Tips for storing wine at home

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From special occasions to Friday night romantic dinners, a bottle of wine pairs well with just about any event. Having bottles of wine on hand at home is economical as well as convenient. You can easily store multiple bottles of wine in any dark, cool area of your home. You don't have to purchase a wine refrigerator or install a wine cellar.

Supplies

All you need for storing wine at home is one or more horizontal wine racks. The racks are available in a variety of sizes, styles and widths. Horizontal racks position bottles of wine on their sides, resulting in the bottles' corks not drying out. Once a bottle's cork dries out, the wine in the bottle is exposed to air and the wine goes bad. Wine racks are available at big box stores, hardware and home improvement stores and through online outlets including Overstock.com, Wayfair.com, WorldMarket.com and similar home websites.

Locations and temperature

Once you have your wine racks, locate an area in your home that is dark, cool and not too damp or dry. An ideal location is a closet or storage area within the center of your home or apartment. The area's temperature range should be between 45 degrees F and 65 degrees F. The ideal temperature is 55 degrees F. A temperature higher than 70 degrees F will change your wine's aromas and flavor. Make sure the area's temperature doesn't fluctuate much. Temperature fluctuations can cause the cork in a wine bottle to expand and contract, resulting in the cork popping out or wine seeping from the bottle. Place a thermometer in your wine storage area and monitor the temperature on a regular basis.

Storage areas and lighting to avoid

Avoid the following areas when storing your wine: areas that are in direct sunlight or warmed by the sun on a regular basis; your kitchen or too-damp basement; a laundry room; a freezer or area that freezes; a cool area outside; and your garage. Sunlight is the enemy. The sun's ultraviolet rays can prematurely age your wine and damage it. When lighting your wine storage area, use incandescent bulbs instead of fluorescent bulbs, which emit ultraviolet rays. Also, do not leave the lights on in your wine storage area. Only turn them on when you are putting in or removing wine bottles.

Humidity and movement

Your wine storage area's humidity level should be between 50 and 80 percent. The area should not be too damp or too dry. Dampness results in wine labels peeling off and mold forming in the area. Dryness results in wine corks drying out. Use a dehumidifier or place a pan of water in your wine storage area to help control humidity. Also, make sure the area is free of appliances and machinery that cause vibration. Vibrations can disturb the sediments present in wines, resulting in the wine tasting gritty once you open it.

Storing sparkling wine and non-cork caps

Store sparkling wine and bottles of wine with screw caps and non-cork caps upright in your wine storage area. Non-cork caps are corks made out of plastic, metal or another synthetic material. Bottles with those caps do not have to be stored horizontally and sparkling wine can possibly explode if stored horizontally. Finally, you can store your wines horizontally in a refrigerator for up to two months, but remember your refrigerator's temperature may fall below 45 degrees F, allowing the bottles' corks to eventually dry out over time.

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