7 Tips For Storing Red Wine

Not all red wines are made to age but many of the better ones do improve with proper wine cellar techniques.  What constitutes proper wine cellar techniques?  Here are 7 tips for storing your valuable red wines.

LZ98_001_0032_11DM  It’s February and you just purchased a case of the 2010 Brunello di Monticello.  A vintage that is considered by many experts to be the best ever.  Problem is most of these experts are telling you, and rightly so, that the wine needs more time in the bottle to really reach its peek potential.

So how to you properly care for this and your other cherished wine purchases that need more time to soften and round out those rough spots.  Here are 7 tips for doing just that.

Tip # 1. Keep it Dark – If you’re storing wine for a considerable period of time, it should be kept out of direct sunlight.  Find a room, closet or pantry that works best.  Below I will describe my ideal way (my in home technique) for storing wine without breaking the bank on an expensive wine cellar.

Tip # 2. Watch the Humidity – Try and keep the humidity below 70%.  High humidity keeps the cork moist and avoids rotting, but anything above 70% humidity will cause mold and the label to loosen.  Keep it between 60 and 70 percent for ideal storing.  Consider purchasing a hygrometer to track the levels of humidity.

Wine Cellar Digital Hygrometers

Tip #3. Keep the Temperature Consistent.  Stored wines should be kept between 55 and 70 degrees with little fluctuations.  Wine stored below 55° will take longer to age and above 70° wine begins to oxidize.  So, finding that right balance of light, heat and humidity can be a challenge.  Continue reading for our suggested location that your home most likely provides.

Tip #4. Lay it Down – In order to avoid cork rot, wine should be stored on their sides.  Storing wine upright for considerable periods of time will cause the cork to deteriorate and air to enter the bottle, spoiling it.  Invest in wine racks that let the wine lay sideways.

Vintage View Wine Racks

Tip # 5. Keep it Still – Wine is best kept still and away from vibrations.  Constant movement can have a negative effect on the wine.

Tip # 6. Move it Around Some – Then again it’s not a bad idea to every so often give the bottle  turn.  This ensures that the cork is kept moist on all sides and will not rot.  As mentioned above, a rotted cork allows air to enter the bottle which spoils wine.

Tip # 7. Keep it Isolated – Wine breaths so avoid storing it with anything that has a strong odor.  I have known people that kept wine in a basement closet that was also home to paint cans and commercial cleaners.  Without good ventilation these odors can, and in this case, did, permeate through the wine.


Wine is best stored in a cool, dark somewhat humid environment.

Wine is best stored in a cool, dark somewhat humid environment.

Now you can spend thousands building a wine cellar in your home with all the bells and whistles that ensure proper storage.  If you’re like me however, you may need to find a lower cost solution.

A few years back as I started collecting wine, I purchase a few low cost metal racks, each capable of holding 100 bottles of wine.  I am fortunate enough to have a refinished basement with a long closet that leads to our electrical panel.  One wall of the closet faces the outside and is cinder blocks.  The other wall is insulated sheet rock.   The room is dark, keeps a consistent temperature with a steady humidity year round.  The perfect storm for storing wine.

I would bet that most basements provide an area that can easily and at low cost, be transformed into the perfect wine storage.  Search the internet or click on some of the links provided here and pick up wine racks that work for you.  Don’t spend a lot of money, save that for the case of 2010 Brunello.

Decorative Metal Wine Racks
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