Storing and serving wine at the correct temperature is essential for getting the very best flavors. One of the most damaging things for wine is heat and if the heat gets too high, the wine will age a lot quicker than you want it to and ‘cook’, resulting in losing its aroma and flavor. The optimum temperature varies between wines and is never an exact science, but here are some guidelines for getting the most from your wine:
Keeping wines cool is great but you don’t want them to get too cool. Sticking wine in the fridge is ok for a few weeks but not any longer. Eventually, the cork will dry out, allowing air to seep inside. Similarly, don’t leave wine anywhere it could freeze.
Another thing to avoid is any rapid changes in temperature or frequent temperature fluctuations. Any expansion of the liquid inside the bottle could cause the cork to work its way out, allowing air to react with the wine. The best thing to do for your wine is to aim for consistency with the temperature you store it at.
For a wine that’s being put into storage before consumption, be aware that light is damaging too. Sunlight can prematurely age a wine, which is why colored glass is often used to protect from UV rays. Store somewhere dark, away from direct sunlight.
The best place to store wine in a cool cellar but not many of us have access to one of these! Simple wine racks are a popular choice but it’s best not to keep them in rooms like kitchens, utility rooms or anywhere near a boiler, where temperatures will get too high. Wine coolers are a great option with small units available for private use and larger options for commercial wine storage. Wine coolers are designed to keep your wine at a consistent temperature, particularly useful for bars and restaurants to have bottles at the optimum temperature close to hand for serving. Some factors to consider include how easy is it to access the bottles, will the bottles be stacked, do the shelves slide outwards and how many standard size bottles will a unit comfortably store. You could look into getting Longspan Racking for your cellar from businesses including www.rackzone.ie/pallet-racking/long-span-shelving to store your wine on. This has plenty of storage room and will allow you to put several bottles on at one time.
Does the unit protect from the light? You’ll need to consider whether you want to display your bottles or keep them safe from UV rays. Some of the more expensive coolers have temperature zones, so you can store your reds at one temperature and your whites at another. Some come with humidity controls too. Materials are another point to consider, as aluminum shelves keep cool better than plastic ones for example.