How to Store Wine

Friday, June 5th, 2020

Cool. Dark. Still. Sideways.

To get the best flavor experience from your wine there are some basic rules to follow. Don’t let it get too hot or too cold. Store it on its side. Don’t expose it to sunlight. Don’t store it on top of your refrigerator and don’t keep it around very long after opening.

Store Wine at the Proper Temperature.

Of all the factors influencing the quality of stored wine, temperature is perhaps the most important. Unsuitably warm or cold temperatures are a sure way to spoil wine. In general, the ideal temperature for wine storage is around 55ºF. Regardless of the type or label, wine should never be kept below 25 °F, which can cause wine to freeze, or above 68°F, which can accelerate the aging process and destroy volatile compounds.  If you’ve ever left a bottle of wine in your car during the summer and then wondered why it tasted like pure alcohol or maybe even a little vinegar-like, you know what heat can do to a bottle. Most importantly, your wine storage temperature should be kept as stable as possible—temperature fluctuations can cause the cork to expand and contract, allowing wine to seep out (or air to seep in) around it.

Store Wine Bottles Horizontally.

For bottles with corks, be sure to store your wine horizontally in a wine rack. Keeping wine on its side helps keep the cork moist, which is key for long-term storage, as a dried-out cork can cause seepage and premature aging. While it’s not necessary to keep screw top wine bottles on their sides, horizontal storage is nevertheless an efficient way to store your wines for maximum space and easy access.

Protect Wine from Light and Vibration.

Whether you’re storing it for months, weeks, or days, keep your wine in the dark as much as possible. UV rays from direct sunlight can damage wine’s flavors and aromas. You should also keep wines away from sources of vibration, such as the top of your refrigerator, your washer and dryer, exercise area, or stereo system. Vibrations can disturb sediments in the bottle, disrupting the delicate process that causes wines to age favorably.

Store Wine in a Wine Fridge, Not a Regular Fridge.

If you don’t have a wine storage space that’s consistently cool, dark, and moist, a wine refrigerator (also known as a wine cooler) is a good idea. Unlike a standard refrigerator, which keeps your food very cold and dry, a wine fridge keeps wine between 50-60˚F and at the proper humidity. (A good fridge will also have a cooler setting for champagne.) Keeping your wine in a separate wine fridge also helps prevent cross-contamination from food odors. If you don’t have a wine cooler or temperature-controlled storage space where you can stow your wine, a cool cupboard (not in the kitchen) is a great way to make do. If your basement is free of dampness and mold, it can also serve as a makeshift wine cellar.

Serve Wine at the Proper Temperature.

When preparing to serve a stored bottle to fellow wine lovers, allow time for it to come up (or down) to the proper serving temperature. This ensures full expression of wine aroma and flavor. Americans tend to drink red wine too warm. It really should be slightly chilled, like a nice Spring day. Red wine should be served somewhere between 58 and 65˚F. White wines, meanwhile, can and should be served colder than reds. But they must not be kept so cold as to affect the aromas. Instead, white wine should be chilled between 45-55˚F. The easiest thing to do is pop your white wine in the house fridge for about 20 minutes to chill it properly.

Store Open Bottles of Wine Properly.

Stored properly, an opened bottle of wine can last 3-5 days. The key to extending the shelf life of an open wine and retain its original qualities is to recork it promptly and tightly. To recork wine, place some wax paper around the cork and slide it back into its original position. The wax will ease the cork into the top and also ensure that no stray parts of the cork drop into the bottle. If recorking isn’t an option—for instance, if the cork is splintered or has been discarded—a rubber wine stopper can create a tight seal. Air is the enemy of wine. To further extend the life of your wine, you need to remove the air. Consider a wine vacuum pump, which enables you to suck the air out of an open bottle, creating a nearly airtight seal. If you don’t want to deal with that expense, consider using a mason jar with a tight seal to store the last of your wine. Make sure to put it back to its ideal temperature and enjoy it tomorrow…or 5 days from now.

Finish It

There are roughly five standard sized glasses of wine in a regular 750-ml bottle. If you and yours have two glasses each and split that last glass—all while eating a decent-sized dinner—it’s not bad. In fact, according to recent studies, 1–3 glasses a day may improve your heart health.


Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.