Few of us have the ideal storage conditions for wine – a dark, damp, cool wine cellar. The nearest thing to a cellar in modern houses many can boast is the dusty gap under the floorboards where we are more likely to find an ants nest rather than bottles of wine. So if you have no cellar, where’s the best place to store your wines?
Bottles of wine prefer to be kept in a place that’s constantly cool. Between 10 to 15ºC is ideal. A spare room with the radiator turned off is a good place and if it’s on the unsunny north-side of the house, even better. If you’re unsure if your room stays this cool, buy yourself a maximum-minimum thermometer from the garden centre. Place it in your target storage area and then come back in a couple of days. The thermometer will record the lowest and highest temperatures – if it shows anything below 5ºC or above 25º then find somewhere else to store your wine.
When I lived in a house with no spare bedroom but an unheated north-facing room that contained the loo, I located my wine rack there. My maximum-minimum thermometer showed me this was an ideal place to store wine. Even in the height of summer the temperature never got above 15ºC and in winter it could get pretty nippy, but it never froze.
Where ever your ‘cellar’ area is located use a wine rack or cardboard box to keep your bottles on their sides. Wine will then be in constant contact with the corks and this will stop them drying out and shrinking. A dried-out cork cannot act as an effective bottle seal. It will let in air and bacteria which will contaminate the wine.
If you’ve bought wines sealed with screwcaps or plastic corks (the back label will tell you), store the bottles upright. These man-made bottle stops don’t need to be kept moist and so can be kept in areas not wide enough to take horizontally-stored bottles on a wine rack.
PG Wine Reviews
Purple Heron Chenin Blanc – Muscat D’Alexandrie 2018, South African white
An interesting blend of the lemon-pear tasting Chenin and the sweet and peachy Muscat. The result is reminiscant of a typical sweet-sour German white. It’s a difficult match to food so try it as a sipping wine.
Ovington’s Select Chenin Blanc 2018, South African white
£8.99 Virgin Wines
A fruity white with flavours of creamy lemon and lime plus melon and pear.
Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Dry Riesling 2018, Australia
Lemon, lime and grass with a honey lozenge ending.
Palacio de Ibor Gran Reserva 1998, Spanish red
£24.99 Virgin Wines
Treat yourself with this cherry and raisin tasting wine.