You've chosen your wine tastes, you know what you like but before you begin your wine collection it is important to consider proper storage for your wine. The reason storage is relevant is because there are many variables that can affect the final outcome of your wine, especially if you plan on storing it for longer than six months. Whether you are planning short term or long term storage, at a minimum, there are five basic factors:
1. The temperature in which you store your wine is perhaps the most important factor. Especially when aging wine but even wine that is stored for just a few months can be affected by poor temperature conditions. Ideally you'll want the temperature to be between 40-65 degrees Fahrenheit or 7-18 degrees Celsius. It is also important that the temperature level rarely fluctuates more than 5 degrees F or 2-3 degrees C.
2. Humidity is important because a too humid environment can create mildew and potentially rot the cork. Where as if the environment is too dry, the cork can dry out and crack. An optimal humidity level is one that is between 50% and 70%.
3. The cork may allow air to seep into the bottle so ventilation is important because storing your wine near products that have intense odors such as cleaning products could inevitably permeate into the wine.
4. Although the bottles have built in filters that will protect the wine to a certain degree, they can only do so much but not all, therefore storing wine in a dark place that will not allow UV light to penetrate the glass, which causes degradation, is necessary.
5. Store your wine anywhere between horizontally and a 45 degree angle to ensure the wine is always touching the cork which will further reduce any chances of air getting into the bottle through the cork.
Essentially what we are trying to achieve with proper storage is avoiding the allowance of air, humidity and light to come into contact with the wine being that these three factors are what will ultimately alter the quality of your wine. Humidity and temperature fluctuation can be the hardest areas to control and that's where a wine cooler, otherwise known as a wine refrigerator can be helpful. There are many brands, sizes and styles available ranging from the most basic and economical to the elaborate and extravagant. While a cooler is not critical to your wine storage it can certainly be of assistance and make the process easier.
For more information on wine coolers click here for a comprehensive guide from Wine Coolers Guide, complete with reviews on a variety of coolers.