Many would-be wine drinkers are put off by the idea that they have to come up with an elaborate and expensive wine storage method (along with many bottles of wine) before they can start enjoying the pastime of drinking and enjoying wine.
However, this is not the case at all. Wine can be enjoyed even if you do not have a lot of space for storage of wine. Many people make do with a small corner of their kitchen, and still others simply buy a bottle or two at a time as they are needed.
Why Store Wine?
During the Roman Empire, the long-held belief that all wine should be consumed sooner rather than later was disproven. Romans stored their wine in tightly closed bottles and noticed that some wines improved in taste and complexity the longer they were allowed to age.
Most white wines do not continue to improve when aged, making them poor candidates for long-term storage and some reds are better when they are consumed as soon as you buy them. However, there are many reds that will age very nicely, making your storage efforts worthwhile.
Even if you do not plan to drink the wine after it is aged, buying a case of immature wine and holding on to it until it is at its optimum drinking age can be a wise investment. Many savvy wine drinkers buy a case of young wine, store it until it is aged completely, and then sell off half of the case while keeping the other half to drink. This can net a nice profit, even effectively meaning that you get half a case of wine for free.
How Do You Store Wines?
You do not need to have a huge wine cellar with an entire wall of storage. If you have a temperature-controlled, dark, and moderately humid cellar that can serve as storage area, then great! However, most people do not have this luxury.
For everyone else, there are many other storage options. Most wines purchased by the casual drinker will be ready-to-drink and do not require any significant amount of wine storage for the purposes of improving the taste. In fact, most ready-to-drink bottles should not be kept in wine storage for more than 8-12 months.
If you have just a few bottles, a small wine rack placed in your living room or in a dark closet will be sufficient. You will want to avoid having the rack in your kitchen due to the temperature fluctuations that are unavoidable around the stove and oven.
If you plan to keep a few more bottles around for a long amount of time, a popular storage method is a portable wine cellar. These appliances look like small “dorm” refrigerators and can be kept nearly anywhere in your home where you have room. They are climate-controlled and will keep your wine at optimum wine conditions.
Whichever method of wine storage appeals to you, there are a few basic factors to remember: tilt the bottles to keep the corks wet, keep the temperature somewhere between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, and above all, keep the bottles away from direct sunlight and heat.