Bought a valuable bottle? Storing it correctly is essential

Renee Kuo
Where do you store your beloved wine collection? While there are plenty of good storage solutions for the home, they can often be expensive, and not all of us have the luxury of an underground cellar. To ensure you are giving your wines the best chance of a healthy and happy life, there a few simple factors to consider.
Wine is sensitive to the elements and the biggest enemy is undoubtedly heat. Anything over 20°C and your wine won’t thank you later; the ageing process will be accelerated and undue chemical reactions can cause havoc. Furthermore, if you were to subject it to 30°C heat it would only take about 24 hours to be barely worthy of a casserole. Equally, wine doesn’t appreciate the freezing cold, so the garden shed or garage is ill-advised; if the winter is harsh you’re in trouble. 13°C is the optimal temperature but anything between 10-15°C will do. When you do find that perfect cool spot, it’s very important that the temperature stays as consistent as possible.
The other primary environmental considerations are light and humidity. The reason that wine bottles are invariably coloured is to help protect against damaging UV rays. However, this isn’t 100 per cent effective so it’s important to keep them away from light. Some bottles are even wrapped in custom-made cellophane; those of you lucky enough to have it in your collection will know that this is most famously used on Cristal. While wines are sensitive to heat and light they do enjoy a spot of humidity, which helps stop the cork from drying. About 70 per cent is perfect, although too much can be an issue as there then becomes a risk of a mouldy cork.
Wine should be stored horizontally and movement kept to a minimum. Lay bottles on their side in order for the wine to maintain contact with the cork, which also prevents the cork from drying. If the cork does dry out it will shrink over time, allowing oxygen to enter and oxidised wine is not pleasant. Vibration will negatively impact your wine but this is easily avoided; as long you don’t live next to the train station or have a penchant for heavy metal.
In summary, choose a dark, slightly humid and constantly cool location to store your wines. However, if you have a substantial collection of high value wines then it’s sensible to invest in proper storage facilities. Our best advice would be to store in a UK bonded warehouse. For a small cost you can keep your collection in a professional storage facility, safe in the knowledge that they are kept in optimum conditions; this is in fact essential for any wines with investment potential.


City A.M. Wine Club - Whether you’re an investor or an oenophile, joining City A.M.’s wine club can help you build your perfect cellar. Find out more here.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.