not passed through customs or been subjected to VAT or duty.

Duty paid storage

Wine may also be kept in specialist storage facilities where the duty and VAT has already been paid.