Storing wine is the focus of this part of our wine 101 guide…

A simple method of wine storage is to keep your bottles sideways in a dark place away from heat or light. If you do this, youll be able to keep your wine for longer because the flavors won’t be damaged. However, learning a little more than the basics is advisable and thats what we’ll look at now.

Temperature is an important factor when you’re dealing with wine. Wine should normally be stored between 50-60F, although a range of 45-65F is considered OK. A temperature below the ideal range will prevent your wine from aging correctly. A higher, warmer temperature causes premature aging (not in a good way).

Fluctuating temperatures hurt wines the most. It’s much better to keep your wine at a constant temperature, even if it is too high or too low, than to subject it to large fluctuations every day. The temperature should never fluctuate more than 5 degrees a day, especially with red wines, which suffer more temperature-related problems than white wines.

Humidity is also important as, unless its properly maintained, it can cause the cork to dry out, and this allows air to come into contact with the wine (which damages it). Keeping your humidity level at around 70 to 80 percent is ideal for wine storage, and you can track this with a hygrometer.

A wine cellar is obviously the best place to achieve these optimal conditions, but due to their cost and the space they take up, they’re not an option for most. However, you can mimic the conditions of a wine cellar in a basement or garage. Making some space in either and purchasing a wine rack and temperature / humidity gauge are highly recommended if you intend on storing more than a few bottles of wine at a time.

If you’re wondering how long to store your wine for, the answer is complicated; many factors contribute to storage length, not limited to the production technique, style of wine, and region where it was produced. However, as a general guideline, whites normally do not age for long, while reds age for 5-10 years. If you’re starting out, consult a free online aging chart to to assist you with this aspect of wine storage.

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