Wine Storage Mistakes and Why You Should Avoid Them

Feb 26, 2016 06:00 AM EST | By Staff Reporter

Who doesn't love a glass of wine? They make evenings in more relaxing, meals more delicious, and time spend with friends more enjoyable. Little wonder that most Americans look forward to a nice glass of wine after a rough day at work, or to celebrate life's little successes.

Wine is a great companion through good times and bad -- but you do need to store it properly to enjoy it. If you don't, be prepared for a wine experience doomed to disappointment.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that Americans make when it comes to storing wine, and how you can fix them.

  • Storing at the wrong temperature

There's really nothing better than a glass of your favorite wine, chilled to just the right temperature, and since people are always looking for the most convenient way to enjoy their favorite things, one of the most common ways to store wines is by keeping them in the fridge to that they're chilled and ready to go at a moment's notice.

The problem with this is that wines (any kind of wine) should be kept in a temperature range of 45-65 degrees, which is much warmer than the inside of any fridge. Keeping the wine inside the fridge for longer than a few months will dry out the cork and allow air to get into the bottle. This oxidizes the wine and turns it into vinegar.

So, if you want chilled wine without compromising the flavors of wine, get some grapes and freeze them, then pop them into your wine when you're ready to drink.

Ok, so what if you store them in warmer temperatures? A lot of people (especially those who cook with wine or have little kitchen space) tend to store their wines close to the oven. Wines that are exposed to high temperatures (75-80 degrees) can become "maderized" or "cooked", and this induces a change in the chemical composition of the wine, turning the taste into a sweet vinegar.

  • Storing it in out in the open

Wine can be pretty temperamental, and even storing it out in the open carelessly can have some adverse effects on the wine. If you let your wine sit near a window that gets a lot of sunlight, you'll cause the wine to age prematurely, causing flat flavors or even discoloration. This is the main reason why wine bottles are made in dark colors, and why you should never purchase window-display wines.

  • Storing it too long

Once you open a bottle of wine, the most it can keep is one or two days out in the open, or two weeks in the fridge. Of course, this is all relevant, depending on the age of the wine, the relative temperature in your area, and a whole host of other factors. 

The best way to prevent accidentally oxidizing your wine? Open a bottle of wine during a time when you have a rough idea of when it can be finished, and always make sure to take precautions when storing it.

  • Recorking it incorrectly

A lot of people make the mistake of shoving the skinny side of the cork back into the bottle simply because it's a lot easier. However, you can never be sure what kind of contaminants that side of the cork has already come into contact with, and now you're exposing the wine inside to these same contaminants.

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