Most people know two facts about wine: that specific wines must be aged to achieve peak quality and that wine must be stored at the correct manner to maintain and thoroughly enjoy its aroma and bouquet. However, few can understand the science behind wine ageing and thus underestimate the importance of proper storage techniques.
Because wine is an intricate balance of amino acids, phenols, carbohydrates, and other chemical compounds, chemical reactions between these compounds can be affected by environmental changes. Seeing as the speed of a chemical reaction increases with temperatures, the wine will hardly age if stored at or below 50°F. However, once a bottle of wine is stored at room temperature, years of ageing will be accelerated in just months or even weeks. As such, one could say that temperature stability is the mainstay of wine storage.
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For the most part, most wines available today are of the “ready-to-drink” variety, but these can be safely stored for a few years by following these conditions:
– Away from sunlight
– At temperatures between 40° F and 65°F, depending on the type of wine
– Humidity levels higher than 50%
If wine is stored outside of these limits, it will be subject to spoilage or premature ageing. With that said, proper wine storage is imperative. While the average wine drinker can easily meet the first two of the above conditions, the last one should be met with some cellar, wine cabinet, or wine cooler. Most people don’t have the luxury of building home cellars, so that’s when a wine cooler comes in.