Wine is a major indulgence and the product itself should be treated with utmost care. There is a delicate balance in maintaining the integrity of aged wine. Factors that must be taken into consideration include the temperature of the environment in which the wine is stored and the humidity of the environment in which the wine is stored.
It is imperative, also, that the wine be kept in lighting that is regulated. Different types of wine that originate from different strands of wine grapes are to be kept in different conditions than others. Overall, the most important factors for storing wine are temperature, humidity, and lighting.
Temperature is Key
It cannot be said enough; temperature is key. Whether you are dealing with a red Merlot or a white Chardonnay, you will want to keep the temperature in your storage room between 55 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. For those who are familiar with the Celsius temperature system, this translates to between 12 and 15 degrees Celsius.
This is a fairly cool temperature for a room to be maintained in. The temperature keeps the wine cool, preventing rapid fermentation. It maintains the integrity of the wine’s flavor, and it will give it a very mild chill to preserve the wine itself.
The reason for this temperature range is that it is cool enough that the wine will not rapidly age. Heat also tends to flatten out the flavors in wine and keeping the wine between 55°C and 59°C will prevent this flattening out of flavors. Keeping the wine in this temperature range maintains the aromas that are naturally present in the wine. It ensures that when the wine is open for consumption, the aromas that were present when it was originally aging will flourish to the pleasant surprise of the consumer.
The humidity of the room in which the wine is kept is almost as important as the temperature. The ideal humidity range for keeping wine is 55 to 75% humidity. You may be surprised at how high this humidity rating is. Keeping the humidity in the room too high would cause molding and degradation of the wine. The labels and the glue holding the labels onto the wine bottles would also come off in this type of humidity. At the same time, the humidity in the room can’t be too low. If the humidity in the room is too low, it can cause the cork to dry out in the bottle. This can cause the wine to evaporate through the cork and subsequent loss of wine volume would ensue. This could also degrade the taste of the wine. Whether we’re talking about red wines white wines or rosé, humidity is very important.
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Wine cannot be stored in a room that is too bright. The UV rays from the sun can degrade the flavors of the wine as well as degrade the aromas. The wine can become simple and plain both in flavor and scent. Too much light can also stir around the sediment in the bottom of the wine disrupting the aging process.
Wine should be served delicately and with care. In general, different types of wines should be served only slightly chilled or at room temperature, while others should always be served chilled. Rosé is best served chilled, and many even prefer it with ice in the glass.
There are several ways to chill wine. The wine can be poured into a glass that has been pre-chilled in the fridge. The bottle of wine itself can be stored in the fridge in order to keep it. It is possible to add ice to the wine in order to chill it further. Any combination of these factors or single factor can be used in order to keep white wine or rosé cool.
In general, red wines and white wines are to be served in the same type of classic wine glass. The beverages discussed above are among the finest. They should be poured carefully.
Champagnes can be served in a fluted champagne glass. When tasting wine, it is helpful to stir the wine around a bit by holding the wine glass and making small circles. You will be able to see the legs of the wine pour down the sides of the inside of the glass. This is a sign of quality wine.
You may smell the wine in order to learn about its aromas. Many red wines will have aromas of oak or cherry, lending to the type of wood barrels in which the wines are aged. You can sense this with white wines and roses, as well, although there are rumors that are less detectable since they are served cold. Make note of all the senses and flavors of your wine experience and you are sure to enjoy wine for many years to come.